In today’s Office of Readings, St. Bernard reflects on the meaning of the Cross and the Sacred Heart. As always for him, his language in poetic. Here is a snippet of what he wrote, my translation into English.
“He nutured thoughts of peace and I did not know it. If fact, who knew the thoughts of the Lord? Or who was his counselor? (cf. Rom. 11: 34). Now the nail has penetrated, and become for me a key that opens, so that I might taste the sweetness of the Lord. What do I see in his wounds? The nail has its voice, and the wound cries out that God is truly present in Christ reconciling the world to himself. The sword has pierced his soul and his heart is brought near, through him who even now knows compassion seeing my weaknesses.
“Through the wounds of his body is manifest the hidden love of his heart, the great mystery of love is made clear, the deepest depths of the mercy of our God, by whom the sun which rises from on high will come to us.” — St. Bernard, Abbot, from the Discourses on the Canticle of Canticles, Disc. 61
The crucifix remains, as it has for centuries, an object of importance in our practice of meditation and prayer. If you gaze on it for any length of time with intent and openess, the central mysteries of our faith become evident, and we are changed.
My challenge to you is to spend five minutes a day gazing on the crucifix with an open heart. It will change your life.