Earlier this month I completed the “33 Days to Morning Glory” do-it-yourself retreat just in time to consecrate myself for the first Two Hearts Coffeehouse on March 7. Around that time I was reading thru the “Devotions” appendix and read a part that left me with a mental image that I’ve been reflecting on.
I finally took the time to re-look up the quote to then write up my reflection and the quote isn’t as intense as I remember it being. A sign perhaps that I was actually reading it in a prayerful state — or perhaps I just didn’t find the right quote!
“…as we ponder Jesus’ suffering and death on the Cross, we are truly “mystically transported” to him. We have a real contact with him there. We can truly receive, here and now, the fountain of love and mercy that gushes forth from Jesus’ pierced side and that flows through the ages like a mighty river.” (Appendix Two: Devotions; pg 155) [Similarly page 117 of “33 Days to Merciful Love”]
Background: I think when I picture Mary and John and others “standing at the foot of the cross” they’ve never actually been at the Cross’ foot but standing back 20 feet or so. Maybe I’ve seen pictures of the scene this way? The Roman soldiers get close, in order to pierce his side and be there casting lots for his garments. But then his mother and others are just off a short ways – not close, but not overly far. But never so close that they are standing just under him.
Reading this line I was transported closer to the Cross than I think I’ve ever allowed myself to venture. And also instead of being a third-party observer I was actually standing there looking up at Jesus with Jesus looking down at me; a fixed gaze. And he wasn’t having to look at me and find me at a distance – he was just looking directly down at me as I stood directly beneath his right side.
Why I was there is because of the line “We can truly receive the fountain of love and mercy that gushes forth from Jesus’ pierced side”. It created a stark visual – that Jesus’ side is pierced and out comes water and blood, love and mercy covering me.
This is why I don’t think I found the right quote – because I swear the text was about the author standing there and getting bathed in Jesus’ blood and enjoying it – and I don’t want to say I shuddered away from my book at that visual, but I think I did. But that is also why I’m searching for this elusive quote — because I’m sure I didn’t think of this, but rather someone else did and forced me to approach the Cross and Jesus even closer than I have ever dared to.
And so I stand there, beneath Jesus. Being bathed in His blood. And I do not shudder away. Instead I see and feel the love and mercy pouring forth. Jesus is covering me in His blood and He brings me to salvation. What love!
So my challenge to you is this…
When you place yourself on Calvary where are you standing? Are you far away and watching? Or are you close and at Jesus’ feet? Or perhaps even standing under His side? Are you just an observer of the crucifixion? Or are you truly present and actively receiving the love and mercy that Jesus is showering upon you?
Jesus died for you. This fact you may know with your mind. But to know it with your heart? Place yourself at Jesus’ side as his side is pierced (John 19:34). Watch as His blood and water gush forth; falling towards your face. Feel it land on your head and on your face, covering you with the warmth of divine love.