Good Friday Reflection: The open wound in his side (Concha Camacho rscj)

Fra Angelico [Public Domain]. "This theme of the pierced Heart of Jesus on the Cross is also part of the story of the Congregation since the Special Chapter of 1967 and subsequent chapters. This image had pride of place in the room where the capitulants met in 1967. Uncertainty and painful searching marked that chapter, and perhaps this led to a progressive process of decanting the spirituality of the Sacred Heart, going right to its Biblical origins, related to the life of Jesus and to the way he lived." (Blanca Sivatte rscj)

It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the Sabbath — since the Sabbath ws a day of special solemnity — the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently, the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then those of the other.  When they came to Jesus, they had found that he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.
John 19:31-34
A soldier “pierced his side…”  The words of John’s Gospel resound once more….

“They opened his side….”  Described in this succinct and clear way, as though that soldier was wanting to assure himself that there was not one drop of tenderness within him that had not been poured out.

“They opened his side….”  And his side remained open.  When something remains open, it is easy to come in and go out.  Through this opening there came blood and water….

The last drops of life….  And, days later, through the opening, entered the hand, the fear and doubts of Thomas.

We have made much of “being open,” a glorious label that is more connected with the head than with the heart:  an understanding of the latest ideologies, of change, knowing the demands of youth….  But to have one’s “side open” is something that is more costly than this, because entry is free and can lead to discomfort, can allow the other person, someone who is different, to come in and to remain, to occupy a place, to demand change, to beg for friendship, to be allowed to come in with their different ideas, different cultures, with their weaknesses, their concerns, their sufferings … and if they come in, they might oblige us to go out to look for more food.

A lance “opened the side of God” and it remained open….  It could not remain closed…

To have a heart like his can mean a heart with right of entry for the stranger, for the weak, for the sick, for the politically persecuted, for those wounded by war, for the little ones, for the brothers and sisters who think differently.

And a heart that is open, like that of God, also allows blood, water, tenderness, friendship and total gift, to flow out….

Concha Camacho rscj
Superior General
Feast of the Sacred Heart:  June 1980
** This excerpt is from Concepción Camacho Fernández Cañedo (1927-2014):  Twelfth Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart (1970-1982), pp. 107-108,
written by Mari Blanca de Sivatte Algueró rscj (translated by Clare Balfour rscj).  Used with permission from the author.

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