As I was waiting my turn to walk to the Communion rail, I couldn't help but stare at the huge crucifix that hangs over the Tabernacle at the main altar.
I gazed upon the nails in His hands and feet, thinking of all the journeys He took about Judea, raising His hands in curing, blessing, teaching...walking everywhere He went, bringing the Good News to everyone He met.
Then, there He was, hanging on a wooden pole, arms outstretched, impaled and prevented from spreading the love and mercy of His Eternal Father to us all.
But wait! Not so! Here, He was even more enabled than ever, by being nailed to a cross!
Years ago, I read in the Mystical City of God, that Our Lady noticed that whenever He slept, He never stretched out His arms and legs. She asked Him why and He replied that He would never do this ~ until the time would come when He would stretch out His entire Body in sacrifice to His Father, for the salvation of the world.
So, in Her perfect imitation of His virtues, She began to sleep the same way, keeping Her limbs close about Herself...
And there I was, sitting there gazing upon that sacrificial Lamb, impaled upon the Cross, ribs stretched out in His final Agony ~ trying desperately to breathe, expanding His chest as those fleeting breaths became more and more difficult to take in...(did you know that the actual cause of death on a cross is suffocation?)...
I pictured myself trying to climb to His Heart ~ those ribs became my ladder ~ and as I was immersed in His Precious Blood, I was washed clean. My sins were erased, forgiven, never to darken my soul again.
I had just been to Confession, a few minutes earlier. To be able to go as often as I do is a privilege, one that I do not take lightly. There are others of my acquaintance who are not so lucky, so I take full advantage of this convenience as often as I possibly can. And that makes it easier to practice, as well...an additional blessing for which I am most grateful, believe me!
Every time I make a good Confession, I climb one more rung on that ladder, one more rib closer to His Heart...and I become more and more immersed in His Blood ~ and His saving grace.
I have been reading quite a bit about different Saints and how they practiced devotion. It always seems to me that they were so far above me in the practice of virtue, and there is no way I can ever come close to what they were. And then, I remember the very few words of a very wise priest who asked me in the Confessional (during a conversation concerning frequent Confession), "Are you not also trying to become a Saint?"
So, I sit before this Crucifix quite often and think about what he asked me that day. And I have to answer, "Yes! Dearest Lord Jesus, allow me to take in a drop of Thy Precious Blood for myself! Keep my own heart safe within Thine own Sacred Heart!"
This past weekend, the Solemnities of the Two Hearts, would be a perfect time to remind myself of this prayer. And even more important, to put into practice all that a true devotion to the Two Hearts would entail...frequent Confession being one of them...and the very humble, very contrite and very grateful climbing of that ladder, one rung at a time, to be ever closer to His most Precious Heart of Mercy, Love and Salvation.