“But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.”  (John 19:34)

Popular opinion believes the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus comes to us from some private revelations, starting with St. Gertrude (a Benedictine and mystic writer), in the late 1200’s, to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the late 1600’s.  While these private revelations provide in-site to the details of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, they are not the only source of information. It is very important to note that this devotion has its beginnings in the Gospel.

St. John is the only one of the four Gospel writers to make note of the actions of the soldier and the results of the piercing Jesus with a spear. Perhaps because he was the only one of the apostles standing at the cross?  The water came from the lungs of Jesus, crucifixion causes asphyxiation, the lungs may fill with fluid and the person dies from not being able to breath. The blood came from the Heart of Jesus. This event is the start of the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

The Gospel contains so much, and the rest of the new Testament also, that perhaps this one little verse (found only in John) may have been overlooked or neglected. Reading the Bible itself may have been neglected or forgotten (much like our own time), and so Jesus appeared in private, to reawaken in his people the importance and significance of His Heart being pierced by a spear.  Thinking about and meditating on this verse will help us to begin to understand the mystery of how much Jesus loves us, not that we could ever understand until we see Jesus face to face. Only then, in heaven, will we fully understand the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

July 1, 2011, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus