March 28, 2024
March 28, 2024
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Day Thirty-Eight of Lent – The Soldier’s Lance

Day Thirty-Eight of Lent
The Soldier’s Lance

So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. John 19:32-34

As our Blessed Mother stood gazing at the body of her Son, and saw the soldiers break the legs of the criminals on His right and left, she may have wondered what they were going to do to Jesus. As she looked on, she saw one of the soldiers drive a spear into His heart. She certainly felt the sharp pain of that piercing as she saw the cruelty continue. But what happened next was a sign that God’s mercy is abundant. Immediately, blood and water flowed forth from Jesus’ wounded Heart. Upon seeing this, our Blessed Mother would have immediately pondered its meaning.

Why did blood and water gush forth from the wounded Heart of Jesus as He hung dead upon the Cross? The blood and water were symbols of the sacramental life of the Church. Even in death, as Jesus’ body was yet again abused by a soldier, He transformed the abuse into grace. As His Heart was pierced, He opened the floodgates of Heaven and poured forth an abundance of sacramental mercy. The blood was the pouring forth of the grace of the Most Holy Eucharist and the water was the pouring forth of the grace of Baptism.

As our Blessed Mother looked on with love and deep sorrow, she may not have fully comprehended that this was the beginning of the sacramental life of the Church as we now understand it. She would have known, by faith, that she was witnessing the beginnings of the new life of grace won by her Son. She would have known that this final act of cruelty was being transformed before her very eyes and turned into abundant blessings from Heaven.

What does your faith reveal to you about the Sacraments? Do you understand that the Sacraments are channels of the abundant mercy of God? Do you realize that the victory over sin and death, accomplished by Jesus on the Cross, flows to you by these seven streams of mercy? Do you understand the connection between this piercing of Jesus’ Heart on the Cross and the Church’s sacramental life?

Reflect, today, upon the extraordinary grace of the Sacraments. As you ponder the blood and water gushing forth from Jesus’ side with our Blessed Mother, try to see this act in its deepest reality. See the grace of Baptism, the Holy Eucharist, and all the Sacraments at the moment of their birth. Ponder this: you stand before the Cross of our Lord; you bathe in His mercy; you see the flow from His wounded Heart; you accept it all. Hearing, you came. Coming, you saw. Seeing, you touched. And touching, you believed. His wounded Heart poured forth the Sacraments and you are invited to partake of the feast of grace.


My dearest Mother Mary, as you stood, gazing with love at the dead body of your beloved Son, you saw the soldier open His Heart with a spear. Though this caused excruciating pain in your own heart, it also filled you with an abundance of hope. The hope that filled your heart came from the knowledge that this last act of cruelty toward your Son opened the grace of Heaven and poured forth an abundance of mercy.

My dear Mother, pray for me that I may continually open my own heart to the mercy poured forth from the Heart of your beloved Son. May I especially be open to the grace given in abundance through the Sacraments.

My merciful Jesus, even in death You were abused as Your Heart was pierced by the soldier’s lance. I thank You for the miraculous transformation of that act into the font of sacramental life within Your Church. I pray that I may always immerse myself in the mercy that gushed forth from Your divine Heart. May every drop of blood and water that poured forth from Your Heart land in my own soul.

40 Days Journey with Our Lord
Day Thirty-Eight: The Eucharist
Holy Thursday

With the perfection of divine knowledge, Jesus knew exactly what He was doing when He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, remained there throughout the week, and sent His apostles to prepare the Passover Meal on Thursday. He knew He would give Himself sacramentally to His apostles that night. He knew that He would consent to the Father’s will in the garden after that first Eucharist. And He knew He would be arrested once His prayer was complete. He saw all, knew all, and consented to all.

Everything in Jesus’ life led up to this sacred moment that began with the Last Supper. The Last Supper became a perpetual memorial that each of us is invited to share. Strengthened by the gift of His Sacred Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, we are invited to accompany our Lord every day of our lives into His agony, consent, betrayal, arrest, suffering, death, and resurrection. Though this must be our daily activity, we commemorate this final journey that every Christian is invited to make in a unique way as we participate in the Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.

It all begins with Holy Thursday. When we attend Mass, we attend the Last Supper. The sacramental gift of the Holy Eucharist transcends time and draws us to our Lord’s altar in the upper room. That gift was a unified act that took place on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. The fruit of His Good Friday sacrifice and His Easter Sunday Resurrection is fully transmitted to us when we share in the Holy Eucharist. We will only fully comprehend this profound mystery if we are drawn into Heaven before the Beatific Vision. At that moment, we will be in eternal awe of all that Jesus did during the Triduum. For now, we must strive to penetrate that mystery through prayer and to open ourselves to God’s interior communication.

Do you understand the Eucharist? Upon receiving the Eucharist for the first time, our Lord went out to the Garden of Gethsemane, accompanied by Peter, James, and John. Those three apostles represent all of us and the invitation we receive by our reception of the Eucharist. The Eucharist invites us to join Jesus in the garden, fully consenting to the will of the Father in our lives. It invites us to accept all suffering with love, to willingly embrace injustice, to take up and carry the cross we are given, die with our Lord, and share in His Resurrection. Without being strengthened by the Most Holy Eucharist, accepting suffering will be impossible and, like the three apostles, we will fall asleep. Only later did those three and the others (except for Judas), receive the full effects of the Eucharist, remain vigilant, consent, die, and rise.

Ponder the beauty of this night. One of the most beautiful practices tonight is the adoration that takes place after Mass until midnight in churches throughout the world. If you are able to spend time in that adoration, do so. As you do, ponder the fact that receiving the Eucharist is not enough. We must allow that reception to strengthen us to accompany our Lord through the rest of the Triduum. Though suffering and sacrifice will be required along the way, the joy of the Resurrection will overshadow every sacrifice, making Holy Thursday and Good Friday the means to a much greater end.


HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances, saving only the Easter Vigil. It celebrates both the institution by Christ himself of the Eucharist and of the institution of the sacerdotal priesthood (as distinct from the ‘priesthood of all believers’) for in this, His last supper with the disciples, is a celebration of Passover.

He is the self-offered Passover Victim, and every ordained priest to this day presents this same sacrifice, by Christ’s authority and command, in exactly the same way. The Last Supper was also Christ’s farewell to His assembled disciples, some of whom would betray, desert or deny Him before the sun rose again.

On Holy Thursday there is a special Mass in Cathedral Churches, attended by as many priests of the diocese as can attend, because it is a solemn observance of Christ’s institution of the priesthood. At this ‘Chrism Mass’ the bishop blesses the Oil of Chrism used for Baptism and Confirmation. The bishop may wash the feet of twelve of the priests, to symbolize Christ’s washing the feet of his Apostles, the first priests.

The Holy Thursday liturgy, celebrated in the evening because Passover began at sundown, also shows both the worth God ascribes to the humility of service, and the need for cleansing with water (a symbol of baptism) in the Mandatum, or washing in Jesus’ washing the feet of His disciples, and in the priest’s stripping and washing of the altar. Cleansing, in fact, gave this day of Holy Week the name Maundy Thursday.

The action of the Church on this night also witnesses to the Church’s esteem for Christ’s Body present in the consecrated Host in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, carried in solemn procession to the flower-bedecked Altar of Repose, where it will remain ‘entombed’ until the communion service on Good Friday. No Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil proclaims the Resurrection.

And finally, there is the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by the people during the night, just as the disciples stayed with the Lord during His agony on the Mount of Olives before the betrayal by Judas.


My Most Precious Lord Jesus, this night You gathered with Your Apostles to share with them Your last meal. But this was no ordinary meal. This was the gift of Your most Sacred Body and Blood, soon to be broken and poured out on the Cross for the salvation of the world.

Allow me, dear Lord, to spend this night in prayer and meditation with You. After the meal, You invited Your Apostles to join You for one hour, to stay awake and keep vigil as You prepared for Your arrest. The Apostles fell asleep, leaving You in Your bitter agony alone.

I accept Your gentle invitation of love, dear Lord, to spend this night in vigil with You. May I enter Your Heart as it faced the coming persecution You were to endure for my sins. May I console Your Sacred Heart and know the love and Mercy that flowed forth.

Lord, when I face the crosses of my own life, give me Your divine courage and strength to say “Yes” to the Will of the Father. Your love for me is abundant and is perfect in every way. Help me to know that love, to embrace it and to allow it into my life.

I make my vigil with You this night, dear Lord. I love You, help me to love You with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You.


My Eucharistic Lord, You memorialized Your perfect sacrifice on Holy Thursday and Good Friday within the Holy Mass so as to invite me to share in the glory of Your Resurrection. I thank you profoundly for this Sacred Gift and pray that I will accompany You more fully with every reception. May I live and die with You so that I will rise with You on the last day.

Mother Mary, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.

Excerpts: mycatholiclife

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