This One Thing Does Love Ask

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After Longinus had done his work
and done it well,
wielding the lance
to open with iron the floodgates of flesh,
there came a gushing torrent.
The waters of a river gave joy to God’s city (cf. Ps 45:5).
He, the One lifted up, poured out His heart like water (cf. Lam 2:19).
“He who saw it has borne witness;
his testimony is true” (Jn 19:35).

Zechariah’s prophecy was wondrously fulfilled:
“On that day there shall be a fountain opened
for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem
to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness” (Zech 13:1).
“O purify me, then I shall be clean;
O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow” (Ps 50:9).

Ruby blood and water “bright as crystal” (Rev 22:1) flowed
burning like fire
washing in its tide,
and quenching the thirst of the few
who stood watching,
waiting in the shadow of Love’s outstretched wings.
“Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother,
and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene” (Jn 19:25),
and “the disciple whom He loved” (Jn 19:26).

“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37; Zech 12:10).
Looking, they saw the bloody gash
and found the open door.
“I, through the greatness of Your mercy
have access to Your house.
I bow down before Your holy temple,
filled with awe” (Ps 5:8).
“There is one thing I ask of the Lord, this I seek,
to dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life . . .
to behold His temple” (Ps 26:4).

The arms of Love flung wide
and nailed there upon the tree
disarmed the cherubim.
The spear was raised to heaven
and, for a moment, flashed bright against the darkling sky.
A single thrust
and the “flaming sword which, at the entrance of the garden,
turned every way” (Gen 3:24)
was wrested by weakness from strong angelic hands
and hid again within its sheath.

The gates forbidden
became the open portal,
the lover’s embrace,
the safeway, the only way,
for no one comes to the Father (cf. Jn 14:6)
except through this door’s threshold
of given-flesh and outpoured-blood.
Here David’s song reveals the mystery:
the house become a heart,
the heart become a house.
“It was there that Your people found a home,
prepared in Your goodness, O God, for the poor” (Ps 67:11).

“Go out quickly to the streets
and lanes of the city,
and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame” (Lk 14:21).
“Go out to the highways and hedges,
and compel people to come in” (Lk 14:23)
that my house, my heart, may be filled.
“The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal” (Ez 34:16).

Cross the threshold by night
with faith’s unseen feet;
with hope a lamp for your steps,
enter by desire;
dwell therein by love,
and with John the beloved and those of his lineage
“have power to comprehend
what is the breadth and length
and height and depth,
and know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge
to be filled with all the fullness of God” (cf. Eph 3:18-19).

The pierced Heart
is Love’s last proof.
“For while we were still weak,
while we were yet sinners” (cf. Rom 5:6, 8),
the door was opened in Love’s side.
Plunge then, fearless, into the tide of water and of blood.
Wash your soul’s disfigured face
in the torrent of purity that to the image restores likeness,
giving loveliness to the unlovely,
There every bruise is bathed in love;
there, every old, unsightly thing
made fresh, and new.
This is love’s reparation,
for only love can repair what Love has made.
“Behold,” Love says, “I make all things new” (Rev 21:5).

Love’s joy is the one sheep
sought and found and prized above all others
“on a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Ez 34:12),
Love’s joy is Love’s Heart
opened for the sake of all,
inhabited by the foolish to shame the wise,
and by the weak to shame the strong (cf. 1 Cor 1:27).
Love chose “what is low and despised in the world,
even things that are not” (1 Cor 1:28)
and in these is the mercy of His Heart displayed.

Others come knocking, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us”
but their greatness, their shining certitudes,
not their sins, prevent their entering in.
“Truly, I say to you, I do not know you” (Mt 25:12)
who have not known my Heart of mercy,
who have not needed my repairing,
nor known nor believed in love (cf. 1 Jn 4:16).

Only this one thing does Love ask:
that, “out of the depths” (Ps 129:1), we believe in Love,
and, preserved by Love,
never despair of Mercy’s Heart.
These are “thoughts of His Heart to all generations” (Ps 32:11).
Come, then, to the water that washes every impurity
and quenches every thirst.
Come, be repaired, restored in the Blood.
If you would be delivered from death, come (cf. Ps 32:19).
If you would be fed in famine, come (cf. Ps 32:19).
If you would be loved, come.

Just as Love withheld nothing of His Heart
in the sacrifice offered once from the Cross
so now, does Love withhold nothing of His Heart
in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
nothing from the Father,
nothing from us.
All is given,
and in this is the mystery of the Sacred Heart.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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