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Feast of the Most Holy Lance and Nails of Our Lord

Taken from Medulla S. Thomae Aquinatis which arranges various short texts from St. Thomas Aquinas' corpus based on the liturgical year. I will be posting the day's meditation each day and will be bringing it into print once I'm through it.

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Friday after the First Sunday of Lent

Feast of the Most Holy Lance and Nails of Our Lord

One of the soldiers with a spear, opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. (John 19:34)

1. It deserves notice that Scripture says opened, and not wounded, because in his side the door of eternal life is opened to us. After this I looked, and lo, in heaven, an open door! (Rev 4:1) This is the door in the side of the ark through which those animals entered who were not to perish in the flood.

2. But this door is the cause of our salvation; and so, immediately there came out blood and water. This is a remarkable miracle, that blood should flow from the body of a dead person where blood congeals. We are cleansed from our sins by his blood, which is the price of our redemption.

You know that you were not redeemed with perishable silver or gold from your vain conduct, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Pet 1:18)

And we are cleansed from our stains by the water, which is the bath of our rebirth: I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you will be clean from all your filthiness. (Ezek 36:25)

On that day there will be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. (Zech 13:1)

And so it is these two things which are especially associated with two sacraments: water with the sacrament of baptism, and blood with the Eucharist. Or, both blood and water are associated with the Eucharist because in this sacrament water is mixed with wine, although water is not of the substance of the sacrament.

This event was also prefigured, for just as from the side of Christ, sleeping on the cross, there flowed blood and water, which makes the Church holy, so from the side of the sleeping Adam there was formed the woman, who prefigured the Church.

(Selections from the Commentary on the Gospel according to St John C19.L.5)

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