Jun 23, 2020 1566 Shalom Tidings

The 6th Wound

“Look. Look at the wounds. Enter into the wounds. By those wounds we were healed. Do you feel bitter and sad, or feel life just isn’t going the right way or you’re ill? Look there. In silence.”

With these words Pope Francis tells us how we can be restored through Jesus’ five Holy wounds—His pierced hands, feet and side. Many Catholics are familiar with the devotion to these five wounds. But have you heard of the sixth wound of Jesus?

In the 12th century a French Abbott and mystic, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, asked Jesus what was His greatest unrecorded suffering and the Lord answered: “I had, a grievous wound on My shoulder while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, that was more painful than the others, and is not recorded by men.”

In the 20th century, another saint confirmed this sixth wound: Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. Popularly known as a living saint, for more than 50 years he bore the wounds of Christ on his body. Padre Pio once had an interesting conversation with Karol Wojtyla, the future Saint Pope John Paul II, wherein Father Wojtyla asked which wound of his stigmata caused him the most pain, expecting Padre Pio to say it was the wound in his chest. Instead Padre Pio replied, “It is my shoulder wound, which no one knows about and has never been cured or treated.”

After the death of Padre Pio, Brother Modestino who was assigned the task of taking an inventory of all the saint’s belongings, discovered that one of Padre Pio’s undershirts bore a circle of bloodstains in the area of the right shoulder. On that very evening, Brother Modestino asked Padre Pio in prayer to enlighten him about the meaning of the bloodstained undershirt. He asked for a sign that Pio truly bore Christ’s shoulder wound. Brother Modestino woke up in the middle of that night with an excruciating pain in his shoulder, as if he had been sliced with a knife up to the shoulder bone. He felt that he would die from the pain if it continued, but it lasted only a short time. Then the room was filled with the aroma of a heavenly perfume —the sign of Padre Pio’s spiritual presence—and he heard a voice saying, “This is what I had to suffer!”

Consider this: Jesus allowed his feet to be pinned to the cross. He willingly surrendered his hands. And he allowed his side to be ripped open. But his shoulder that carried the crushing weight of the cross, that bruised and bloody shoulder which, according to John’s gospel, bore the weight of our sins without any help or relief, that shoulder remained available throughout his agony.

And today it is still available, to us and to all who need His consolation.

So, “Look there. In silence,” as Pope Francis suggests. Look and listen to the voice of Jesus inviting you to lean upon His shoulder and rest your head there and feel the love that enabled him to endure the excruciating pain from all the terrible wounds for the sake of us all.

To foster devotion to the Shoulder Wound of Christ, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux penned this prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Christ:

Most loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God,

I, a miserable sinner, salute and worship

the most Sacred Wound of Your shoulder, on which You bore

Your heavy Cross which so tore Your Flesh and laid bare

Your Bones so as to inflict on You an anguish greater than

any other wound. I adore You, O Jesus most sorrowful;

I praise and glorify You, and give You thanks for this most sacred

and painful Wound, beseeching You by that exceeding pain,

and by the crushing burden of Your heavy Cross,

to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me

all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on

towards heaven along the Way of Your cross. Amen..


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