Saturday, February 01, 2014

The Five Wounds of Christ

The Five Wounds of Christ are a very important area of devotion and a specifically helpful reality we ought to pray with, especially when meditating on the Life of Christ and gazing upon a crucifix. As it is, we share in His death with each of our struggles and hope to share with Him in His Resurrection for He Himself has conquered Death. Just so, we through the same mysteries can be united into His Passion, Death, and Resurrection mystically by meditating and applying these truths bound and renewed in faith as well as hope to our lives and offering these contemplations up to our Lord.

These Five Wounds, which become our own if we unite to Him in the struggle and sacrifice of the Cross, are of His Hands, His Feet, and His Sacred Side to His Sacred Heart. So it is, we are placed again in the formation and reopening of these wounds by our attachments to things not of Him, of distractions away from Him.

The first of these are of the Feet, ones that hold us from walking the Walk and of carrying the Good News to others. These are the wounds that keep us from fulfilling the Prophet Isaiah's words:
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the one bringing good news,
Announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!”
- Isaiah 52:7

The first of these wounds is the attachment to the esteem of others and to the opinion of others over God. It is the easiest to be swayed in following after Christ in His will for us. It is the one proverbial stoked by peer pressure and wanting to be in the "in" crowd, wholly being dependent upon the capricious human nature of desire for high esteem and human praise. The second Wound of the Feet is that of attachments of self, attachments that turn ourselves inward and consist of little desires that slowly inch ourselves away from a God who is infinitely good and desires the best for us. It is this one that is shown most especially in sloth towards need or the endurance in the Way to the Lord. Both Wounds, when turned inward, give opportunity for failure and separation from the wounds He bore.

The next two, those of the Hands, are ones of attachments to our understanding, both of the Future and of the Present. The more we hold on to a future devoid of His will and a present that isn't counseled by Him, we because onerous and cantankerous. These Wounds both show a prideful streak, a desire to be right and of high rank without purpose or service towards others. These Wounds lack most in charity necessary for service to others. These Wounds also are manifested in the impatience or hostility we are prone to show instead of the docility, obedience, and patience we are called to show. These Wounds, if separated from Him, from handing on and embracing others in Christ and His Love.

And the fifth and final Wound—to the Sacred Side—reaches the Sacred Heart itself. This is manifested in the attachment to the Past. This Wound, separated from Christ, is what stops all things from movement and is often caused out of fear and the belief that the past failures cannot be overcome or that the Love of God cannot heal the contrite of heart. This is the most pernicious of lies since it attacks the very lifeblood of the Person: Hope in Him Who Is. This fearful pride fails to let Christ into the very wounds He bore for us in His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. We cannot live with Him if we do not die with Him. Suffering itself must be purposed and not feared, and love must be shown in spite of the suffering we endure because even with our pasts His mercy endures forever. We must go beyond our shortsighted fears towards the Eternal, being contrite of heart and moving towards Him who is Love.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so the one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us." - 1 John 4:18-19

The beauty of these verses isn't because it somehow validates each us or even our love for one another blindly. On the contrary, it shows how much greater He is in giving. And we mustn't confuse the Gift from the Giver.

The rest of Scripture and Tradition hang on the verses here, not because they promote a false, warm-fuzzy peace with its cookie-cutter loves, as though there is a one-size-fits-all. No, it is on God's love that we stand on the edge of the cliff and chance the vertigo to look down from its heights in awe. We often fear the irrational but more so here the rational. We try to diminish His love and its effects, but it is still there, as stern as ever. He has sealed our hearts for His Sacred Heart in the courts above. Let us not delay in sharing in the suffering given to us for the Love He has stored up for us in Heaven above. His Wounds bear the marks beautifully of how far a distance God has come down to make His abode with us. Let us go out to meet Him through it all.