On the Five Wounds of Our Lord’s Body after the Resurrection.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Five Wounds of Our Lord’s Body after the Resurrection.
Imagine, my soul, that you behold the risen Saviour at the moment when He, standing in the room where the apostles are assembled, shows Thomas the marks of His sacred wounds, bidding him look at them, touch them, that thereby his faith in Him may be strengthened. These sacred scars, shining brightly in the glorified body of the risen Redeemer, were indeed well calculated to rekindle the expiring light of faith in the mind of the doubting apostle; the effect upon him was instantaneous, for we read that as soon as he saw the print of the wounds, with rapturous delight and adoring love he fell at his Master’s feet, exclaiming in the joy of his heart: “My Lord and my God!” (St. John xx. 28.) Now let us proceed to consider the reason why our Lord retained the print of His five sacred wounds; the reason was of a threefold nature.
1st. It was in order to confirm our faith. Like Thomas, face to face with the marks of these wounds we can no longer doubt that our Lord has risen from the dead, and that He who appeared to the apostles and disciples was really and truly the self-same Saviour who hung upon the cross and, transfixed by five nails, expired upon the cross. Now if the resurrection of Christ is the foundation whereon our Faith rests, and the marks of the five wounds are the seal which confirms the truth of the resurrection, you will readily perceive how greatly the fact that these signs of what He suffered for us were retained in His glorified body must strengthen us in the Faith. How thankful then you ought to be to your Lord, whose charity and forethought for you extend far beyond the grave.
2d. Consider that our Lord retained upon His glorified body the print of the nails in order to strengthen our hope. He ascended up on high to His heavenly kingdom, bearing on His hands and feet and side the five sacred wounds whence, when He hung upon the cross, there flowed that precious blood wherewith He appeased the just wrath of the Eternal Father. And in Heaven He lifts His hands above, showing continually to His heavenly Father this fivefold seal and sign of the reconciliation between God and man which He accomplished upon the cross. And if the Most High, in accordance with the promise He Himself gave to Noe (Gen. ix. 16), mitigates His just anger, and will no more destroy all flesh with the waters of a flood when He sees the rainbow with its seven colors which He sets in the clouds as a sign of the covenant and of the reconciliation between Himself and the earth, how much the more will He let Himself be moved to mercy when He looks upon Jesus, His well-beloved Son, whom He gave to be a mediator to the world, and whose five sacred wounds are far brighter, more beauteous than the fairest rainbow? Ought not this, my soul, to strengthen your hope most powerfully? For now, like the timid dove that hides in the cleft of the rock to escape the talons of the bird of prey, you can at all times with hopeful confidence fly for refuge from hell’s vultures to the wounds of Jesus Christ, which to all eternity are open for your shelter.
3d. Consider, finally, that our Lord retains the marks of His sacred wounds in order to kindle our charity. The Ven. Bede asserts that our Lord retained the print of the nails on His glorified body that they might be an everlasting memorial of His love to us and stimulate us to make a return of love. If Jacob’s grief always burst forth afresh at the sight of the blood-stained coat his son Joseph had worn, will not the sight of the Saviour who was wounded for love of us, who for evermore will bear those signs of love, incite us to love Him in return, to kindle within our hearts an ardent flame of charity? Could you look unmoved on the scars of the wounds your friend received in doing battle on your behalf? Far from you such a thought! Do not then remain cold and indifferent at the sight of our Lord’s wounds, lest at the day of judgment the marks of those wounds on the glorified body of your Judge should prove your perdition instead of your salvation.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
That we ought to cast all our care upon God.
[Disciple.] II. Lord, what Thou sayest is true; Thy care over me is greater than all the care I can take of myself.
For he stands at too great a hazard that does not cast his whole care on Thee.
Lord, provided that my will remain but right and firm towards Thee, do with me whatsoever it shall please Thee.
For it cannot but be good, whatever Thou shalt do by me.
If Thou wilt have me to be in darkness, be Thou blessed; and if Thou wilt have me to be in light, be Thou again blessed; if Thou vouchsafe to comfort me, be Thou blessed; and if it be Thy will I should be afflicted, be Thou always equally blessed. – Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XVII pt. II.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost (The Passion for Lent)
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood,
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of human kind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
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