Fifth petition: Jesus, may I love you in my brothers and sisters.
Day 5: Jesus may I learn to love you in your wounds, and may I find your wounds in the suffering of my brothers and sisters
One needs to understand what contemplation means. You said something, a word that struck me: I touched with my hand the wounds of the Lord in the poverty of the people of our time.
And this I believe to be one of the best remedies for the malady that plagues us: indifference. As well as skepticism: to believe that nothing can be done.
The patron of the indifferent and of skeptics is Thomas: Thomas had to touch the wounds.
There is a beautiful discourse, a tremendously beautiful meditation by St Bernard on the wounds of the Lord. You are a priest, you can find it in the Third Week of Lent, in the Office of Readings, I don’t remember which day.
To enter into the wounds of the Lord: we serve a Lord wounded by love; the hands of our God are hands wounded by love. To be capable of entering in…. And again Bernard continues: “Be trusting: enter into the wound at his side and you will contemplate the love of that heart.”
The wounds of humanity, if you approach them, if you touch them — and this is Catholic teaching — you touch the wounded Lord. This you will find in Matthew 25… so I’m not a heretic by saying this.
When you touch the wounds of the Lord, you understand a little more about the mystery of Christ, of God Incarnate. This precisely is Ignatius’ message, in spirituality: a spirituality where at the center is Jesus Christ, not institutions, not people, no. Jesus Christ. Christ Incarnate! And when you do the Spiritual Exercises, he tells you that seeing the Lord who suffers, the wounds of the Lord, strains you to tears, to feel pain. And the Ignatian spirituality gives your Movement this path, offers you this road: to enter into the heart of God through the wounds of Jesus Christ.
Christ wounded in the hungry, in the ignorant, in the discarded, in the elderly all alone, in the sick, in the imprisoned, in the insane… He is there.
And what is the biggest mistake any one of you could make? You might be speaking about God, finding God, encountering God… but what it is just a god, a “god-spray,” a common god, an ethereal god… Ignatius wanted you to encounter Jesus Christ, the Lord, who loves you and gave his life for you, wounded for your sin, for my sin, for all people…
And the wounds of the Lord are everywhere. In exactly what you said lies the key. We can speak a lot about theology, a lot… good things, speak about God… but the way is being able to contemplate Jesus Christ, to read the Gospel, what Jesus Christ did: It’s He, the Lord! Fall in love with Jesus Christ and say to Jesus Christ that you choose to follow Him, to be like Him. And this is done through prayer and touching the wounds of the Lord. You will never know Jesus Christ if you don’t touch his injuries, his wounds. He was wounded for us.
Conclude by praying five Our Fathers, as you contemplate each of Jesus’ five wounds. This is the invitation of Pope Francis:
Do not forget this: look at the crucifix, but to look within it. There is this beautiful devotion to pray an Our Father for each one of the five wounds: when we pray that Our Father, we seek to enter through Jesus’ wounds inside, inside, right to His heart. And there we will learn the great wisdom of Christ’s mystery, the great wisdom of the cross.
Background on Pope Francis’ devotion to the Five Wounds:
With repeated references in homilies and meditations, Pope Francis has revealed his special devotion to the Five Wounds of Jesus.
The Holy Father sees in this devotion a path to arrive to the Sacred Heart, and there to find that this heart is the beating heart of Divine Mercy.
He also sees it as a path to draw close to suffering humanity, and to recognize that Jesus has taken his wounds to the Father in order to pray for his wounded brothers and sisters.
Let us meditate on the Five Wounds with Pope Francis as a novena in preparation for the Feast of the Sacred Heart, which this year falls on June 19.
Join us for the following petitions in the coming days.
That I may serve you in my brothers
That I may find you praying for me
That I may behold your wounded beauty
That I may commit myself to you as my God