The passion and death of Jesus Christ is absolutely central to the Christian faith, both because it is the means of our salvation and because we are called to imitate him in it.
As a result, Christians have developed (or mystically received) all sorts of ways to meditate on those incredible events. There’s the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, and of course the crucifixes that we hang everywhere.
One particularly interesting but little-known devotion is to the Shoulder Wound of Jesus.
The story goes that, in the 12th century, St. Bernard of Clairvaux was praying and asked Jesus what the greatest unrecorded suffering of his passion was.
And Jesus answered! Here’s what he told St. Bernard:
“I had on My Shoulder, while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grievous Wound which was more painful than the others and which is not recorded by men.”
Then, with this knowledge, St. Bernard supposedly composed the following prayer:
“O Loving Jesus, Meek Lamb of God, I, a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy Flesh and laid bare Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy Most Blessed Body.
“I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain and by the crushing burden of Thy 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 Thy Cross.
I say “supposedly” because the prayer has also been attributed to a few other saints. Either way, it’s a great prayer, fully approved by the Church!