Friday, March 23, 2012

Contemplation of His Painful Wounds

Jesus to St. Faustina:

“There is more merit to one hour of meditation on My Sorrowful Passion than there is to a whole 
year of flagellation that draw blood; the CONTEMPLATION of MY PAINFUL WOUNDS is of great profit to you, and it brings Me great joy.” (#366)

“There are few souls who contemplate My Passion with true feeling; I give great graces to souls who 
meditate devoutly on My Passion.” (#73)

I just finished watching a 4 minute, 18 second video with the most horrific scenes from the Passion of the Christ.  I almost didn't make it past the 2 minute mark.  Yet Jesus said 1 hour to St. Faustina, and I was ready to push the little x on the window tab after 2 minutes.  If you don't want to lose whatever your current steady state is emotionally you may not want to hit any of the hyperlinks in this post.

I hate that Our Lord had to suffer like this for us.  I was saying that out loud with tears in my eyes while watching the video, "I HATE that this was necessary."  The women that played Mary Magdalene and Mary were very good in the movie.  Their reactions seem more real than the reaction of the man playing St. John.  He doesn't show the pain in his face or actions that I am sure St. John felt.

I've been praying over the past year that I would have a wound in my heart that would keep me from being unfaithful to Him.  A wound that would keep the most tender affections aflame for Jesus at all times rather than just in fleeting moments.  Not sure how that wound would get there if I don't spend more time meditating on his Sorrowful Passion.  Knowing now that I could barely take a 4 minute video . . . answers the question why Jesus hasn't answered that prayer request.

What do I mean by wound?  I don't think I mean an actual pain like an ulcer or something, I think I am asking for an ever present, deep love and tenderness for my God in my spirit, and my mind connected to my spirit.  

Maybe I already have part of what I am asking for, if it hurts to see my beloved in the pain he must have endured for our sake . . . my sake.

I went to Church for Adoration last night.  I did the Stations of the Cross while I was there.  It was a good meditation, but not near as intense as my internal reaction to the unsanitized visuals of Jesus's painful wounds.  When I look at the 10th station of the cross in this church, as in every other church where I have done this devotion, there is usually no blood showing on Jesus's body when they pull the garment from him before he is nailed to the cross.  How different it really was.  The Passion of the Christ shows that his garment had streaks all over it in the color of wine . . . drying blood.  
  When it was pulled from him it reopened all the wounds that had been closing up from the scourging.  I can't imagine the pain that he felt in that moment.

I found a
little website explaining how brutally the Roman soldiers would have beat someone arrested for treason.  How accurate Gibson's portrayal of that was!  The only question is how Jesus did not lose consciousness or go into shock resulting from that torture alone.

God's ways, wisdom, love, omniscience, lovingkindness, and longsuffering are not for me to question.  I do wonder though if he was clear with Adam and Eve the horrible penalty selfishness and pride would be to repay.  I wondered briefly just now, maybe if Eve were shown in her mind's eye, the real pictures that some of the mystics saw, like Anne Catherine Emmerich, Therese Neumann, and St. Gemma Galgani
if maybe then to prevent that future she wouldn't have called on God when the serpent started talking to her, "Father, this serpent is talking and telling me what you said isn't true.  Is this what could lead to the bloody sacrifice and torture of your Son?"
Wait, maybe this isn't a foolish fantasy, but a helpful meditation that will sober and strengthen me.  St. Gemma Galgani had a horror of sin.  I think meditating on Christ's passion leads to this.  Horror of sin comes from seeing what sin caused our Lord, whom we love, to suffer.

I posted on Community of Catholic Bloggers another music video that uses pictures from the Passion of the Christ.  The song is better, but the picture sequence isn't as intense as the one I watched immediately before beginning this post.  There were no flashbacks to seeing Jesus at the Last Supper or with Mary.  It was just the torture and the suffering . . .  Most of you remember that the details acted out in the movie came from the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich.     

Divine Word Mission Center 
I remember seeing a pieta statue of Mary holding Jesus on the grounds of the Divine Word campus in Northbrook, Illinois.  I found an image with a quick google search of this statue.  I remember a caption under it that I can't make out in this small photo but it read, "Greater than the ocean is my sorrow."

Mother Mary, please help us to finish Lent with Jesus remembering his passion.  We want to join you at the foot of the cross for love of Jesus, beloved Son to you and Our Heavenly Father.

Here is beautiful excerpt of prayer for The Seven Sorrows by Fr. Lawrence Lovasik:

Though worn with sorrow, you at once took your place at the foot of the cross. There you stood bravely, your eyes fastened on your Divine Son. How generously you offered Jesus, your dearest treasure, as a Victim to the justice of His offended Father! How courageously you united the oblation of your own suffering and grief with the offering of Jesus, thus proving yourself worthy not only to share but also to be one with Him in the redemption of souls.

Parting with your dying Son was the height of your sorrow. But with the same humility with which you had conceived Him, you consented to the supreme loss of your God. Jesus had delivered Himself in His Passion to the will of His Father, and before His sacrifice for sinners could be perfect, He had to be forsaken by that Father. In the same way you, who freely delivered your son to a cruel death, parted with your Son. Only thus could you become one with Your God in the salvation of souls.

Mary, My Mother, more courageous than the martyrs, you stood at the foot of the cross. The suffering of Jesus in His dereliction was the most difficult test of your faith. In union with Him you also did the will of God perfectly as He exclaimed "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit."

When you heard Jesus utter these words and saw Him bow His head and die, you died a spiritual death. Gazing sorrowfully on His lifeless body, you watched the soldier drive the spear into His Heart. The words of Simeon were then fulfilled. "And thy own soul a sword shall pierce." Filled with grief, you saw how the disciples removed the nails from the Redeemer's hands and feet, extracted the thorns from His head, and took Him down from the cross. What a sight met your tear-dimmed eyes when you beheld the body of your Son, bruised and mangled and covered with open bloody wounds. Your soul filled with love and sorrow, you embraced your Son now pale in death, a victim for the sins of mankind.


  1. Colleen,
    Thank you for this in depth post on meditating on Christ's wounds. When we read the lives of many of the saints we find that meditation on Christ's Passion was an integral part of their spiritual lives. Mel Gibson's movie as well as the book it is based on are helpful resources to bring the realness of what Jesus suffered to us. I agree that much of the artwork in churches is cleaned up. I have often wondered why. The Passion of the Christ is as real as anything I have ever seen on Christ's Passion.
    I love that song by Third Day (actually I love any song by Third Day. Hearing it as the backdrop to the scenes from the Passion make it even more beautiful and help us to see the raw meaning of what Jesus did for each one of us.
    Thanks again and God bless.

    1. Hi, Karinann - thank you for reading and commenting. I agree it is common theme that the saints we read about are the same ones that meditated on Christ's Passion! I am glad you like Third Day. The lyrics to that song were great. Their one song with lyrics, "that's alright, that's Ok", and as often as it was played on klove kind of ruined my ability to listen to them :)! I'll probably rediscover them in the future.

  2. Colleen,
    I finally saw 'The Passion' last year..and almost was physically sick several times. For years everyone told me, 'oh, you need to see it,' but I just didn't know if I could watch the brutality He suffered,. for us. Like you I hated that that is what it took to redeem us.
    I cried as I watched it alone one afternoon and honestly, I don't think I can watch it again..
    Thank you for this beautiful meditation...
    Blessings and +

    1. Brutality is right, Caroline! It is hard to take. Thank you for commenting, and I do feel a little better knowing it is hard for you to take too. Sorry it made you actually sick, though!

      I feel like because of what Jesus said to St. Faustina, and it being Lent that I should stand there at the foot of the cross or watching the images to let it sink in and increase my love, gratitude, and build a firmer restraint in myself to be less selfish, self-indulgent, and more giving for love of Jesus. Not there yet, which seems to mean I need to spend more time meditating on the Passion.

      God Bless You, Caroline!

  3. The Passion was hard to watch. The first time especially. I remember being unable to speak for about 30 minutes.
    Beautiful post.

  4. Colleen, your prayer to receive a wound in your heart which would keep it aflame with love and tenderness for Jesus is so beautiful, and I know such a longing must be very consoling to Our Lord. I'm sure He would not let such a loving prayer go unanswered...

    I will never forget the first time I saw The Passion of the Christ. It was horrific to watch, but Jesus was so beautiful in the way His Love for us consumed Him throughout His suffering. He embraced His Cross as though it were His best friend...or His beloved. That Cross on which He would give His Life for our love.

    But I know what you mean about the intensity of those scenes. I saw the movie several times the year it was released, but since then, I can only bear to watch it on Good Friday. It is truly a prayer, a meditation, a masterpiece.

    Thanks for reminding us to remember Our Lord's Passion the Saints.

    God bless you, Colleen!


    1. Patricia, Thank you for encouraging me with such a precise strike on my heart, as mentioning the Lord being consoled by my prayer! I will be watching, praying through the movie again this Holy Week as well. Last year I didn't watch it until Holy Saturday night. With the littles about, I have to watch it when everyone is asleep.

      Colleen, I was the same when I watched it. I just sat there with my tear-soaked face through the credits. As the lights came on, one lady asked if I was alright. I said yes, so I wasn't without words!

      I've not suggested to my daughter, 15, my oldest, that she should watch it, and not had my 13 year old watch it, even though he would like to. You can only watch it for the first time once, and I want them to want to watch it, and even if they want, to watch it alone some night. Maybe I'll let my oldest know when I am staying up to watch it this year.

  5. "You can only watch it for the first time once.."
    Colleen, what a wise mom you are! I had not thought of that. Yet, it is so true that the FIRST time is unique and has an impact that subsequent viewings do not..even though more details may be noticed later.

    But that first viewing is truly the experience of a lifetime. Your children are blessed to benefit from your wisdom. May the Lord choose His perfect time for them.

    Thank you for your prayers, and you are in mine. Please especially pray for my son, as he continues toward his wedding (July)...not yet focusing on how he needs to be reconciled to the Church first.

    Have a blessed day!

  6. Thank you Colleen for a thought-provoking post.

    God bless you and yours.