The Six Holy Wounds of Christ

In accordance with our Roman Catholic tradition we venerate the Five Holy Wounds of Christ. Again traditionally these are as follows: #1, The Wound in His Side. #2, The Wound in His Right Hand. #3, The Wound in His Left Hand. #4, The Wound in His Right Foot. #5, The Wound in His Left Foot. This devotion is very old and serves us well in meditating on what Jesus suffered for us. Of course we know that given His lashing at the post, His crowning with thorns, and all the rest there were very many more wounds than just five. But this devotion stands as it is and it stands worthily. Still, I have another take, a personal way of looking at His wounds and I share them here.

In reference to the Bible there is whats called “Biblical Numerology”. Now this has nothing to do with fortune-telling and is in no way related to modern numerology. This type of numerology, Biblical Numerology, is simply this: Certain numbers relate to certain things, ideas, concepts, truths. A good example is the number 7. In the Old Testament the number 7 is God’s number. It refers to perfection, to flawlessness. When applied to subjects other than God it refers to perfection in the sense that the thing is complete. Complete and flawless are two different things. A jig-saw puzzle is complete if all the pieces are there, complete when properly put together. But if someone sets a cup of coffee on it leaving a stain or coffee ring, well, it isn’t flawless. That’s a simple illustration to explain the meaning(s) of 7.

Another significant number is 6. It’s man’s number. It’s man’s number because we fall short of perfection, short of 7. Satan told Eve that we could be like gods. He lied. Try as hard as we might, with all good intentions, we will never approach the perfection that is God’s flawlessness. The best we’ll ever be able to hope for is to be made complete in Him. So 6 is our number.

Jesus became one of us. He became a man. He set aside His divine rights, His position, and took upon Himself human nature. For our sake, even though He was a perfect man in all respects, He became a 6. See Isaiah 53:4 and Philippians 2:7. And so, with all due respect for our wonderful Catholic traditions, and in respect for and out of respect for the humanity of Christ, I offer the following …

The Six Holy Wounds of Christ

#1: The Wounds from the Crown of Thorns. ~ Think about the thorns, the pain they caused. Think of the cruelty inflicted upon Him as the Crown of Thorns was pushed forcibly down with the intent of causing pain. And humiliation. A “crown” for a “king”. Mary of Agreda was told by the Most Blessed Mary that one actually punctured His skull. And for what crime? What did He ever think of, with His purity of thought and intention, that would make Him deserving of this treatment? And where has my mind strayed? What do I deserve given my thought life?

#2: The Shoulder Wound. ~ St. Bernard of Clairvaux was told by Jesus of a terrible wound on His shoulder. He suffered much as He carried His Cross because of it. He carried that Cross for me and suffered the pain of that wound for love of me. How often do I run, shoulders stooped in fear, from a cross sent by Him for love of me?

#3: The Wounds of the Scourging. ~ They whipped Him. According to Jewish law you could only give a criminal 40 blows with the whip. More than that was deemed cruel. They delivered 39 just in case they miscounted. But it wasn’t a fellow Jew delivering these blows. The Romans did it and they had no law limiting the severity of the whipping. He turned His back on His rights as the Son of God in order to take my whipping for me. The one I deserved and He didn’t. How many times have I turned my back on Him?

#4: The Wounds in is Hands. ~ Those hands that touched and cured lepers. That blessed the little children. The very hands that blessed and broke the bread at that last Passover. The hands that lift up that one lost little sheep and carry it lovingly back to the fold while holding it close to His breast. These hands they drove spikes through. He did all that good with those hands. What have I used mine for?

#5: The Wound in His Side. ~ He had just died and yet that wasn’t enough. A spear, thrust into His side, tore open a Heart already broken for … me. And my heart? How hard and unbreakable has it been towards Him, towards others?

#6: The Wounds in His Feet. ~ The feet that walked the shore of Galilee as He taught those hungry for the truth. The feet that carried Him to the ruler of the synagogues house to raise a dear, dead child. The feet that walked on water. Feet washed by the tears of a sinner. These feet, going in all the right directions for all the right reasons for love of His Father and for love of me. Think of the treatment they received. Where have my feet carried me? Have I followed Him for love of Him or have I walked after the ways of the world?

His wounds are to many for me to number. His love and His grace, His mercy and His truth, and the daily, minute by minute, manifestations of these are even more numerous and go ever farther.

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Published in: on June 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm  Comments Off on The Six Holy Wounds of Christ  
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John and Mary and the Cross

Put yourself in the garden with Jesus. In the distance you can hear people, a group of men approaching. You see the glow of torches through the trees. As they draw near you recognize the Temple guard. Judas is with them. The moment Jesus has told you of has arrived. Its begun. You see Judas embrace Jesus. The guards move forward. Jesus speaks. They fall back. Some think that when Jesus spoke, when He said, “I am He”, He actually used the Great “I AM”. The Divine Name that only the high priest uttered once a year during the Passover season when he entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple to offer up the lambs blood. Here Jesus, the True High Priest and Lamb of God, speaks that Name, His Name. “I am”. The Name God shared with Moses when asked, “Who shall I say has sent me?” The guards fall back out of sheer shock. They collect themselves, move forward again. Peter strikes with the sword. Jesus stops the violence, heals the wounded man, and all of His followers run. Away. He is alone with those bent on His destruction. As He is taken away two of the twelve follow at a distance. Peter and John. John is able to gain entrance to the court-yard when Jesus is taken before the high priest for His “trial”. We lose track of John here. Did he stay, like Peter, at a distance? Consoling himself that he was still with Christ, he had not forsaken Him? He was just waiting at a safe distance. How often do I think I’m ok even when I keep a “safe” distance? Isn’t the whole point of being a Christian to draw nearer Christ? Where does a safe distance enter into that equation? Or did John leave, going … where? We don’t know because we’re not told. Peter stays. At a safe distance. But he is still there, still keeping Jesus in view. Does he feel good about himself because he is, after all, still there? What does he do? He warms himself by the fire. How often do we convince ourselves that we’re ok because we can still see Jesus even while we warm ourselves by a worldly flame? Doesn’t that always end in denial? Back to John. Whatever he did after he got Peter into the courtyard (John “knew” someone, he had “contacts”, “pull”.) we don’t see him again untill the Crucifixion. He is at the foot of the cross with the mother of Christ. Mary. Why there and why with Mary? I said all of the above to make one relatively short point. Jesus loved John. John is called the disciple that Jesus loved. We know that Jesus loved, loves, them, us, all. But why was John singled out this way? For the same reason that he was at the cross with Mary. You see, John loved Jesus. But he ran just like all the rest. He deserted. But when it came to Mary and the cross he could not run, he would not desert. Why? Because John had a relationship with Mary as well as his relationship with Jesus. He could not let her go alone to Calvary. He went because he loved Jesus, true. But he also went out of love and care for Mary. You see now how it works? Because John loved Mary and could not bear to leave her during this time of sorrow he stands where? He stands at the foot of the cross with Jesus. Do you see now how it works? It really is: “To Jesus through Mary.”

Published in: on June 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm  Comments Off on John and Mary and the Cross  
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Jesus, Mary and Joseph Were Born of Royal Stock

 

The Royal Family. Always remember: We have a King, He has a Vicar, we have a Queen. We are well cared for. March 19 – Jesus, Mary and Joseph Were Born of Royal Stock.

Published in: on June 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm  Comments Off on Jesus, Mary and Joseph Were Born of Royal Stock  

The Faith of Job

 

Everyone has heard of the patience of Job. Maybe you’ve even heard someone say, “He has the patience of Job.” It’s easy to spot Job’s patience when you read his story. He looses everything, his health fails, his wife nags, and then his best friends show up running off at the mouth with all sorts of well-meant bad advice or accusations. Hey, he must need to do something different if these are the results he gets, right? Or maybe God is punishing him for, hmm, wonder what he did to get God so mad? And through all of this he was … Patient. Ever hear much about his faith? Probably not. He had tons of it. He tells all about it. I don’t want to be misunderstood. I love Job, I think he is a saint. Really. And the book fascinates me. Did you realize that given internal evidence that is non-consequential (Hey! Is that not impressive verbage or what? Ahem. All it means is stuff that you read in the book that’s just kind of there and isn’t that important. *whew*) the Book of Job is in all probability the oldest book in the Bible? Like the very first one written, even before Moses came along? It really is a fascinating book and makes for wonderful study on many levels. But the level I want to focus on here is Job’s level of faith. It ran high. And in all the wrong directions. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to Job, he’ll tell you all about his faith …

“For sighing comes more readily to me than food, and my groans well forth like water. For what I fear overtakes me, and what I shrink from comes upon me. I have no peace nor ease; I have no rest, for trouble comes!” Job 3:24-26.

Told you. Lots of faith. Misplaced, in the wrong things, in negative and fearful things. What does that tell me? It tells me that if I focus on the negative, if I walk in fear, and put my faith in these knowing without doubt that they will happen … They WILL happen. And yes I realize it was Satan that, with God’s permission, struck out at Job. But how did Satan know where to strike? Ol’ Scratch could have done any number of other things. Some folks turn their back on God because of, for example, prosperity. He could have given Job so much in the way of possessions, political power, public acclaim, and even religious pull that Job would’ve felt self-sufficient and had no need for God. But that’s not what Satan did. He hit where he knew it would hurt because he had watched Job and knew where his weak points were. Don’t ever fall for the idea that devils and demons are cartoon characters with pitchforks, pointy tails, and a wicked sense of humor. They aren’t funny and they have been watching humanity for thousands of years in order to know us well enough to defeat God’s purpose for us. They’re smarter, faster, and stronger than you or me. And deadly. They know to hit us where it hurts most and have no qualms about doing so. So what do we do? Well, we start by having faith AND putting it in the right things. I need to put my faith in God and in His Truth. That’s where it belongs. Then its positive and I’ll get positive if I remain constant. And there is the role of patience. Remaining constant in my faith in the positives of God and not fear. Remember that the devil is filled with hate. Hate is a fearful thing. Putting faith in fearful things will only give Satan the chance to bring me those things. He is a very willing messenger. God however is very different. Where Satan is hate filled remember that God is Love. Want to keep Satan at bay? Want to lead a fearless life? Simple … Experience God’s Love.

“Perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18.

Practice the patience of Job in the Love of God while putting your faith in Christ Jesus.

Published in: on June 27, 2012 at 6:58 am  Comments (2)  
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The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence – Free eBook

 

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence – Free eBook.

I’ve talked about this book more than once. And there are reasons for that. Now you can find out for yourself what those reasons are while you get closer to God. (Hint: Getting closer to God is/are the reason(s).) A FREE download of the book so that you can have it right there on your ‘puter.

Published in: on June 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm  Comments Off on The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence – Free eBook  
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Part 15: The Fifth Glorious Mystery, the Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth

 

Part 15 of a 15 part series on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

The fifth glorious mystery: The Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

The Old Testament, rightly divided, is filled with the role of Mary in the Messianic mission. Sometimes her role is there for all who have eyes to see. In other places its veiled like the Salvation Story as it relates to Jesus. But a simple reality is this: When the Jews were looking, waiting expectantly for the Messiah to come set up David’s kingdom all over again, well, common sense kicks in. No man is an island. Neither is any king. They understood that their new king, the Messiah come to save them, wouldn’t arrive in a void. There would be others involved. One of those others would be the Queen Mother. Why was Mary assumed into Heaven? To be crowned, to take her rightful place there with her Son. She has a place in His Heart. This is true. Therefore she should, if I love Him, have a special place in mine. There is only one Queen Mother. This is one role that is as non-transferable as it is necessary. There have been many Peters, many Popes. There have been many Apostles, many Bishops. There have been many priests and deacons, cradle Catholics and converts. There is now and forever will be only one Mary.

Prayer: Mother Mary, please help me be a good subject of yours, and a good servant.

Published in: on June 23, 2012 at 5:09 am  Comments Off on Part 15: The Fifth Glorious Mystery, the Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth  
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URGENT!

URGENT! Thursday, June 21, 2012. Just a few short hours away. All of the U.S. bishops are asking us to pray. They’re calling it Fortnight for Freedom. 14 days. They ask that every Roman Catholic pray the Litany for Liberty which can be found on their website: usccb.org. They ask this of us as a MINIMUM. If we can do more we should. This time of prayer is meant to turn around the HHS mandate which, in my view, already has taken away our religious freedom. It’s not GOING TO. It took our freedom of conscience away the moment it was made law. Each of us is responsible. Take action. The prayer takes about 10 minutes a day. 14 days. That’s about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Is our religious freedom, our Catholic Faith, worth that much effort? God help us.

Published in: on June 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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Taking a Stand … Ask Peter

Ask Peter. Taking a stand can be a frightening thing. The world looks big, the powers of darkness, the darkness that arises from the pit of hell as a smoke that clouds men’s hearts, can seem overwhelming. The world has soldiers, temple guards, whips, chains, and more. It even offers us a comforting fire to stand by, so long as we remain still, quiet, and take no stand that would upset the status quo. In the face of taking a stand we can falter, step back, even deny Christ. Luke 22:62.

Ask Peter. Taking a stand can be a hard thing to do. Standing up, standing out. But that’s what Jesus did, isn’t it? He stood up, He stood out. He didn’t ask for it but He knew what was coming. Everyday that He took a stand He stood there facing the controversy that sin, not God, brought to the fore. Jesus Christ was, is, and always will be for as long as this world stands as it is controversial. Christ, Christianity, Christians always see controversy. That’s because by standing up, by taking a stand, those of the world see in us Jesus, the Truth, that we represent as though holding up a mirror. But when they look into the mirror that we hold up to them just by being Christian they see what they don’t want to see. They see their own sins looking back at “them”. Remember “them”, they are important. But Peter, knowing all this, stood up. On the day of Pentecost, with Pharisees, scribes, temple guards, Romans, those responsible for the murder of the Christ all watching and listening, Peter took a stand. And he preached to all these the Truth. Acts 2.

Ask Peter. Taking a stand can be costly. By taking a pro-life stand, by voting pro-life, by not supporting organizations that in turn support things like abortion or Planned Parenthood, by calling homosexuality what it is … a sin, by standing up for real marriage, by standing against unjust laws via civil disobedience, these things can cost us. But He told us that in the beginning. He said we would be persecuted. He was. Why should we expect better treatment than Him? Luke 23:31.

Ask Peter. If we, if I, if you, take a stand what can we expect? “They” crucified Jesus. “They” crucified Peter too. And “they” thought “they” were doing the right thing both times. John 11:50 & John 16:2. Remember “they” because “they” are important.

Ask Peter. “They” wont like us when we take a stand. “They” will talk about us. “They” will slander us. “They” will take us to court, persecute us, deny their relationships with us. “They” will hate us. “They” will call us backwards, ignorant, stupid. “They” will even call us evil and say that the things we do for good, for God, are evil. Isaiah 5:20 & Matthew 5:11.

Yes, you can ask Peter. He denied Christ, preached Christ, suffered at the hands of others for the love of Christ, and died for Christ as a result. But if you ask Peter now, ask him right now if it was all worth it, his answer would be much different from the “I don’t know the man!” of earlier. Please read 1 Peter 5:10-11.

You see, in his denial of Christ Peter came to understand that “they” are to be prayed for, to be sought after, to never be shunned but rather to be loved. And that’s because the Holy Spirit, latter, brought all things Jesus had said back to his mind. Peter remembered. John 14:26 & Matthew 5:44.

And do we remember “them” and “they”? Do we remember who “they” are? “They” are “us”, before we turn to Jesus. Romans 3:23 & 1 Corinthians 6:11.

Published in: on June 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm  Comments (2)  
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Our Carpenter’s Square, the Rosary

Our Carpenter’s Square, the Rosary. Hmm. Years ago, and I do mean years, I was in shop class, the instructor at the front of the room. He held up a carpenter’s square and said, “This is a square. Explain to me what it is.” And so it began. One guy after another telling him what you use it for. And one after another he told them that, no, that’s not what it was. It got to be confusing. because all the answers, all the things these guys were saying, all the things you use it for, well, they were all right. And then it happened. Have you ever asked a question and seen the light come on in one face? And you knew without a doubt that this person had gotten the answer from that dark recess of the mind, dug out the info, and was ready to spill. He looked at me and smiled. My face had that knowing glow and the grin to go with it. So he asked me, with great confidence, “Can you tell us what a square is?” And I replied, “Yes sir. A square is a dude that don’t know whats happening.” Ah well. He then, after the laughter subsided, told us what asquare IS. That was the crux of the question. He hadn’t asked what you do with it. And so we learned that a square IS a 45 degree angle.

Sometimes we get so caught up in thinking and considering what we think the answer must be that we lose track of the question and the reality of the thing. I think the Rosary is like that sometimes. It’s about more than one thing. Its more than a string of beads, but it’s also more than a fixed set of mysteries. It’s a tool. Its our Carpenter’s square. Jesus is the Carpenter, and the Rosary is the square He uses to help build us up in our Christian faith. At different times with different mystics Christ has refered to the Rosary as “His”. Its a safe bet that when Mary gave it to Dominic it was after God, Jesus, had given it to her. So let’s think about it for a minute in a new way. Not as beads or fixed mysteries, but as a tool that we can use, like a carpenter’s square, in lots of ways with many definitions of what it is because it IS multifaceted, and what we might do with it to help us grow in our, in His, faith. And remember that the following are just a few simple ideas to get your own mental juices flowing. You’ll get the idea here in just a minute. In the meanwhile I suggest that later you might like to get a small notebook, nothing complicated, and keep it with your Rosary so that as ideas come you can write them down for future exploration. Having said that …

Think of five saints that you feel close to, that you can learn from, that were Christlike in ways that you wish you were. List them. Your list might be; #1, St. Francis. #2, The Little Flower. #3, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. #4, St. Jude. #5, Pope John Paul II. Now take your Rosary and when you pray the decades dedicate each one in turn to one of those saints. Think about what it is in their life that you would like to emulate. Think of the issue or trait or virtue and ask them to help you with it. Make this your own personal “Rosary of Saints”. And remember that the saints can change with your needs just like the daily situations in your life change.

Ok. You’re setting in Church and it’s still ten minutes before Mass. As Paul said, redeem the time. See Ephesians 5:16. Take your Rosary and do what the Eastern Orthodox monks do with their prayer beads. On each bead repeat the Jesus Prayer. “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Let the truth of those words gently work their way into your mind and heart. Or make up your own prayer. You can invent all you like. “Mother Mary, I love you.” “Jesus, thank you.” “Father, please bless and help Bob, or Sally, or whoever.” The possibilities are as many as your heart is wide. And He can always make it wider.

Make a list of five things you need in your life. Maybe something like: #1, better control of my temper. #2, forgiveness towards folks who’ve hurt me. #3, and etc. Or: #1, the virtue of fill-in-the-blank. #2, etc. Or: #1, the rent money. #2: groceries. #3, a reliable car to get to work. And so on.

The Rosary, like the carpenter’s square and many other things, is limited only by lack of thought. As children of God thoughts will come when we ask, when we’re ready. Help is on the way. Our Carpenter? Well, the building is in good hands.

Published in: on June 17, 2012 at 8:08 am  Comments Off on Our Carpenter’s Square, the Rosary  
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Part 14: The Fourth Glorious Mystery, the Assumption

Part 14 of a 15 part series on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

The fourth glorious mystery: The Assumption.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is assumed by God into Heaven. This is one of my favorite mysteries. I know that each mystery has many levels and that each has great depth. Enough to keep us joyfully employed in contemplation for all eternity. But I can’t seem to get past one simple thing here. I guess it’s what God knows I most need to see. When that changes I’ll let you know. But, simply, what I see is Jesus reaching down and Mary reaching up. That’s all. But its the reason behind the reach that fills me so that there is, currently, no room left for other considerations. Its simple. It’s a Son’s love for His Mother.

Prayer: Mother Mary, I love you.

Published in: on June 16, 2012 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Part 14: The Fourth Glorious Mystery, the Assumption  
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