Pictorial Lives of the Saints – Five Wounds of Our Lord

You that delight in decking your head with costly and superb adornments, who love to cumber your hands with gold and precious jewels, who revel in luxury and in soft garments, approach and see to what a condition Jesus Christ, your Captain and Saviour, is reduced. His head is crowned with thorns and streaming with blood, and every base indignity heaped thereon by ruffian executioners; His feet and hands are pierced by nails, His side gaping with a wide-open wound. Such are the mournful accents uttered by the Church on the first Friday of Lent, two days after she has strewed ashes on the heads of the faithful. “For you it is,” she exclaims, “that the Son of God, the Word made Flesh, has undergone these heart-rending affronts, with intent to expiate your evil-doings, and to teach you that the idol of your body, which you deck out with so much care and eager delight, deserves, on the contrary, naught but affliction and suffering. How can you, while wreathing yourselves with flowers, venture to tread in the footsteps of a Master who bears a thorny crown? And with what mind do you propose becoming the disciples of such a Master? That forehead, made lustrous with borrowed splendor, those limbs delicately clad and brilliantly adorned, will first become the food of the grave-worm, and afterward the prey of that fire that quencheth not, if you strive not to bend them down to that lowliness which is native to them, to the state of subjection for which they were created, and to the penitence they have merited by reason of sin.”

Reflection – May the contemplation of the wounds of Our Saviour engrave deepliy in our mind the maxim uttered by His own divine lips: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”