Sunday, April 19, 2015

Formation - The Supreme Affirmation of Our Worth: The Wounds

“Every single person is worth all the blood of Christ.” (Christ is Passing By #81)

“Bring here thy finger and see my hands…” (Jn. 20, 27).

Caravaggio - The Incredulity of Saint Thomas.jpg

The Mercy of Forgiving Thomas and Leading His Hand Into the Wound

St. Josemaria Escriva: “How truly lovable is the Sacred Humanity of our God! – You ‘entered’ into the most holy Wound of your Lord’s right hand, and you asked me: ‘If one of Christ ‘s Wounds cleanses, heals, soothes, strengthens and kindles and enraptures, what will the five not do, open on the wood?’” (The Way #555).

                “This point refers to a mystical episode in the life of St. Josemaria, which he made anonymous in this text as was his custom. …We have the precise documentation. It happened in Burgos on 6 June 1938. He was going to the Monastery of Las Huelgas, where he was researching for his doctoral thesis. He was walking slowly, in the morning, praying. This is what he noted telegraphically that night:
                ‘Monday, 6 June: My morning prayer on my way to Huelgas guided by St. Joseph, with the light of the Holy Spirit, I entered into the Wound of the right hand of my Lord.’”
This supernatural event left him beset the whole day. When he wrote up his Notebook that nigh t, he was still in the Wound of Christ:

‘Dear Juanito: This morning, on my way to las Huelgas, where I went to do my prayer, I discovered a new world: the Most Holy Wound of our Lord’s right hand. I was there all day long, kissing and adoring. How truly lovable is the Sacred Humanity of our God! Pray that he give me that real love of his and with it completely purify all my other affections. It’s not enough to say, ‘Heart on the cross!’ Because if one of Christ’s wounds cleans, heals, soothes, strengthens, enkindles, and enraptures, what will the five not do, open on the wood? Heart on the cross! O my Jesus, what more could I ask for! I realize that if I continue contemplating in this way (St. Joseph, my father and lord, iis the one who led me there, after I asked him to enkindle me), I’ll end up chalao, crazier than ever. Try it yourself! […]

Much love. From the Wound of the right hand, your Father blesses you.

The tradition of Christian piety, follow ing the great Saints, has always ‘looked’ lovingly at the wounds of Christ and has ‘entered’ into them. The bibliography on this subject is enormous. As so many Christian faithful have done throughout the centuries, St. Josemaria recited each day after Mass, the prayer En Ego: ‘As I reflect on your five wounds and dwell upon them with deep compassion and grief’ he asked Jesus: ‘in your wounds shelter me.’ The Author’s insistence that it was the Wound of the right hand is impressive. In this regard I copy a text of St. Teresa of Avila:
                ‘Appearing to me as on former occasions, He began by showing me the wound in His left hand, and  then , with the other hand drew out a large nail which was embedded in it, in such a way that in drawing out the nail He seemed to me to be tearing the flesh. It was clear how very painful this must be and I was sorely grieved by it.’[1]

The union and identification of St. Josemaria with Christ in the mystery of the Cross leads him to this amazing expression: ‘Heart on the Cross! Oh my Jesus, what more could I ask for ?’ To lose himself with Christ on the Cross was, for him the greatest happiness. To understand this text, it seems necessary to study it in parallel with The Way 163[2], written in the Honduran Legation, and which has the same expression ‘Heart on the Cross!’ These words and their spiritual context were obviously known to Juan Jimenez Vargas, who also had been a refugee in the Honduran Legation with St. Josemaria.  There he would have meditated on them. In the letter of June 6, there is an implicit dialogue with Jimenez Vargas regarding the same point , with a strong ‘ascetical’ message  that could be considered as going ‘against- the-grain’ of the passions. But now, the Author has lived a renewed experience of the sweetness of the Cross: to have the heart on the Cross is not to ‘Crucify him,’ but to enter in to the joy of Christ. It is like saying to Jimenez Vargas, the young medical lieutenant who will read the letter on the Teruel front, that this ‘Hea r t on the Cross!’ ?#163 in the whole Cross of Christ, is the summit of ‘mysticism,’ the total joy in Christ” ‘My Jesus,  what else could I wish!’ It is the pure gif t of God. The purification of the heart, to which he aspire d in # 163, is not pure consequence
The practice of entering in to the wounds of Christ had a long history for Josemaria Escriva. The consideration that leads to #288 comes from January 1934. And from July of that year stems his desire to fulfill the ‘old’ resolution of entering each day ‘into the Wound of the Side of my Lord.’ The contemplation of the Wounds of Jesus occupied an important role in the life of prayer within the pathway towards sanctity which the Author taught.”[3]

After receiving mercy imaged in the wounds of Christ, pace the vacilating faith of the apostles, Christ continees to choose them and sends them forth. That is, "having had mercy, he chooses to send them forth in his even greater mercy: Miserandi atque Eligendi: The Vocation of Matthew, and of each one of us:

The Calling of Saint Matthew-Caravaggo (1599-1600).jpg

No comments: