The "Contemplate My Wounds" pamphlet explains the power of saying the Chaplet while meditating on Christ's sorrowful Passion. Five decades of meditation are included.
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Photo: Felix Carroll
Jesus Before My Eyes
By Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC (Apr 3, 2007)
This is the most solemn week of the year as we meditate more deeply on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We acknowledge Him and bring Him due honor as we reflect on the depth of His sufferings and the causes that led to His willingness to atone for sin. It is Jesus who invites us to reflect on His Passion: "There is more merit to one hour of meditation on My sorrowful Passion than there is to a whole year of flagellation that draws blood" (Diary, 369).
In our last meditation we referred to the first decade of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and pondered the crown of thorns. We now continue to dwell on the wounds of Jesus by praying the Chaplet and honoring the other sacrifices He made for us.
The Second Decade of the Chaplet
During the second decade, we reflect on the wound that pierced His right hand. We venerate the wound that He endured. In faith, we accept the awesome truth that out of His love for us, Jesus made reparation for the actual sins committed by the right hand.
Examples of this include those who have struck out at others in rage, stolen things, or violated the sacred personhood of another. Jesus atoned for these actions. He was willing to take upon Himself the punishment due to these sins.
Similarly, Our Lord experienced great physical anguish on account of those who, for whatever reason, violated our trust, sinned against us, broke promises they made and rejected our love or friendship. He was willing to suffer for those who abused us verbally or physically as a result of their anger. For many, these events are not easily relinquished or forgiven. Countless individuals carry these memories for years and some others for a lifetime. Multitudes die unwilling to forgive those who offended them. Our Lord atoned for all these actions and for the lack of forgiveness as well. Therefore, in gratitude we pray: Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
The Third Decade of the Chaplet
On the third decade, we reflect on the wound in Jesus' left hand. He was willing to accept that wound in atonement to His Father for the violations committed with this hand. This action of Jesus represents His willingness to take upon Himself all the punishment due to our indifference toward sin.
The left hand also serves as a metaphor for being insensitive to the needs of others who now may have to forgive us. Our indifference to the beggar or the plight of another person also needs atonement. Our sins of omission or insensitive mistreatment of others cry out to heaven for justice. In addition Jesus endured the suffering due to the sins of indifference against those who were abandoned, either in the womb or through someone's unwillingness to care for them. He suffered the grief of those not cared for due to ingratitude, lack of proper upbringing, and a lack of compassion toward the poor and marginalized.
There is no trivializing the physical anguish He endured due to a callous attitude toward sin. It was painfully real. The nails did penetrate His hands and feet, blood did flow, and His agony continued unabated. After the Resurrection, He even made all the apostles aware of the wounds in His hands and side. He specifically invited Thomas to experience them for himself. (See John 20:27.) That same invitation is ours to accept so that we may become more sensitive and deepen our understanding of their significance every time we pray the chaplet. In gratitude for what Jesus endured we pray: Eternal Father, ...etc.
The Fourth Decade of the Chaplet
On the fourth decade, we venerate the wounds in Our Lord's feet. We adore Jesus by becoming ever more grateful that He accepted the penetrating nails in atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world.
He took upon Himself the punishment of those whose sin consisted in walking away from the Church, the Sacraments, and the teachings of the Faith. Many walk away from the influence of the word of God, which was intended to teach us the right path upon which to walk.
Others have had a negative influence on their families through many generations and have caused the departure of other persons from our faith. The accumulation of all these influences has resulted in so many losing their souls for all eternity.
Countless have willfully walked away due to pride and subjective determination over their own lives. Many have walked away from their marriage vows and their commitment to their families, especially their children. Who will have to answer for this indifference? Who will answer for the confusion caused by those who pronounced sacred vows and who have similarly walked away from their commitments?
Because of all these violations against the overwhelming love of God the Father, Jesus atoned for them all. When we unite ourselves to Our Lord in praying for these souls, we pray with great confidence since Our Lord said, "The prayer most pleasing to Me is prayer for the conversion of sinners" (Diary, 1397). In gratitude we pray: Eternal Father, ...etc.
The Fifth Decade of the Chaplet
Centuries after our Merciful Savior made His incomparable sacrifice on the cross, He seeks to deepen our understanding of what He personally suffered. He asks us, through St. Faustina, to pray the chaplet as our atonement for the sins of the whole world (Diary, 848).
Our Lord revealed to Saint Faustina, through the painting of the Divine Mercy image, just how much it meant for Him to shed the last of His Blood and Water, which flowed from His open side. We again adore, venerate, and honor this awesome reminder of the unyielding compassion with which Jesus was willing to sacrifice Himself for us. He endured the shame of the cross, and, as if to add insult to injury, He was abandoned by those to whom He gave so much of Himself while on earth.
Some people experience similar abandonment through a divorce and must live with the unresolved consequences of this action — even though they had prayed many years for a blessed marriage. Some suffer the loss of a spouse through death, and now the void seems intolerable. Some endure a terminal illness, even though many prayers and sacrifices were offered with no apparent healing. Some live alone or in an institution. Many have maintained their integrity in every respect, but have failed in their attempts to overcome a problem or achieve a specific goal and purpose in life.
When Our Lord seemingly expressed His dismay and said, "Father, why have You forsaken Me?" (Mk 15:34), could He not be conveying to those who experience a similar hopeless situation, "Do not despair. I know what you are experiencing. I know what it was like. But do not stay with only that one thought. Instead, look to Me. See how I yielded Myself to the Father. Now, you do likewise and pray, 'Into Your hands I submit my spirit' " (Lk 23:46). Submission to His will is the quickest road to holiness.
The last words of Jesus can bring power, healing, and resolution to these kinds of situations, just as it did in His life. The secret to our ultimate healing and union with Jesus is in surrendering as He did. To the degree we yield to God, to that degree we are in union with Him. (See Diary, 462.) As we surrender and internally die to our own will, He can then live and accomplish great things through us.
In focusing upon the five wounds of Our Lord and what He accomplished for us, we come to the inevitable conclusion that, in faith, we can choose to trust Him because of all He has done to merit our confidence. We join our prayers with a multitude of others and in gratitude we pray: Eternal Father, ...etc.
As we come to the end of this Lenten season, what stands out in my mind in regard to Jesus' suffering is that He gave Himself completely for the salvation of mankind. He showed mercy to the very end by asking His Father to forgive all that put Him on the cross. In His death, Jesus provides an example for all persons who lack affirmation in their own lives and may have to surrender to the demands of time and place.
Good Friday is good because, by observing Jesus and what He is still trying to teach us by His wounds, we learn more of His mercy and learn how very much we are loved individually.
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in You.
Brother Leonard Konopka, MIC, is on the staff of the Marian Seminary in Washington, D.C. He also provides spiritual direction, retreats, and seminars.
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