The Catholic Defender: Jesus suffered greatly wounding His (Right) Shoulder carrying His Cross
November 10, 2019
Have you ever contemplated what Jesus suffered the most as He went through His Passion to the Cross. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a French Abbott prayed asking Our Lord that very question. Jesus responded:
“I had on My Shoulder while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grievous Wound that was more painful than the others, and which is not recorded by men. Honor this Wound with thy devotion, and I will grant thee whatsoever thou dost ask through its virtue and merit. And in regard to all those who shall venerate this Wound, I will remit to them all their venial sins and will no longer remember their mortal sins.”
A couple of thoughts I have on this, what a grace it would be to have Jesus respond to you in such a way. Jesus has shared revelation to His Saints going back to the very beginning. That is amazing! This response from Jesus is not only for St. Bernard, but for all of us who have recourse to Jesus and His suffering.
While at Fort Campbell KY, I was playing first base for my unit's softball team when a ball was hit towards our third baseman who threw the ball to me way off the bag. I had to dive for the ball when the runner ran into me hitting my shoulder. It was a spectacle as all anyone saw was the dust cloud that covered myself and the runner. The runner was like nearly 300 pounds hitting my Right shoulder with his right shin. Everything went colorless as I began to go into a form of shock, I suffered a third degree separation which took a while to heal.
Jesus can certainly understand my suffering as he suffered greater than anyone could imagine. I was taken off the field and taken to the emergency room, Jesus continued on towards Calvary.
St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina also had a great devotion to the suffering of Christ. He suffered the stigmata for more than 50 years. St. Padre Pio responded to Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope St. John Paul II when he asked what wounds caused the most pain. St. Padre Pio responded:
“It is my shoulder wound, which no one knows about and has never been cured or treated.”
In 2008, 40 years after Padre Pio’s death, author Frank Rega wrote about Padre Pio:
At one time Padra had confided to Brother Modestino Fucci, now the doorkeeper at Padre Pio’s friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, that his greatest pains occurred when he changed his undershirt. Brother Modestino, like Father Wojtyla, thought that Padre Pio was referring to pains from the chest wound. Then, on February 4, 1971, Brother Modestino was assigned the task of taking an inventory of all the items in the deceased Padre’s cell in the friary, and also his belongings in the archives. That day he discovered that one of Padre Pio’s undershirts bore a circle of bloodstains in the area of the right shoulder.
On that very evening, Brother Modestino asked Padre Pio in prayer to enlighten him about the meaning of the bloodstained undershirt. He asked Padre to give him a sign if he truly bore Christ’s shoulder wound. Then he went to sleep, awakening at 1 a.m. with a terrible, excruciating pain in his shoulder, as if he had been sliced with a knife up to the shoulder bone. He felt that he would die from the pain if it continued, but it lasted only a short time. Then the room became filled with the aroma of a heavenly perfume of flowers — the sign of Padre Pio’s spiritual presence — and he heard a voice saying, “This is what I had to suffer!”
St. Bernard of Clairvaux was moved to compose this prayer wanting to honor the Lord's shoulder wound and the pain Jesus endured:
Prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Christ
Most loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God, I, a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross which so tore Thy flesh and laid bare Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee, and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain, and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Thy Cross. Amen.