In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul teaches there is a reward to those who delve into the mystery of the Passion of Jesus Christ,
“For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith. For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength,” (1 Corinthians 1:21-25).
When a person contemplates the wounds of Christ suffered because of sin, there is no condemnation,
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him, (John 3:17).
Instead, there is Jesus, Divine Love and Mercy, who willingly chose to bear on his body and in his emotions the consequence of every sin. St. Peter writes,
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed, (1 Peter 2:24).
The Healing of the Wounds of Christ
The source of this healing is Eternal Love and goes beyond physical to transformational by the action of the Holy Spirit. In his book, The Sanctifier, Archbishop Luis M. Martinez explains, “The love of the creature, since it is a reflection of eternal love, is also a total and most sweet donation. The angels accomplish it in the peace and joy of their spiritual and immaculate nature. On earth, the supreme donation of love cannot be made except in pain and death. This might seem to be an imperfection; yet this wretchedness of ours is the occasion of exquisite happiness, singular glory.”
This “love of the creature” expressed as a “reflection of eternal love” has an intriguing connection to the mysterious image of the tortured and crucified man on the Shroud of Turin. Science has revealed the image acts as a photographic negative, meaning the image is reversed; a mirrored reflection of the man who was wrapped in it.
The Shroud of Turin: A Mirrored Reflection of Eternal
History and Science continues to question if the body of the man wrapped in the Shroud of Turin was Jesus – or – another suffering human, but for Christians there is already a spiritual answer to this question, and it is yes.
St. Paul writes,
As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy, (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 26.)
Every individual human suffering reflects an aspect of our Lord’s perfect and complete suffering. When we wrap our wounds around Christ’s we open ourselves to his healing. When we allow our Lord to wrap his wounds around ours, we are transformed in him. In the first we glorify Jesus. In the second, Jesus glorifies us.
Martinez writes, “Once his supreme sacrifice was accomplished, there is nothing more for Jesus to do but to perpetuate it. Jesus perpetuated His sacrifice in two ways on earth: in the Eucharist and in souls. […] As souls progress in the spiritual life, the love of sacrifice, the desire to suffer, and the appreciation of pain increase in them without their knowing how or why. This is because the Holy Spirit, while he more and more takes possession of souls, reveals to them his secrets, and removes little by little the veil that hides from human eyes the unutterable and divine revelation of the Cross. Man abandoned to himself, hates nothing so much as pain; when the fire of the Holy Spirit burns within a soul, there is nothing he loves so intensely.”
Suffering, Glory, and the Mystery of God
Why the Son of God chose to enter into our human suffering and how by doing so transformed suffering into a great good dwells within the Mystery of God, but through the Holy Spirit, we are not left out of its glory here and now. Over the centuries, many men and women devoted to the Passion of Jesus Christ have led the suffering Church increasing her glory through their sainthood. This glory is for each of us as well.
At Pilgrim Center of Hope, the museum exhibition, “Who is the Man of the Shroud?” provides the visitor opportunities to contemplate the wounds of Jesus through an encounter with the wounds suffered by the man mysteriously imaged on the Shroud of Turin. For further information, go to DiscoverWho.org.
Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, and motherhood, as a writer, Missionary of Hope, Prayer Intercessor, Speaker Team member, and Volunteer for Pilgrim Center of Hope.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.