Tuesday, April 16, 2019


Thomas à Kempis, in the Imitation of Christ, speaks of resting in Christ's wounds.  "If you can not soar up as high as Christ sitting on his throne, behold him hanging on his cross. Rest in Christ's Passion and live willingly in his holy wounds. You will gain marvelous strength and comfort in adversities You will not care that men despise you. . . Had we but, with Thomas, put our fingers into the print of his nails and thrust our hands into his side! If we had we but known ourselves his sufferings in a deep and serious consideration and tasted the astonishing greatness of his love, the joys and miseries of the life would soon become indifferent to us."

Theologically, the wounds were the channels through which Christ's blood was spilled.  This "precious blood" sealed for Christians a new covenant to replace the old covenant of Moses.  Whereas once a sacrificial lamb was offered to God in atonement for sins, now divine blood from the only victim pure enough to atone for all of humanity's transgressions was offered.  Thus, Christ's death was a perfect sacrifice that destroyed the power of sin, and therefore death, over humanity. 

The blood is linked with the Eucharistic blood received at Mass and the water with the cleansing of original sin at baptism (the two sacraments necessary to achieve eternal life).  Thus, the Church, just as Eve issued from the side of Adam, is considered to be mystically born of Christ's wounds via the sacraments.  The blood of Christ's sacrifice will wash and therefore purify and redeem the Church.

“A suggestive word was made use of by the Evangelist, in not saying pierced, or wounded His side, or anything else, but opened; that thereby, in a sense, the gate of life might be thrown open, from whence have flowed forth the sacraments of the Church, without which there is no entrance to the life which is the true life. That blood was shed for the remission of sins; that water it is that makes up the health-giving cup, and supplies at once the laver of baptism and water for drinking.”  (St. Augustine, Tractates om John 120.2 ca.
406 A.D.)

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