The insignia of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre – consisting of a large Greek cross surrounded by four small crosses – symbolically represent the five wounds of Christ, which are like “the Doors of Heaven”. This emblem is not a decoration, but a mission, the spiritual sense of which is clarified by the teachings of Pope Francis.
Since his election, six years ago, the Holy Father has constantly urged us to touch the wounds of Christ, in the same way as the Apostle Thomas after the resurrection, to welcome the mercy they radiate as a source of peace. “Perhaps together we can touch those wounds, confess that Jesus is risen, and proclaim him our Lord and our God. Perhaps together we can recognize our failings and immerse ourselves in his wounds of love. And in this way, we can discover the joy of forgiveness and enjoy a foretaste of the day when, with God’s help, we can celebrate the Paschal mystery at one altar”, the Pope underlined in an ecumenical perspective last May in Sofia, before the Orthodox Patriarch Neophyte.
“A saint used to say that Jesus’ crucified body is like a bundle of mercy, which reaches each of us through his wounds,” he had explained a few days before, in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, during the Sunday of Divine Mercy. “All of us need mercy, as we know. Let us draw near to Jesus and touch his wounds in our suffering brothers and sisters. Jesus’ wounds are a treasure: mercy issues from them. Let us be courageous and touch Jesus’ wounds. With these wounds he stands before the Father; he reveals them to the Father, as if to say: ‘Father, this is the price; these wounds are what I paid for my brothers and sisters’. With his wounds, Jesus intercedes before the Father. He gives us mercy if we draw near, and he intercedes for us. Do not forget Jesus’ wounds.” (Regina Coeli, April 28, 2019).
Each member of the Order is therefore called to let the symbols of the insignia sewn onto their cloak enter their heart and to spread the veneration of the Holy Wounds of Christ, source of forgiveness and mercy. They purify and heal. If we embrace and understand them, they can truly change our lives.