The Jubilee of Mercy contemplating the five wounds of Christ

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The Cross of Jerusalem The Cross of Jerusalem, symbol of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, evokes the five wounds of Christ, source of inner purification and spiritual renewal for pilgrims who, like us, are on the path to the Kingdom of God.

The Jubilee of Mercy, which closes November 20, the feast of Christ the King, has already seen about 10 million pilgrims flock to Rome, despite the fact that this “decentralized” Holy Year can be fully experienced in every diocese in the world. During a recent Jubilee event the Pope spoke in particular of the five wounds of Christ and we would like to propose his words to our readers as they perfectly illustrate the message transmitted by the Order of the Holy Sepulchre insignia. “Lord, In memory of the five wounds that we carry on our insignia, we pray to You...,” reads the famous prayer of Knights and Dames.

We can find the definitive icon of the vessel of mercy in the wounds of the risen Lord. Those wounds remind us that the traces of our sins, forgiven by God, never completely heal or disappear; they remain as scars. Scars, we know, are sensitive; they do not hurt, yet they remind us of our old wounds. God’s mercy is in those scars, our scars,” Pope Francis summed up perfectly speaking to the priests, who came to the eternal city for the Jubilee in June, 2016.

“In the scars of the risen Christ, the marks of the wounds in his hands and feet but also in his pierced heart, we find the true meaning of sin and grace,” he continued, stating that in contemplating the wounded heart of the Lord, we see ourselves reflected in him, as in a mirror, “His heart, and our own, are similar: both are wounded and risen. But we know that his heart was pure love and was wounded because it willed to be so; our heart, on the other hand, was pure wound, which was healed because it allowed itself to be loved”.

Another example of the spiritual logic with which the Holy Father encourages us to move forward is the prayer he recites before going to bed, which he mentioned to pilgrims during the general audience on Wednesday, June 22, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean!” inspired by the Leper’s plea to Jesus (Luke 5, 12). The Pope added that every night he says five Our Fathers, “one for every one of Christ’s wounds, because Jesus cleanses us with his wounds”.

Could we too not pray invoking the mercy of the Heavenly Father through the five wounds of Christ, which in becoming scars, are a testament to his victorious love? In the words of Peter’s successor, may every member of the Order, called to witness to the power of the Resurrection, renew their awareness during this Holy Year that: “The real vessel of mercy, then, is the mercy which each of us received and which created in us a new heart. This is the “new wineskin” to which Jesus referred (cf. Luke 5:37), the “healed sore”.

(July 25, 2016)