Friday, March 29, 2013

Vulnera Christi: The wound to the side

Ave verum corpus, natum
de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine,
cuius latus perforatum
fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.
O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae.
Miserere mei. Amen.

Hail True Body, born
of the Virgin Mary,
Who suffered indeed, sacrificed
upon the cross for men,
Whose side was pierced
whence flowed water and blood:
be for us the foretaste
in life's agony.
O sweet Jesu, O holy Jesu, O Jesu son of Mary
have mercy on me. Amen.

Our Lord is dead!

The Earth groans and shudders. The Heavens sigh. The disciples cower afraid and ashamed. The sky darkens. The Holy of Holies is compromised as the curtain is rent.

And on the central cross of three lies a dead body. To the left and to the right, the thieves utter their last cries as the authorities break their legs to end their agony. But the figure on the central cross is dead already.

To check, a soldier pierces the corpse's side to allow streams of blood and water to pour forth. Yes, the figure is dead. We can be certain of that.

Our Lord's final wound happens after His death because even then, even after He has cried out and breathed His last, people do not trust Him and want to be sure that He has gone, allowing them to be free from His undermining of their position and authority. This man who exposed hypocrisy without any violence or hatred or malice, who would rather heal, would rather eat and talk and listen and do things to help - extraordinary things - this man they wanted out of the way so that they could feel good about themselves and live lives without Him raining on their self-righteous parade.

And they still do.

This figure is still hated today. His teachings are questioned; His deeds are questioned; His resurrection is questioned; even His existence is questioned. All because if what He says is true, then things will have to change in so many lives and in so many ways and there are some whose authority will be utterly wiped away so that they can be loved for who they are. They can't stand that!

Our Lord's pierced side calls us to repent of our lack of trust in Him. If He so loved the world that He came to do this, then there must be something for us to believe in. Let us wait in this dark hour with our dead Lord and trust Him when He speaks of Resurrection on the third day!

No comments: