Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vulnera Christi: The wounds to the feet

With his feet pierced and fastened to the Cross, Our Lord has lost the physical support that has kept Him upright since He learned to walk at the hand of His mother, the Blessed Virgin. With His feet fixed in this position, the very act of breathing becomes intolerable.

It's a fact that we don't really notice in our daily lives. The position of our feet and legs affect our breathing. There are so many things in our lives that we do take for granted. That's not a sin in itself, nor is it necessarily a failing. It is a fact of our being that there are aspects of our lives that go unnoticed by our everyday experiences. How many times do we just get up and walk to the shops without really noticing the number of busy roads we have crossed?

We cannot possibly focus on God 24 hours a day. It is a sad fact of life. It is only when something cues us into the presence of God that we turn to look for Him. Our daily rules of prayer help us to remember where He is and keep us travelling on the road towards Him. What if we have no rule? How can we travel to God if we do not look for Him.

We often lose our direction in life but, if we do not look for that direction in God we can become rooted to the spot, unable to move. Habitual sin often puts us into a rut,a groove which makes it impossible to determine whether it is a slow spiral with a way out, or a circle which takes us inexorably back to the same hellish place. In the knowledge of the circularity of our habitual sin, we stop, stuck fast by the knowledge that we have got nowhere, that we will get nowhere, that we can get nowhere.

The feet of Our Lord were fixed, so that ours might be freed from the shackles of Sin and Death. It is through Christ's difficulty in breathing that we can take in the fresh air that gives us the confidence to get moving again. It is the cross of Christ that gives us the direction, the signpost out of our rut. Although we will traverse many a circular route, we do so with Christ until the day He lifts us out into true freedom.

The wounds on Christ's feet call us to the repentance from complacency. He calls us to do something, even if that route is circular, rather than give up and let life become stagnant and empty from God. We must keep walking and look to the cross of Christ as the signpost out of our rut. Through His pain do we truly find the way to the Father.

Look on his head, that bleeding head,
with crown of thorns surrounded:
look on his sacred hands and feet
which piercing nails have wounded;
see every limb with scourges rent:
on him, the just, the innocent,
what malice hath abounded!
Tr J.M Neale

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