One of the rich aspects of our faith is the great number of devotions available for Christians to exercise their gift of piety. I was surprised to find this prayer to Our Lord’s Shoulder:
O Loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God, I a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy Flesh and laid bare Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other Wound of Thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Thy Cross. Amen.
The origin of this prayer is Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who, in a moment of contemplative ecstasy, asked Jesus what was His greatest unrecorded suffering. Jesus told St. Bernard of Clairvaux that it was His shoulder which bore the heaviness of the Cross.
Unbelievers can chalk it up as pious fantasy. That’s fine. A devotion is simply that: a devotion, not a matter of dogma. Nevertheless, it fascinates me! And to read in this article by Pat Archibold that two other pieces of evidence confirm this wound makes this devotion that much more interesting. According to a biography written by Stefano Campanella, a young priest by the name of Karol Wojtyla (the future St. John Paul II) had visited Padre Pio and asked him about his stigmata. Padre Pio confided in the future Pope that it was a wound on his shoulder that was the most painful. The other evidence was reported in the Vatican Insider. In a new study, scientists confirm that the “Man of the Shroud”…
underwent an under glenoidal dislocation of the humerus on the right side and lowering of the shoulder, and has a flattened hand and enophthalmos; conditions that have not been described before, despite several studies on the subject. These injuries indicate that the Man suffered a violent blunt trauma to the neck, chest and shoulder from behind, causing neuromuscular damage and lesions of the entire brachial plexus.
Wow. Whether one regards this information as true is a matter of faith. I for one, think this is fruitful for meditation and contemplation.