Thursday, August 20, 2009

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Early on in my reversion days, I began a sort of prayer journal. I found a beautiful journal with a velvety golden cover and shafts of wheat embossed on it. I started collecting all and every prayer I could get my hands on.
One of the first prayers I found was the prayer by the man whose feast day we celebrate today, St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The prayer is called Prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Christ. It is said that St. Bernard asked our Lord what was his greatest unrecorded suffering, this is what our Lord replied:

"I had on My Shoulder, while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grievous Wound, which was more painful than the others and which is not recorded by men. Honor this Wound with thy devotion and I will grant thee whatsoever thou dost ask through Its virtue and merit. And in regard to all those who shall venerate this Wound, I will remit to them all their venial sins and will no longer remember their mortal sins."
Here is the prayer:


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.
Imprimatur: Thomas D. Beven, Bishop of Springfield, Ma.

I think one of the things that drew me to this prayer was the fact that it was not one you see or hear often, but more importantly it drew me to meditate on an aspect of our Lord's Passion to which we do not give much attention. The wound inflicted on His shoulder by the weight of that cross was in truth inflicted by my sin and the sins of the world! His shoulders bore all that for me! The promise our Lord makes to those who honor this wound is another example of His infinite Divine Mercy.
St Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us!
You can read a biography of this great saint and Doctor of the Church here.

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2 comments:

Anne said...

Karinann, this is wonderful! I knew about this prayer, but I didn't know where it came from. That's something I especially love about the blogs, every day I learn something new! Thanks!

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

That *is* an unusual prayer.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.