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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Within your wounds hide me

By Deacon Paul Rooney

File:Fra Angelico 073.jpg
The Deposition  by Fra Angelico (photo credit: Wikipedia).

Everyone is familiar with the great contemplative prayer that we call the "Anima Christi" – "Soul of Christ." These are the opening words of a famous prayer from the 14th century; the author's name is uncertain (but the prayer is sometimes attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola since it is included in his Spiritual Exercises). Many of us pray this beautiful prayer immediately after receiving the body and blood of Christ at Mass every day.  Here is the prayer (taken from my copy of the Spiritual Exercises, Ganss translation): 

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Do not allow me to be separated from you.
From the malevolent enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me,
and bid me come to you,
that with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.

But what does it mean when we ask Jesus to hide us "within His wounds"?  Why do we make that request?  There is great food for hours and hours of meditation here, both on the words and on the painting above.  I thought I would share with you some of the fruit of my own meditation, on today's Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14, 2013.

First of all, I have set aside all of my previous thoughts on the meaning of this sentence. I used to think it meant,"Lord, save me from the Evil One; he doesn't want to look at your redeeming wounds, so hide me there and I will be safe from him."  Oh, was I poverty-stricken in my thoughts!  Then the Lord came to my rescue.<  When I told my wife Patricia that I had always wondered what St. Ignatius the attributed author really meant by this sentence, she suggested that I read a slim book called Anima Christi.  It was written by Mother Mary Francis, PCC – the Abbess of the Poor Clare monastery in Roswell, New Mexico. (The picture above is from the cover of that book.)  I love to read, meditate and reflect on contemplative literature, and I only have one word to describe this little gem of a book: Wow! That recommendation from my wife was a gift from the Holy Spirit!

Continue reading at Journey to Wisdom.

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