Lenten Meditation: The Holy Shroud of Our Lord


Authors Introduction: That is the third of a collection of meditations based mostly on the Lenten Votive Lots of the Ardour of Jesus which were prayed all through the historical past of the Church in numerous usages. Some have their origin in early medieval instances and have been utilized in numerous locations in Europe and specifically non secular orders. Some might be discovered within the 1955 and 1962 editions of the Missale Romanum. Some parallel prayers might be discovered within the present English version of the Roman Missal in addition to the Missal of the Holy Land. These meditations are given to supply us an previous but new solution to enter into the Ardour of Jesus and the salvation He affords us that’s rooted in scripture, custom, and historical past of the Church. Could praying with and reflecting on them enable you to develop in Divine Intimacy with Our Lord Jesus and His saving graces this Lenten season and everytime you enter into prayer.

This was given as a meditation throughout a Lenten Forty Hours Devotion on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Saint Mary’s Church, Washingtonville, New York.

The scripture readings and textual content of the prayers of this mass might be discovered here. 

Opening Accumulate: O God, Who has left us the traces of Thy ardour with the holy Shroud whereby Thy most Sacred physique, taken down from the cross, was wrapped by Joseph, mercifully grant that by Thy dying and burial we could also be dropped at the glory of thy resurrection.

When one goes as much as the Chapel of Golgotha within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, one sees a really fascinating Greek Orthodox altar to the far left of the altar that marks the spot the place Our Lord Jesus was crucified. At this altar, one can see a Greek icon of the Nativity at its high. It depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and the angels in humble adoration of the infant Jesus, wrapped in swaddling garments, resting within the manger with the sunshine of the star of Bethlehem glistening down upon his face and physique. 

Beneath this icon, on the very heart of this altar, we see one other icon depicting Our Lord Jesus crucified, useless, and his damaged physique taken down from the cross. He’s held within the Blessed Virgin Mary’s arms for the final time, wrapped in his burial shroud by Joseph of Arimathea, Saint John the Beloved, and the opposite remaining disciples. Mary holds her son, and Saint John kisses his Rabbi, Lord, and Grasp’s crucified hand as they put together to position his physique within the tomb (Gospel of the Mass – Mark 15:42-56). Jesus, in His humanity, comes into the world within the joyous, peaceable, hidden gentle of a star. He who’s the one true God, Mild of the World, Messiah, Son of God, and Son of Man enters this world as a humble small child boy humble and lovingly obedient to the Father’s will.  Now within the darkness of his ardour, he leaves this world simply as he entered it, humble, obedient to the Father’s will to the tip. In each moments, he’s regarded upon with love by his Mom. Our Woman retains the mysteries of salvation unfolding round her each in pleasure and in sorrow with the utmost reverence, pondering them in her coronary heart at the same time as she is pierced with a sword of agony. At this motion, the prophecy that Isaiah as soon as mentioned of the Struggling Servant is now fulfilled: “Who’s he that comes from Edom, in crimsoned clothes, from Bozrah? Who is that this, wonderful in his attire, striding within the greatness of his power? “It’s I, I who announce vindication, mighty to avoid wasting.” Why is your attire pink, and your clothes like one who treads the winepress? The wine press I’ve trodden alone, and from the peoples nobody was with me. I trod them in my anger, and trampled them down in my wrath; Their blood spurted on my clothes, all my attire I stained. For a day of vindication was in my coronary heart; my 12 months for redeeming had come. (Lesson of the Mass – Isaiah 63:1-4)

Jesus, who was betrayed by Judas, who was unjustly put to dying by our sinfulness, by that very same dying conquers sin, dying, and Devil by means of love. He, whose burial material is seen by the eyes of the world as an indication of dying and defeat, now transforms this identical material stained along with his personal sweat and blood right into a royal banner of victory.

The Mild of the World, the King of kings, now enclosed within the darkness of dying and the tomb nonetheless shines forth the sunshine of redemption for all who settle for it by his humble give up to the Father’s will as his physique lays wrapped in his burial material within the tomb. The trustful give up and humble obedience of Jesus to the desire of the Father is how he defeats evil, sin, dying, and wins our salvation. The burial material of Jesus would come into the custody of the Cathedral of Turin, Italy, and later change into a relic of the fervour that will obtain vital veneration all through the Christian world.

Related to this facet altar depicting the wrapping of the new child child Jesus in swaddling garments on the manger in Bethlehem in addition to his wrapping in his burial shroud on the foot of the cross is a huge stone slab discovered on the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. That is the place Jesus’ physique lay prostrate after his dying and removing from the cross and earlier than it was positioned within the tomb. It was additionally the place the place his physique was held for the final time on earth by His mom Mary whereas the opposite disciples wrapped it within the burial shroud. The posture of prostration is finished by deacons, clergymen, and bishops on the day of their ordination in addition to by non secular women and men on the day of solemn occupation of vows. Prostration can be a posture of the guts that husbands and wives embrace with their “I do’s,” of their change of vows after they enter the Sacrament of Matrimony collectively. Jesus prostrated himself in prayer in his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane at the start of his passion. He once more repeats this motion on the shut of His ardour by his dying in loving obedience to the Father’s will on the time of his burial.

The gesture of bodily prostration implies a complete give up and letting go in a means that doesn’t subjugate and repress. It represents a loving, free reward of self, an providing of 1’s whole life, will, and experiences to God. This bodily dimension of prostration is symbolic of a motion of the guts that each one the baptized owe unto God out of justice and love. The act of prostration speaks to the truth that my whole particular person is made and outlined by the love and worship of the Holy Trinity, the one true God. It additionally represents that in a lifetime of religion and even in my dying, I belong fully to God and that I by no means reside purely for myself. Love and worship is unified within the gesture of prostration and so they indicate a selected order rooted in reality and obedience. Obedience to reality doesn’t shackle me and reduce my freedom however moderately allows me to obtain extra from God by his grace than I can by my very own energy and talent.

Jesus echoes these inside inclinations of worship of the Father by means of the Spirit and the give up of all he has to him within the depths of his Sacred Coronary heart simply earlier than he dies on the cross. He echoes this disposition in his remaining phrases, “Father into your palms, I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46), which he’ll echo in his physique by its prostration on the burial slab in his dying and burial. Saint John of the Cross speaks of the identical  prostration within the prayer of religion with the give up of all that we’re to God:

Individuals have to be emptied of all such issues, insofar as they will, in order that nonetheless many supernatural experiences they could obtain, they are going to frequently reside as if denuded of them and in darkness. Just like the blind, they need to lean on darkish religion, settle for it for information and lightweight, and relaxation upon not one of the issues of what they perceive, expertise, really feel, and picture. All these perceptions are darkness that may lead them astray. Religion lies past all this understanding, style, feeling, and imagining. If they don’t blind themselves in these items and abide in whole darkness, they won’t attain what is larger: the educating of religion. (Ascent of Mount Carmel 2.4.2).

This fashion of denuding and give up that John speaks about is that stripping of our hearts to obtain the whole indwelling of the love of God. It mirrors the entire self-gift that Jesus started when he was a toddler in swaddling garments within the manger in Bethlehem. It is usually mirrored in his remaining reward of self along with his dying on the cross, wrapping in burial material and the putting of his physique within the tomb. This grace of give up and its disposition of vulnerability is what strips us of our former sinful self and allows us to understand, love, and reside within the new lifetime of the Resurrection. This self-surrender is harking back to the younger youngster studying from his mother and father, studying tips on how to transcend his personal impulses and impositions to lastly discover ways to stroll rightly. The soon-to-be-saint Charles de Foucald additionally speaks of the truth of self-surrender in prayer, its character of worship, and the disposition of freedom that God provides us by means of it by his well-known Prayer of Abandonment:


I abandon myself into your palms;

do with me what you’ll.

No matter you might do, I thanks:

I’m prepared for all, I settle for all.

Let solely your might be performed in me,

and in all of your creatures –

I want not more than this, O Lord.

Into your palms I commend my soul:

I provide it to you with all of the love of my coronary heart,

for I like you, Lord, and so want to present myself,

to give up myself into your palms with out reserve,

and with boundless confidence,

for you’re my Father.

Somebody who represents that whole give up to the Father is a younger Chinese language lady who witnessed the ransacking of her parish church by the Chinese language Communist Military in 1948. They seized her parish priest and positioned him underneath home arrest. In addition they ransacked the church, charging on the tabernacle and spilling a ciborium full of Our Lord within the Eucharist everywhere in the flooring. This lady journeyed at evening to her parish church for over a month whereas it was nonetheless occupied by the Chinese language Communist Military. She would sneak in underneath the duvet of darkness, lie prostrate on the ground and devour every of the consecrated hosts on the ground, licking them up along with her tongue. She did this out of a way of reverence and love in direction of the true presence of Jesus within the Eucharist. Her parish priest noticed this lady enter the Church each evening and devour the Eucharist solid on the bottom in entrance of the altar. Each time he noticed her from his rectory window, he would pray for her safety. Lastly, the younger lady entered the Church for the final time to devour the ultimate consecrated host on the bottom. As she acquired down on her knees to fall prostrate to lastly devour the final consecrated host, she by chance knocked over an object, attracting the eye of the communist guards. Her parish priest watched in horror as this younger lady died a martyr’s dying being bludgeoned to dying by rifle butts. On this act of give up and worship earlier than our Eucharistic Lord, this younger Chinese language lady who died as a martyr entered into the fulness of that thriller which Jesus within the Eucharist extends to us each time we obtain him – the everlasting lifetime of Heaven. This story later grew to become the motivation for Archbishop Fulton Sheen to make a holy hour each day of his priestly life for the sake of the salvation of the church and the world. 

To develop in prayer means to cooperate with grace in such a means that I let go of my disordered attachments, ego, woundedness, and satisfaction. I do that after I fall prostrate interiorly in trustful give up to God the Father as Jesus did after he died on the cross and was wrapped in his burial shroud along with his physique flat on the ground. On this posture of give up to grace, I’m then full of the Divine Lifetime of Heaven that overcomes all sin, evil, and dying. I then endure a type of dying or stripping of my coronary heart however on this posture, I then change into like Jesus, the grain of wheat that falls to the bottom and dies to bear the fruit of Divine union (Cf. Jn 12:24). Even within the darkness of this dying, like within the Icon of the wrapping of Jesus within the Shroud, I’m positioned within the palms of Our Woman and God the Father who each maintain me and place me in that relaxation that provides new life and everlasting life. So we pray that by means of the Holy Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ that we might be taught to entrust and prostrate ourselves earlier than the Father even within the face of dying. Could we be held by Him in our brokenness and vulnerability and so lifted up by Him into the brand new lifetime of the Resurrection that pierces the darkness of dying and the tomb. 

Opening Accumulate: O God, Who has left us the traces of Thy ardour with the holy Shroud whereby Thy most Sacred physique, taken down from the cross, was wrapped by Joseph, mercifully grant that by Thy dying and burial we could also be dropped at the glory of thy resurrection.

Picture of the Shroud of Turin, public area, Wikimedia Commons.

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