Which of Christ’s wounds caused him the most pain?

  • Not the holes on his hands and feet, through which spikes had been driven to hold his tortured body on the cross.
  • Not the shredded flesh on his back, where the soldiers’ whips had cut deep into muscles and tendons.
  • Not the chest wound through which the centurion had thrust his spear, causing blood and water to gush out.

According to French mystic Bernard of Clairvaux, it was a different wound on Christ’s shoulder that hurt him the most. It was the shoulder which bore the weight of the rough-hewn wooden cross as he trudged through the streets of Jerusalem, heading toward the hill where he would die. St. Bernard wrote, in the annals of Clairvaux, that Christ had told him during prayer:

“I had on My Shoulder while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grievous Wound that was more painful than the others, and which is not recorded by men.”

And then there was the saintly mystic known as Padre Pio, who bore the stigmata–wounds which matched those of the crucified Christ. Padre Pio once told Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope St. John Paul II, about the wound which caused him the most pain. Fr. Wojtyla might have expected the monk to say that his bleeding hands were the worst.

But no–Padre Pio, the stigmatist whose bleeding sores mirrored the wounds of Christ, said,

“It is my shoulder wound, which no one knows about and has never been cured or treated.”

Over at Aleteia, I told the story of these two great men of God, and about the prayer to the Shoulder Wound which was penned by St. Bernard. Read the rest of the story here.