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The Forgotten and Greatest Wound of Christ’s Shoulder

Alexandra Clark | The Daily Knight

Shoulder Wound of Jesus Christ (uCatholic)

In our dear Savior’s passion, Jesus walked three long and treacherous miles from Pontius Pilate’s courtyard to His Crucifixion at Calvary. Imagine the great weight of the Cross that dug through His Shoulder ripping His Precious Flesh to the Bone. While there are no exact figures, it is estimated from studies that the Cross probably weighed about 220-300 pounds because it was solid wood. Imagine Jesus dragged this Cross in His weakened condition after the bloody scourging, His crowning with thorns that pierced His Skull and His lack of food and water!!!



It is believed that the first saint to venerate the Shoulder Wound of Christ was St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1153 A.D.). When contemplating the Passion of Christ and His Sacred Wounds, St. Bernard asked Jesus which was His most painful wound and Christ 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.”

What a great grace of mercy Christ’s gives to those that make reparation to His greatest Wound! Saint Bernard in response to this revelation composed this beautiful prayer:


PRAYER to the Wound of Christ’s Shoulder by St. Bernard


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.


Another saint who not only venerated the Shoulder Wound of Christ but suffered it in his body with his stigmata was St. Padre Pio. According to Frank Rega wrote a book about Saint Padre Pio wrote:


“At one time, Padra (sic) had confided to Brother Modestino Fucci, now the doorkeeper at Padre Pio’s friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, that his greatest pains occurred when he changed his undershirt. Brother Modestino, like Father Wojtyla, thought that Padre Pio was referring to pains from the chest wound. Then, on February 4, 1971, Brother Modestino was assigned the task of taking an inventory of all the items in the deceased Padre’s cell in the friary, and also his belongings in the archives. That day he discovered that one of Padre Pio’s undershirts bore a circle of bloodstains in the area of the right shoulder.


“On that very evening, Brother Modestino asked Padre Pio in prayer to enlighten him about the meaning of the bloodstained undershirt. He asked Padre to give him a sign if he truly bore Christ’s shoulder wound. Then he went to sleep, awakening at 1:00 a.m. with a terrible, excruciating pain in his shoulder, as if he had been sliced with a knife up to the shoulder bone. He felt that he would die from the pain if it continued, but it lasted only a short time. Then the room became filled with the aroma of a heavenly perfume of flowers–the sign of Padre Pio’s spiritual presence–and he heard a voice saying ‘This is what I had to suffer!”


The Shroud of Turin also proves the Holy Wound of the Shoulder of Christ and this research paper below by 3 Italians in 2017 presents news concerning the transportation of the whole cross on the shoulders and the falling mode of the Turin Shroud (TS) Man, on the ground that explains the detected traumas:


Bearing the cross

A life-size model of a cross has been built in accordance with the sizes reported in Section 2. It was built using cardboard, reinforced at the corners by plastic L-profiles; the result is shown in figure 3. As the first author is 169 cm tall and Jesus resulted [5], 175 ± 2 cm tall, he offered himself for the experiments.

Figure 3: On the left, high-contrast upper dorsal image of the TS. Areas n.1+2 and 3+4 respectively corresponds to the bruises caused by the cross brought on the right and left shoulder. On the center experiments while carrying a cardboard model of the cross in which it is shown that the patibulum touches areas n.1 and n.3 while stipes touches areas n.2 and n.4. On the right, experimental contact areas of the cross that correspond to the TS image.


The high-contrast TS dorsal body image seems to show four darker reddish areas in correspondence of the shoulders that could have been a heavy and harsh object rubbing on the Jesus skin. Figure 3 shows these areas that also present the scourge marks as more enlarged and less defined than in other zones of the body image; this is coherent with the chafe with relative high pressure on a previous wound.


In reference to the experiments regarding a convict carrying a cross, many positions have been studied; the most probable seems to be that reported in figure 3 where the insertion of one convict’s arm in one of the two triangles made by patibulum, stipes and crossbeam is visible. The cross therefore loaded one convict shoulder in two typical areas that can also be detected on the TS dorsal: image area n. 1 with n. 2 and n. 3 with n. 4. Probable dynamics regarding the facts of the cross’s transportation and falling can be reported as follows, see figure 4.

Figure 4: Simulated falling during cross transportation. From the left to the right, the convict carries his cross producing a pressure in areas n. 1 to 4 of Figure 3; during a fall the patibulum strikes the ground making the convict shoulder to slide forward to the connection between patibulum and transversal rod; the right arm entangled in the cross is dislocated by it.


It can be supposed that Jesus had first used his right shoulder to bring the cross. The abrasions in question are consistent with injuries caused by carrying the cross on the shoulders. The contact areas of the cross on the shoulder have been experimentally verified in the same figure 3.


The authors suppose that during a falling a shock could have been produced on the right end of the patibulum against the ground, perhaps a stone; the right shoulder and arm fast slipped from the conjunction of the patibulum with the stipes to the angle formed by the patibulum and the crossbeam of the cross and it was therefore blocked in the corner, inert. During the Jesus’s falling, his right arm remained entangled in the triangle of the cross and after a rebound of it the right arm was therefore raised over its limit. The relatively high mass of the cross therefore dragged the humerus forward and downward and produced the right shoulder dislocation.

In the authors’ hypothesis, the patibulum with all his mass swooped to the left of the body, violently beating on the base of the neck, posteriorly, thus strongly traumatizing muscles and nerves of shoulder and neck, and tearing the cervical nerve roots. The pain was extreme and Jesus completely lost the function of his right limb. When the soldiers raised the cross to compel Him to proceed to the crucifixion place, they also wildly pulled down his arm causing a complete underglenoidal dislocation, as it is reported in [8].


As the right humerus was dislocated, Jesus was not able to carry the cross using this arm and probably the Roman soldiers forced him to use the left arm. This would explain the presence of areas n. 3 and n. 4 on TS.

To sustain this thesis we seem to see that area n.1 and area n. 4 are better defined in TS images, making to think to a higher pressure acting on them. Area n.1 being better defined than area n.2 implies a more straight posture while area n.4 better defined than area n. 3 implies a more curved posture due to the increasing difficulty to proceed for the TS Man. For the right humerus dislocation, at a certain time the Roman soldiers were forced to command another man (Simon from Cyrene, (Luke: 23,26, Marc: 15,21) to carry his cross.


Taken from: Bevilacqua M, Fanti G, D’Arienzo M (2017) New Light on the Sufferings and the Burial of the Turin Shroud Man. Open J Trauma

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