In the prerequisite article, Theology of the Crucified Body, the Dislocated Shoulder, and the Broken Legs, we showed great profundities that are present in the crucified Body of Jesus, regardless of whether Our Heavenly Father intended them or not.
This article will attempt to argue another powerful dimension of the theology of crucifixion that is perfectly appropriate, and that is the notion that the five major wounds of Jesus image the States, or Way, of holiness and maturity both for the individual saint and the People of God historically.
Let us begin.
Firstly, it has been argued that the Jews walked the way of the saint, the way of inner renewal and maturity—these three's of the way, the purgative, the illuminative, and the unitive—in their historical phases before Christ, and that the Church will as well after Christ. This inner renewal is what must be realized by the Jews to convert, to realize that inner renewal is what ultimately matters, not external realities. This was profoundly argued here: The Resurrection Mystery: a Symbol of the Conversion of the Jews?
Here is a refresher:
The Conversion of the Jews: How?
Why, then, will the Jews convert at the end? Let us explore it deeper. Here, a totally common sense suggestion is in order.
In brief, the Prefiguring Covenant uses material pictures of what really matters, inner renewal, to point to their fulfillment; one primary reason for this is that humanity in infancy is still very much attached to the material order and so needs images before abstractions, much like the child who must learn through illustrations before they graduate to written word without visual aid.
And yet, we see that these "pictures" in this Prefiguring Covenant are not salvific of their own sense; they only point to what is salvific. Examples: the literal Holy Land of Israel is not an end unto itself; it only pointsto the true land of fulfillment, the spiritualKingdom of God, the Church and, ultimately, heaven. The literal lamb of sacrifice for Passover is not a true, intrinsic atonement. Only God Himself, taking on flesh and suffering in it, the spiritualLamb of God, is the true atonement. God heals the People from literalserpent bites in the desert, but in the New Covenant, he heals the People of God from the spiritual serpent's bite, sin!
And so, we anticipate in any material world, when God Incarnates Himself to the Prefiguring People, and unfolds these new mysteries, it is insulting and wounding to the Prefiguring People."You mean that you only gave us pictures? We are only a seed People, as prelude to men of allnations? And all this time, you have told us of your Unicity as One God, and now you tell us there is a Family of Persons in Your One nature to exist? And that One Divine Personhas become God? You have told us you are only One, and that no man can become God! Blasphemy, we cannot take it!"
Hence, the Prefiguring People remain attached to the pictures and reject the fulfillment. Therefore, they fail to see what the pictures pointed to: from physical blessings, to spiritual renewal. In the end, even if you are in a physical land of milk and honey, only the spiritual ecstasy of heaven, the eternal milk and honey that flows from God Himself, can satiate your desire.
In the end, it is not that a particular physical animal is unclean; it is rather that you must not partake of the what is spirituallyunclean, immorality. In the end, no mere animal, which can neither suffer insult nor spiritual pain that you cause Me, can atone for what is infinitely offensive to priceless human dignity, and immeasurable love! Hence, only I, your Maker, can make up for your sin.
And so, again, it is the inner renewal of grace, of inner purity, that makes a man pleasing to God, not external realities.
And yet!!! The People of Prefiguring still walked by grace, hence, they didhistorically journey in holiness, in grace, the spiritual path of the saint. Hence, within their very history, the seed of the mystery exists. And this spiritual historical path has three phases! And where have we seen three? Are not three’s all over the Gospels?! Jesus fills up these three’sso many times in His Life, Death and Resurrection!
Jesus fulfilled in His Flesh their entire journey: threes! For three days and three nights, Jesus lingered in the earth before rising. On the third day He arose from the dead, in accordance with the Scriptures. Christ fell three times in the way of the cross. Christ progressively prayed three times in the Garden to accept the Will of His Father for the Passion. Three times Peter denied Christ, and three times He was reconciled (“Peter do you love me?”) Three times, Jesus spoke to Mary Magdelene at the tomb to open her eyes. For three days and three nights, Mother Mary and St. Joseph looked for the Christ before finding Him in the Temple.
Yet, seeing so many of their details and journey fulfilled in Christ’s Flesh, the Jews werenot able to see it. So then, what other options are there for the Jews to see the mystery of their spiritual journey? How about none other than the mystical Body of Christ, the Church!
Yes! The People of New, of Incarnate One, the People of Jesus, walk this spiritual path, too! They fill up in their flesh what is lacking in the suffering of Christ! For the sufferings and life of Jesus in His individual Body could not attain the opening of the eyes of the Jews, but the mystical Body of Christ will!
And hence, the farther the People of Incarnate One, of New, journey in this path, historically, the more the Prefiguring People recognize a sign of the their own spiritual stages before Jesus. And, then, reaching the apex in New Testament martyrdom of New Testament Antichrist, fulfilling Old Testament Antichrist Antiochus, they see the ultimate deja vu, and accept the Gospel!
So we that the Jews, in order to fully believe, have to see the apocalyptic way of renewal that they went through historically filled up in the Church—fulfilled by the ages of the Church. We saw this happening in the same article above with the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus, but in a positive light. There, the act of Jesus unfolding to the men on how Moses, the Law, and Prophets all pointed to Him and were fulfilled in Him was an image of the Church walking alongside the Jews and showing them how the Church was filling up in Her flesh all that the Jews had endured spiritually. Finally at the apex, as Jesus separates His Body and Blood in the breaking of bread, their eyes are opened, just as when the Church empties her Body and Blood out upon the altar of ultimate martyrdom under New Testament Antichrist, so the Jews shall see the supreme and final fulfillment of their final Old Testament history, the epic martyrdom under Old Testament Antichrist Antiochus of the Maccabees.
Profoundly, St. Thomas images the same reality perfectly. He will “not believe” until he has placed his hands into every last wound of His Risen Savior.
For St. Thomas to place his fingers and hands into the wounds symbolizes that his—the Jews’--phases fill up the Church ages in such a manner that the Church fulfills them herself. Put another way, the Jews must experience the risen wounds by seeing the whole ages of their history filling up, spiritually, the Risen wounds of the Church. When they finally do, they shall exclaim, with St. Thomas, “My Lord and My God.”
“Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
This astounding theology can then make complete sense if a correlation to the ages of the Church (and the Jews!) can be made with the wounds.
Now, there are three ways, yes, but five wounds, so, so far, no go. But behold, as we see that the Church has three greater ages, according to the way of the saint: the purgative, the illuminative, and the unitive, note that our model of history is like the days of creation, in that the ages alternate between darkness and light. That is, first a great age of sin arises, and then God redeems the sin by a great redemption, or light. Then another age of sin arises, and God redeems that with light and so forth, on and on. This analogy is not random but based on Tradition that the days of creation symbolize the ages per some ECFs: “Evening came and morning followed, the first day. Evening came and morning followed, the second day, and so forth.”
In light of this, the three ages of the saint we just mentioned actually splinter into five lesser parts when we break down their ways into the parts that are either light or darkness. It turns out that the process is more or less simple: each way has two lesser parts, a light followed by a darkness, EXCEPT the purgative way, which only has darkness, the dark night of the senses.
1. Darkness: Purgative Way of Darkness, Dark Night of Senses
2. Light: lluminative Way of Light
3. Darkness: Illuminative Way of Darkness, Dark Night of Soul
4. Light: Unitive Way of Light
5. Darkness: Unitive Way of Darkness, Martyrdom
Here are the ways historically:
The Three Greater Ages of the Way:
The Purgative Way:
Darkness: Dark Night of the Senses, Persecution by glory-seeking pagan power: Egypt / Pagan Rome
The Illuminative Way:
Light: The Exodus and Prophets / The Development of Church Doctrine
Darkness: Dark night of soul: Pre-Exile wickedness and apostasy from Old Law / intermediate apostasy from New Law [present time, the Minor Apostasy]
Light: Repentance in Exile, Return to Holy Land, Rebuilding of Temple / Restoration of Christian Unity and Catholic Christendom, Age of Peace
Darkness: Martyrdom: Maccabees, OT Antichrist Antiochus / Great Apostasy, NT Antichrist, Great Persecution and Tribulation
So now, we have that the ages of the Church are five. THAT IS FIVE WOUNDS! The FIVE WOUNDS of Jesus can now image the five lesser phases of the three ways! Bingo. Now, how about we consider deeper implications.
Firstly, we see that the hands are raised high, whereas the feet are toward the ground. This leaves us with the connotation of above and below. Where have we seen these realities. The answer is, the apocalypse! How? Well, the Christ, beginning in Chapter 12, starts out reigning from above, not below, as in “and the Child was caught up to God and His Throne, destined to rule the nations with an iron rod.” Later, toward the conclusion of the apocalypse, in Chapters 19-20, His reign comes to dwell on earth in a mystical portrayal of His “Coming” (note, here, the Second Coming is not intended, and so later comments will be necessary). Finally, the reign of Christ becomes conclusive with the Last Judgment.
It is pertinent to note here that these “reigns” [above / earth] can be metaphorical of DEGREES that the Lord’s grace and truth takes hold of man on earth in his heart and mind. This, would mean at least two great ages of Christ’s reign are present in history. The first, “from above” does not negate that Christ reigns through His Church, nor does it negate that Jesus Christ is “present on earth in the Eucharist.” Rather, “from above” means that the degree of Christ’s grace and truth as settled in men’s minds and hearts is quite limited, and, quite frankly, filled with distress. It is a time, yes, of some efficacy of the Gospel in the world, but also of division, tension, and so forth. This would explain why, to the just, Christ seems “distant” from much of the hearts of men.
The reign on “earth” then can image a time when Jesus’ truth and grace DOES come to rest on earth, in most of men’s hearts and minds—a veritable “fullness of the Gentiles”, manifested in a near universal civilization of love, as in, precisely, Our Lady’s Coming Era of Peace, the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.
Toward that end, and returning to the wounds of Christ crucified, the sense, of a reign “from up above”, followed by a reign “upon the earth,” strongly suggests that Jesus’ unfathomable suffering from His sacred hands up above and His sacred feet down below—as if, if it were possible, His constant horror of pain to push himself up by his excruciating feet wounds and, at the same time, to pull himself up by the self-same horror in His hand wounds—might image the reign from “up above.” Similarly, the contrast of His body resting on the feet below could image his reign “on earth.”
This opens up the correlation between the wounds and the ages:
The Reign from Above
Left Hand: Dark Night of Senses, Pagan Rome
Right Hand: Illuminative Way of Light: Church Doctrinal Development, Divisions, Strife, Resistance
The Reign on Earth
Right Foot: Dark Night of Soul: the Modern Minor Apostasy
Left Foot: Unitive Way of Light: Our Lady’s Age of Peace
Here, note that the left foot wound is the last wound before death occurs. Hence, in a certain sense, we can argue that the feet bring about death. But what happens when Jesus dies? When Jesus dies, SIN AND INIQUITY ARE PUT TO DEATH forever, nailed to the cross. How does this relate to the reign on earth? Simple! In the age of peace, sin and iniquity are put to death for a great time, as men learn to love one another in truth for an entire era. So it fits well!
A final wound exists, the wound in the side:
The Final Scourge to God: the Great Apostasy
Wound to the Side: Unitive Way of Darkness: Martyrdom, Great Apostasy and Antichrist
This is profound. Even after the age of peace, with all that God will have done for humanity—putting to death sin and wickedness in man for a great age, giving them the best of both worlds, faith and science reconciled, and with the preceding lesson of a chastisement, the horrors that come upon the world when it leaves God completely—the world will still scourge God a final time in a practically unforgivable spit in the face, the Great Apostasy. This, effectively, becomes the wound from the side. Profoundly, we have just seen that in this final ordeal, the Jews’ eyes are opened, “Rabboni!”, and “My Lord and My God!”, and, the supreme Biblical ejaculation, “And they shall look upon Him Whom they have pierced!”
To conclude, the Jews must first place their finger into the left hand of Jesus and feel their Egypt fulfilled by Pagan Rome. Then, they must place another finger in the right hand of Jesus and feel their prophets and desolations filled up in the doctrinal development of the Church, with its countless desolations of an an attacking and unbelieving world. Then, the Jews must place a finger into the left foot, and feel their pre-exile apostasy filled up in the modern minor secular apostasy, the dark night of the soul for the Church. Then, they must place yet another finger into the right foot and see their restoration to God, the Holy Land, and the Temple filled up in the Church’s renewal of the Gentiles, return to the spiritual land of the Church, and the rebuilding Catholic Christendom. Finally, they must place their hand into the side of Christ and see the ultimate deja vu, the darkness of their Maccabean apostasy and OT Antichrist filled up in the Church’s martyrdom of the Great Apostasy and New Testament Antichrist.
And at that, the Jews will exclaim, with St. Thomas, who likewise probed all the wounds, “My Lord and My God!”