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A Short Account of the Rosary of the Five Wounds of Jesus Christ

Source: THE SCHOOL OF JESUS CRUCIFIED, Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, TAN BOOKS
with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1895


BLESSED Angela of Foligno being one day engaged in fervent prayer, and earnestly beseeching her Lord to make known to her what she could do that would be eminently acceptable to Him, Jesus Christ appeared to her, and informed her that nothing could be more acceptable in His sight than the devout contemplation of His sacred Wounds. (See her Life). Let then these adorable Wounds be the objects of your devout contemplation, the subjects of your thoughts, and the daily matter of your meditations. And in order that your method of adoring, venerating, and meditating upon these blessed Wounds may be at once easy and clearly defined, I here propose that you should make use of the short and pious devotion commonly called The Rosary of the Five Wounds. Among all the pious practices which have arisen in the Church for the purpose of adoring and venerating the Wounds of Jesus, we may say that the Rosary of the Five Wounds, if recited in dispositions conformable to the spirit of its institution, is a devotion the most pleasing to Jesus, the most advantageous to the faithful, and authorized in the most especial manner by the Popes, who have attached many indulgences to its recital. Hence it is that persons remarkable for their learning and piety have ever been most zealous for the promotion of this devotion, by making known its importance, showing its utility, and perpetuating its practice.

It was instituted at Rome, according to Bartoli, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and was diffused and propagated in many countries by the Fathers of the Society of Jesus, at the earnest request of Father Vincent Caraffa, the seventh General of the same Society, with great benefit to souls, and a great increase of glory to the Wounds of Our Saviour. Several Popes sanctioned it, and enriched it with many privileges and special favors. This Rosary consisted then, as now, of five stations, at each of which were recited five Paters [Our Fathers] in honor of the five Wounds of Our Saviour, and one Ave [Hail Mary] in honor of the Dolors of Mary. In order to facilitate so useful a practice, and make it general among the faithful, Father Paul Aloysius of the Blessed Virgin, the sixth General of the Passionists, a zealous apostolic missionary, perceiving that many of the less fervent among Christians were deterred from making use of it by its great length, requested Pope Leo XII to decree that it should for the future consist of only twenty-five Glorias [Glory be to the Father. ..] (five being recited at each station), together with one Ave in honor of the Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to which the Venerable Supreme Pontiff graciously consented, confirming at the same time all the indulgences which had been previously granted by Pius VII, of holy memory, to the Rosary when it consisted of twenty-five Paters, by the decree published December 20, 1823.

Web Master Note:

The version in the Christ Directory is shorter and does not consist of Hail Marys. etc. Non-contemplatives who have the duties of family life can be assured that any form is wholly acceptable to Jesus; it is not the length of our prayers, but the depth, that is, the motives of love and repentance that spring from our hearts that matter most.

There is scarcely a town in Italy where this devotion is not practiced by the faithful, mainly through the efforts of the Passionist Fathers, who always promoted, and still continue to promote it, to the utmost of their power, according to the spirit of their Institute. In many parts of France also this short but devout practice in honor of the Wounds of Jesus has become a common devotion; and the fact that many zealous priests of that kingdom have faculties for blessing the Rosary, facilitates its spread. [Since the Passionist Fathers have come into the United Kingdom this devotion has become very common among the faithful (1927). It is to be hoped that it will become still more widely spread now that it is one of the duties of the members of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Cross and Passion, lately established in all the churches of the Passionists.]

So easy and advantageous a method of honoring the Holy Wounds of Jesus being within your reach, your want of devotion would indeed be most inexcusable if you neglected to make use of it, and daily to offer so slight a tribute of veneration and adoration to these same most Precious Wounds. Adopt, therefore, this devout practice, and while repeating the Rosary, bestow five loving glances upon the adorable Wounds of your Redeemer, reflect on the sufferings endured by Him in His pierced hands and feet, and thank Him for all the love He has borne you.

A Method of Devoutly Reciting the Rosary of the Five Wounds of Jesus

Begin by humbly reciting the usual prayer, "Incline unto my aid, O God. O Lord make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, etc." on your knees before a Crucifix, to beg Our Lord to assist you. Then, if agreeable and convenient, say the following:
Prayer Before a Crucifix

O EVER good and sweetest Jesus, behold I here fall down upon my knees before Thee, and with all the powers of my soul do beg and beseech Thee to inspire my heart with lively feelings of faith, hope and charity, with a true repentance for my sins, with a will resolved to amend, and with a heart full of affection and sorrow, while I consider within myself, and contemplate in mind, Thy five most Precious Wounds; fixing my eyes upon those words long since uttered by the lips of the prophet David, They have pierced my hands and feet; they have numbered all my bones. Amen.

Note that whoever, after having confessed and communicated, shall repeat the above prayer to Our Crucified Lord before a Crucifix, praying at the same time for the necessities of the Church, etc., may gain a Plenary Indulgence, applicable to the Souls in Purgatory. By grant of Clement VIII, Benedict XIV, and finally, of Pius VII, in 1807.

[These grants of indulgences, as well as those on the following pages (at least the partial indulgences specifying durations of time), would seem to have been abolished by the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI, "The Doctrine of Indulgences," January 1, 1967, as given in the Enchiridion of Indulgences (1968)---although the Passionist Order may have obtained the privilege of retaining the plenary indulgences specified here. The Enchiridion specifies the indulgences for the Prayer before a Crucifix as follows: A plenary indulgence is granted on each Friday of Lent and Passiontide to the faithful who after Communion piously recite the above prayer before an image of Christ crucified; on other days of the year the indulgence is partial. (No. 22). ---Publisher, 2002.]
In the first station [decade of the Rosary], you must meditate upon the sufferings endured by Jesus from the Wound of His Left Foot, and implore the remission of your sins.

In the second station, meditate upon the sufferings of Jesus from the Wound of His Right Foot, and ask for the graces of final perseverance and of a holy death.

In the third station, meditate upon the sufferings of Jesus from the Wound of His Left Hand, and beseech Him to save you from Hell.

In the fourth station, meditate upon the sufferings of Jesus from the Wound in His Right Hand, and ask Him to bestow upon you the joys of Heaven.
In the fifth and last station, you must, while contemplating the most sacred Wound in His Side, meditate upon the immense love borne by the blessed Heart of Jesus, and ask for grace to love God.

At each station recite five Glorias, in memory and honor of the five most holy Wounds of your Redeemer, and one Ave in honor of the sorrowing heart of the Blessed Virgin.
Blessed Hermann, a Dominican friar, was accustomed to address five Our Fathers to the Wounds of Jesus; and then five Hail Marys to the Blessed Virgin, that she might in his name salute the Wounds of her Divine Son in the same manner as she adored them on the Cross and adores them in their glorified state in Heaven. He thus supplied for all deficiencies in the reverence and honor he paid to the adorable Wounds of his Redeemer. When, therefore, you render homage to the Wounds of Christ by saying the Rosary here described, beseech Mary to render it in your name, and then you may feel sure that Jesus will be well pleased with the homage offered to Him. You may have this intention, as well as that of honoring the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin, in reciting the Hail Mary attached to each station of the Rosary. If you are desirous of moving the Divine Mercy to grant you, through the Wounds of your Redeemer, the five important favors you ask, you must endeavor to recite this Rosary with the utmost fervor, and in a true spirit of devotion and recollection. Heavenly favors will be bestowed upon you in proportion to your dispositions in these respects. Such, in fact, was the signification of a vision with which St. Frances of Rome was once favored. She beheld Heaven, and in the center of it Our Lord, whose five Wounds were radiant with light. This light was shed forth upon all men, in mysterious diversity to each. For some received light from one Wound only, others from the rays of two, others from three, others, again, from four, and a very few from all five; because few there are who venerate these holy Wounds with all the dispositions required. (See her Life). Let me exhort you to be of the number of these few.

Indulgences granted by the Sovereign Pontiffs [Ibid., the note in brackets above.] Leo XII and Pius IX to those who recite the Beads of the Sacred Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ

1. An Indulgence of one year, which may be gained once a day.
2. A Plenary Indulgence for those who recite ten times in the month. This Indulgence may be gained by approaching the Sacraments, and praying according to the intention of his Holiness the Pope on the following days: One of the Fridays of the month of March, whichever may be chosen; on the Feasts of the Nativity, Circumcision and Epiphany, the most Holy Name of Jesus, the Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord, Corpus Christi, the Transfiguration, the Feasts of the Finding and Exaltation of the Holy Cross, or any day within their octaves.
Whoever shall recite it from Passion Sunday to Holy Saturday inclusively may gain a Plenary Indulgence on the day in which they fulfill their Easter duty; on the other days, viz., from Passion Sunday to Holy Saturday inclusively, they will gain for the recital each day an indulgence of seven years and as many quarantines [periods of 40 days]. All these indulgences may be applied to the Souls in Purgatory.  [Ibid., note in brackets above regarding indulgences.]

NB.---In order to gain the above indulgences, the chaplet or beads must be blessed by the General of the Congregation of the Passionists, or by some other priest authorized by him, as all the priests of the Congregation of the Passion are. [Ibid.]

[If you join the Confraternity of the Passionists as a lay member, both Partial and Plenary Indulgences are applicable. ---The Web master]

Acts of Adoration Addressed to Each of the Five Most Holy Wounds of Jesus Crucified,
and Which May Be Made Use of in the Rosary

1. I humbly adore Thee, O most holy Wound of the Left Foot of my Lord, and implore Thee, my Crucified Jesus, through the pain Thou didst endure in it, and through the Blood which Thou didst shed from it, to grant me the remission of my most grievous offenses, and preserve me from ever again committing them, giving me strength to resist every temptation, even unto death. And I beseech thee, most Blessed Virgin, through the anguish which thy soul endured on account of this Wound, to intercede for me, that my prayer may be heard.

2. I most humbly adore Thee, O Holy Wound of the Right Foot of my Redeemer, and I beseech Thee, my Crucified Jesus, to grant me the precious gift of perseverance in Thy grace to the last moment of my life, and that of a holy death. And thou, O Mary, my sweet Mother, who didst suffer in thy soul what thy beloved Son endured in His Body, be my Advocate, and obtain this great favor for me.

3. I humbly adore Thee, O most Sacred Wound of the Left Hand of my Saviour, and with a heart filled with tender gratitude for the sufferings Thou didst endure, I beseech Thee, my Crucified Jesus, to deliver me in Thy mercy from the eternal punishment of Hell. And thou, most sorrowful Virgin, who didst endure overwhelming anguish with so great constancy at the foot of the Cross, vouchsafe to ask of thy Son for me the grace not to be condemned to the abode of everlasting torments.
4. I most humbly adore Thee, O Blessed Wound of the Right Hand of my Lord, and with my whole heart do beg of Thee my Crucified Jesus, by the Blood Thou didst shed from it, to grant that on the great day of General Judgment I may find myself in the number of the elect, on Thy right I hand, and hear myself summoned by Thine Own sweet invitation, to enter into the joys of Heaven. And thou, O Mary, my loving Mother, never cease assisting me by thy powerful intercession, that so I may be made worthy to come and behold thee in Heaven, and in union with thee to praise and bless my God continually.

5. I adore Thee with my whole soul, most sweet Wound of the Sacred Side of my Redeemer, and I beseech Thee, my Crucified Jesus, through its merits, and those of all the Blood shed by it, that Thou wouldst enkindle in my heart the most ardent love for Thy infinite goodness. And thou, O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of fair love, and Advocate of sinners, through that anguish which thou 1 didst endure when the Side of thy beloved Son was wounded, obtain for me the gift of that love, and imprint in my soul the memory of His Wounds, and of thy bitter anguish.
A Prayer Which St. Francis Xavier Was Accustomed to Recite

My LORD Jesus Christ, through those most Holy Wounds which Thou didst endure on the Cross for love of us, I beseech Thee succor Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.

A Short Prayer to Mary The Queen of Sorrows

MOST afflicted Mother of grace and mercy, by that great love which induced thee to assist with unshaken firmness at the foot of the Cross, at the last agony of thy beloved Son, and by all the sufferings there endured by thy virginal heart, I beseech thee to assist me with thy especial patronage at the hour of my death, that so, through thy assistance, I may die the death of the just, and come happily to enjoy in Heaven the fruit of the Wounds of Jesus my Redeemer.

Here say seven Hail Marys in memory of the Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin, adding after each Hail Mary the little verse:

Sancta Mater istud agas,
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo valide.

Holy Mother, pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew,
Of my Saviour crucified.

Pius VII, by his Brief of December 1, 1816, has granted to all the faithful who, with a contrite heart, recite the seven Hail Marys with the verse above named, three hundred days' Indulgence, to be gained once a day, and to all who shall recite them daily for a month, a Plenary Indulgence. [Ibid.]