Monday, September 11, 2006

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

"O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" is perhaps one of the best-known and often-sung Holy Week hymns. It was written by Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, whose life and ministry the church commemorates on Aug. 20.

The hymn is about Jesus' passion, the pain and suffering Christ endured for our salvation. It is a vivid picture of Christ's self-sacrificing love for us. But it is also a personal lament for our sinfulness and as well as solemn thanksgiving for Christ's willingness to die on the cross.

We may see Jesus' passion as weakness and defeat, causing us to turn away from him. But it is hardly that, since it reveals his steadfast love and faithfulness for us. Consequently, Jesus' passion can strengthen and console us throughout our lives - especially when death draws near, because it cradles us in God's love and renews our faith in God's goodness and grace.

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