The cross our Lord carried was indeed quite heavy — heavy enough that he fell several times under its weight, as we prayerfully observe when making the Stations of the Cross.
While this prayer is often said publicly during Lent, it can be prayed anytime during the year, and makes a great meditation on our Lord’s Passion!
SAINT BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, the French Abbott and mystic, who helped renew the Cistercian Order in the 12th century, related in the historical records of Clairvaux, a conversation he’d had with our Lord. He prayed, asking Jesus which was his greatest unrecorded suffering; and the Lord answered him:
“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. 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.”
After receiving the message from Christ regarding the pain he experienced in his shoulder, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, sought to foster devotion to the Shoulder Wound of Christ, and penned this prayer:
Most 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