5 Reasons Christ Kept His Scars after the Resurrection (from St Bede)

I have my share of scars. I have nice one on my palm. I impaled it with a letteropener when I was child. I have a nice scar from when I slid down my fort’s fireman pole and a screw caught my stomach. We all have scars, physical and spiritual.

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In the resurrection of glory, the saints will be perfect and the scars will go away. However, you may be surprised to learn that the the martyrs will likely retain their scars and marks of glory in Heaven.

Saint Augustine wrote, “Perhaps in that kingdom we shall see on the bodies of the Martyrs the traces of the wounds which they bore for Christ’s name: because it will not be a deformity, but a dignity in them; and a certain kind of beauty will shine in them, in the body, though not of the body” (De Civ. Dei xxii).

Not only the martyrs, but Christ’s scars are certainly retained. This is a doctrine of our faith. Why, then, are they retained?

Saint Bede shows particular concern for the wounds of Christ. It seems the English were always devoted  the wounds of Christ since they often made vows by swearing on “s’wounds.”

Saint Bede (commenting on Luke 24) taught that Christ kept His scars for five reasons. Here the five reasons:

  1. First and chiefly for Christ’s own glory. Christ “wears [His scars] as an everlasting trophy of His victory.”
  2. Second, these scars confirm the hearts of the disciples in the faith in His Resurrection. The scars increase our faith.
  3. Third, Christ retained his scars so “that when He pleads for us with the Father, He may always show the manner of death He endured for us.” They have propitiatory signification in Heaven!
  4. Fourth, Christ kept His scars so “that He may convince those redeemed in His blood, how mercifully they have been helped, as He exposes before them the traces of the same death.” This reveals that He is the Divine Mercy of God!
  5. Fifth, Christ will appeal to His wounds so that during the Judgment Day “He may upbraid them with their just condemnation.” The holy wounds will silently sentence the damned to Hell.

This is a great little meditation for mental prayer. I highly recommend that you print out these “five reasons for the scars” and pray over them. For your further edification, Saint Thomas Aquinas covers these five reasons at Summa theologiae III, q. 54, a. 4.

Let’s open up the comments: In the conversion of Saint Thomas the Apostle, in Franciscan mysticism, and in the visions of Saint Faustina, the scars of Christ play a very important role. Do you have a devotion to the wounds of Christ? Are there any special litanies or devotions that you could share with us?

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