On the Immortal Wounds of Christ and the Martyrs

St. Gregory Palamas ca. 1296-1359

Why did He have scars? It would be impossible for a mortal, suffering body to display marks of wounds and nails and to remain healthy and sound. On the other hand, an immortal body without suffering can show the scars and wounds it suffered to anyone at will, and nevertheless continue free from suffering and death.

This enables me to understand something else: that those who have suffered for Christ are adorned forever with their wounds. Windows in a house do not make it less safe and are not something ugly but a necessary decoration for a building, to let in light and allow those within to look out. In the same way, the body’s sufferings for Christ’s sake and the resultant wounds become for those who bear them windows to let in light without evening. And when that light shines forth they will be recognizable by the divine beauty and radiance of their wounds and not by their ugliness. Their scars will not be obliterated when suffering comes to an end, in so far as they procure immortality. (Homily 17, 18-19)