Of The Five Wounds Of Our Blessed Saviour: The Right Hand

GRÜNEWALD, Matthias 
The Crucifixion (detail) 
c. 1515


Let us contemplate upon those sacred hands of our Saviour pierced with sharp nails, & fastened to the cross, and first let us perform our devotion to the right hand.

1. Consider those words of the prophet His brightness shall be as the light, horns in hands, or (as the Hebrew version hath) splendor in his hands there is his strength hid.  Behold this sacred wound, & admiring the splendor and beauty thereof, desire ever to remain under the protection of the same.

2. Ponder with thy self what an admirable light proceedeth now from this sacred hand.  If the martyrs of Christ shall have their bodies glorified, and chiefly in those parts in which they suffered; how glorious shall this right Hand of thy Saviour be, whose sufferings were of infinite merit, and consequently whose glory must be infinite? Imagine the light of a thousand suns united together, to be very darkness in comparison of that infinite splendor, shinning in this most glorious wound.

3. After thous hast considered the admirable beauty of this his glorious right hand as it is in heaven, cast thine eye upon it fastened unto the painful cross, there thou shalt see nothing but streams of blood, gushing out of that tormented hand of thy dolorous Saviour.  Here is no glory, no splendor, no light. Here is his strength hid, here this potent right hand createth no worlds, but is used as the most abject of creatures: here it judgeth none, but is judged to excessive torments: in fine no power is here showed, all lyeth covered under the veil of humanity, and here is his strength hid. Love and admire this act of infinite fortitude in thy Saviour, in so many injuries and torments, to hide his strength and to deliver that hand to be pierced, which was of power to destroy that world which is had created.

4. The enemy of mankind , and chief agent in the bitter passion of our Saviour, having his thereto used the Jews as instruments in this Tragedy, and having given them council to whip him most cruelly, crown him most bloodily, and load him with his heavy cross, and yet perceiving his invincible fortitude, willeth the at last to pierce his sacred hands, imagining there to lie hid his strength, as indeed it did, they being amongst the last wounds which he received living.  O my Saviuor and Redeemer, thou who heldest out in thy fervor of charity to suffer for me till thy last strength was exhausted, give me thy grace to desire fervently never to be overcome in suffering for thee.

5. Since we see it it the greatest strength to be weak for Christ, and the greatest victory to take most wounds for him, why stand we so much upon our guard fearful to spend our blood in his quarrel? Temerity is to be avoided, lest presuming upon our forces we fall, but when the combat is offered, then imitate thy Saviour in putting forth thy right hand, & submitting all thy forces, bind them fast unto the Cross, which is the standard in which thou art to overcome.

6. Lastly consider, that although outwardly the strength of this right Hand lay hid, yet how powerfully it wrought upon the Thief who hung under it, by drawing him unto it, and making so great  sinner, a great Saint: Dextera tua inveniat, ommes qui te oderunt, sayeth the prophet, O Saviour, let thy right hand find all those who hate thee; either by punishing them with thy Justice, or converting them by thy Mercy.  Here was also verified that of the Spouse: Manus meaedistillaverent myrrham, my hands have distilled myrrh that is, the sweet odor of penance & contrition which the happy Thief collected & gathered together, and offered up unto his dear Redeemer, in odorem suavitatis.

Apply (as thou hast done before) these six points unto thy six Decades, saying thy beads before each wound, begging of the dolorous Virgin Mary, whose soul was pierced with a sword of afflictions: to give thee some of her compassion, in beholding thy Saviour thy wounded for thy sins.

Written by J G of the Society of Jesus

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