Meditation On The Passion SVNERAZANEI
DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
All which things are not without their mysteries. For first these three languages only were set upon the Cross, which were most usual at the time, and so continue until this day: the Hebrew for the Jews, the Greek for the East Church. and the Latin for the West. For seeing that all Learning is written in these tongues, the Scriptures in Hebrew, Philosophy & Rhetoric in Greek and Latin; Christ taught us hereby, that there is neither any divine knowledge, nor human learning and eloquence of any force, except it be sanctified by the blood of Christ, and referred to the glory of him crucified. And therefore the holy Church set these languages only in her divine service, as the most common, and those that are consecrated with the blood of our Lord.
Secondly, the title was engraved, because it should last forever; and in wood, because by the wood he shall always reign over them, whose the wood had overthrown.
Thirdly, the Hebrew was first in order, which the rest do imitate: For our salvation is from the Jews, to whose divine Scriptures all human is to be directed.
Fourthly, they are written from the left hand to the right, to signify that if thou desirest to be exalted by wisdom with Christ, thou must humble thy self, and not be proud in thy own conceit. For Knowledge puffeth up, & wisdom without Christ is earthly, carnal, and diabolical.
Fifthly, the Greek is before the Latin: for first the Grecians, and then the Latins were converted to the faith, and leaving the manners and customers of their fore-fathers, followed that doctrine, which God gave to the Jews in the Hebrew language: that thou shouldest not rely upon thine own wisdom, but follow then with thy whole heart, whom tho knows to be the servants of God. Pray our Lord to engrave this title in thy heart.
Fr. Francois Coster S.J.