Of The Five Wounds Of Our Blessed Saviour: The Right Foot
MASTER M S
The Crucifixion (detail)
Behold thy loving Saviour most willingly putting forth his sacred right Foot to be nailed to the cross, for the love he bare unto thee, being most constant in his sufferings for thee, loving thee thus ardently to the very end; and desiring of thee no other recompense, then love for love, and constancy and perseverance in thy love; not to fly from him for difficulties, for to fly he followed thee, leaving the ninety nine to wit, those glorious troops which adored him in heaven, & coming down here upon earth, labored to seek thee, desiring to gain thee, though it were through miseries, reproaches, and death itself, which constant love of his, fastened him to this Cross, and pierced his sacred hands, heart, and feet.
1. let thy first consideration fix itself as the former, in conceiving the excessive pain thy dear Redeemer endured in the piercing of his sacred right foot, which consisted of so many joints; in the midst of which a gross nail was rudely driven, putting all those tender parts out of their places, and with great violence tearing, and breaking all that made any resistance unto that cruel invasion; no torment could be greater then this, and yet thy dolorous Jesus endureth it as if he felt it not, love overcoming grief, the greatness and firmness of his resolution; surmounting all afflictions that could be imposed upon him.
2. Consider with thy self the nature of the affections of this world. The world loveth as long as any interest remaineth, when that ceaseth; having always for it object those cold words (as St. Bernard tearmeth them) Meum & Tuum, Mine and Thine. The affection of our Saviour towards man was most entire & pure, not capable indeed of any Meum or Tuum, or private interest, since he bestowed incomparabby more upon man by making himself man, then man could possibly render unto him, if he should have strived to have shewed himself most grateful, which Christ knew many, and most men would not do; out of which consideration admire the constancy of his love which held out to the end, having no other motive to make him love then that he was absolutely resolved to love.
3. Contemplate the powerful operation of the glorious sufferings inflicted upon the feet of thy Saviour, which redoubled their forces after they were pierced, and by their wounds received strength; if before his Passion they were of force to convert all those who came near them, to penetrate the happy Magdalene's heart who stood behind them, and to draw tears from that rock; what would they have done now, when streams of blood, answer to drops of tears? Here consider how powerfully constant Jesus worketh with souls; infinitely overcoming them in every thing he desireth of them. If he desire our heart, he giveth us his own wounded: if he bid us take up his yoke, he maketh it light for us, but loadeth himself with a most heavy Cross: in fine, if he ask tears of us, he giveth his blood.
4. This dolorous Foot putting it self so readily into the path of afflictions, teacheth us what way to walk in his worldly pilgrimage, preferring the way of the Cross, before the way of Pleasure, and the house of sorrow, before the house of joy. Our Saviuor could have ended his journey without these painful steps, but he sparing no grief, was as it were prodigal in his sufferings, that he might recover man who was become prodigal in his offences. All who detracted from thee (saith the Prophet) shall adore the step of thy feet, when through thy constant love, they shall be confounded, and convert themselves again unto thee, whom they had most ungratefully forsaken.
5. Shall we imagine this sacred Foot to have received any ease or rest from that step that was placed under it, and upon which it stood? No; as from the sole of the foot unto the top of the head there was no whole part in him, so was there no ease. This was that dove, who finding not where his foot might rest, for the exceeding deluge of blood, retireth himself into the Ark of his divine Love, which was as strong as death, and enabled his body to bear what we imagine, as it were impossible to be endured; if we truly and sincerely imitate his love, we cannot but imitate his sufferings.
6. Let us not only look or admire at his wonderful act of constancy in our blessed redeemers suffering, as if beholding it, or admiring were enough; those behests of ours are dead actions, unless they bring forth imitation, in which is the only truly beholding of Christ crucified; as now all those dolorous parts do as it were sue unto us to have compassion on our own miserable estates, and send forth beams of ardent love to inflame us, and set us forward in this generous action of constancy in fighting against our corrupt inclinations, so shall they in the day of judgment change all those favorable aspects, and shine like stars, threatening against us, if the feet of his Saints shall be kept, and the impious be silent; let us not imagine that these thrice glorious feet shall be forgotten, but that every drop of blood shall be recounted at that day, and laid before the impious man, who in silence shall stand confounded.
Written by J G of the Society of Jesus