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

ZURBARÁN, Francisco de
 Christ on the Cross 

Adore with like affection the glorious left hand of thy Saviour, and contemplate upon those words of the spouse: his left hand under my head, and his right shall embrace me. Thou hast already beheld the embracing of the right hand; which was stretched forth upon the Cross, ready to embrace and entertain all sinners: this was clearly showed by calling the Thief out of sin, into grace and out of a world of torments into Paradise of joys. Now then consider the left hand.

1. First behold it as full of bloody streams as the right, and in every point as full of pain, & what comfort could the Espouse take in laying this bloody, and painful hand under her head? Perhaps she desired to have the impression of this bloody hand, left in her heart, to the end she might never forget it: strive to conserve fresh in thy memory this left hand of thy Saviour, by which his Justice is signified, and by the impression of it, remember that sacred blood which was shed for thee, of which they who make not the best use, shall find a severe judge; who as he called one at his right hand, so he permitted another at his left to perish.

2. Endeavor to keep left hand under thy head. Between the earth and thee; let the Justice of Almighty God mediate: Earth can attempt nothing against thee, when it shall behold how strongly thou art guarded.  Weigh all thy actions in the balance of Justice, and thou shall never offend.  If thou lay pleasure in one scale, lay torments due unto it in the other. If this life, being but a moment, present delights unto thee, call Eternity unto thee, and let it confront that moment, and it will soon have victory.

3. His left hand under my head. Love is commonly distinguished between filial, and servile, That is the love of a child to his Father, and of a servant to his Master: let this Left hand, to wit, the Justice of our Saviour be under our head, that is between the earth, and us, let at the least the fear of Justice be placed. If we arrive not to that perfection (which we all ought to tend unto) to contemn the pleasures, and vanities of the world merely for the love of God, preferring that pure affection before all things yet let us contemn them for the dangers that are in them; and for fear of the severe hand of Justice, which punisheth those who follow them.

4. His left hand under my head and his right hand shall embrace me: so that unless his left hand be under thy head, his right hand shall not embrace thee.  Doth thy soul desire the loving embracements of the Saviour, and the sweetness of his mercy? lay under thy head the fear of his Justice, let that be thy foundation; and the beginning of thy wisdom, then shall his right hand embrace thee; when if shall find his left hand under thy head.

5. The Espouse desireth his left hand may be under her head, that is, from her beginning, from the first entrance into this world, till her going out of it, that all the days of her life; she may walk the paths of his Justice.  Most fitly was this spoken of the immaculate Virgin & Mother, who had this left hand under her head, being (even in her very Conception) endued with original Justice, the which, under her head, as it were, in her first beginning most graciously preventing her, made her worthy to bear the Son of God, and Saviour of the world.

6. His left hand under my head.As thou hast hitherto applied this left hand to the Justice of God; so here apply it to that Justice which every true Christian, that is, which every follower of Christ ought to bear towards himself.  If we ourselves lay this left hand under our head, and become our own judges in this world, meaning our actions by the rule of Justice, and making them straight by penance: then shall we facilitate our judgements in the next world preventing Gods severe and rigorous sentence; then shall his right hand embrace us, because our own left hand hath chastised us. Apply these points as the former.

Written by J G of the Society of Jesus


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