Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New Illustration: The St. Bernard Triptych, Part III

Here is the final panel in the sequence of images in my recent commission depicting events from the life of St. Bernard. (See the other two here and here). The three are displayed together in one frame and my client hopes to use it as the focus of a small house altar.

Matthew Alderman. Christ Reveals the Wound of the Holy Shoulder to St. Bernard. Ink. June 2009. Private Collection, New York City.

The event depicted concerns this vision of St. Bernard:

It is related in the annals of Clairvaux that St. Bernard asked our Lord which was His greatest unrecorded suffering, and Our Lord answered: "I had on My Shoulder, while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grievous Wound, which was more painful than the others, and which is not recorded by men. Honor this wound with thy devotion, and I will grant thee whatsoever thou dost ask through its virtue and merit. And in regard to all those who shall venerate this Wound, I will remit to them all their venial sins, and will no longer remember their mortal sins." (Source).
There are also a number of prayers and devotions to the Holy Shoulder, such as the following:
O Loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God, I miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy flesh and laid bare Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee, and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain, and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Thy Cross. Amen.
The image depicts Our Lord bearing His wound to the saint, surrounded by the implements of the Passion, the arma Christi of the cross, and a small shield depicting the Five (Other) Wounds. I was unable to ascertain which shoulder the wound was on, as Christ is shown carrying the cross on either shoulder depending on the circumstances, so I chose the one that suited the composition best.

I will post an image showing the three panels together in context tomorrow.

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