seven last words of Christ

Meditations written for First Friday Adoration by Encounter.Groups leaders:

1. Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Lk 23:34 (James/Stephen)

So many times in our lives we are hurt, often very deeply. Those deep hurts can be ind it hard to forgive. We have to search the far corners of our hearts to find love to bring ourselves to forgive.  Jesus was hurt infinitely more than us. Because of our sins he suffered. Yet still He loved us.

Those words spoken on the Cross were not meant just for the men who sentenced him to death and the soldiers who carried out that sentence. Those words were meant for all of us who nail Jesus to the Cross everyday by our sins.

Help us, Lord, to love the way you loved us as you hung in agony on the cross. Help us to forgive the way you forgave us as you were tormented and held in contempt, nailed in place by our sins. Help us to forgive others who cause us pain as you forgive us who still cause you pain by our sins. Amen.

 

2. This day you will be with me in paradise. Lk 23:43 (Katherine/Elizabeth)  

The Lord was on the cross, not because he did anything wrong, but because we did something wrong. The God of the Universe humbled himself to die a thief's death, a death he didn't deserve, so that each one of us could see him in Paradise, because the thought of you in paradise with him was worth dying for.  And yet, day after day, we continue to turn away from God, continue to break His Heart. He still loves us, no matter what. This is real love. How will you respond to His love? How will you return love to God and bring his love to the people around you? God has given us the grace to love him back, let's use it!

Prayer: As we meditate on Your words to the good thief, "Today, you will be with me in Paradise", We thank you for your amazing love, and ask for the strength to be like the good thief, who, though he sinned, was hopeful in your mercy, and ask You to remember us. Amen.    

3. Behold your Mother John 19:26-27 (Timmy/John)

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, He said to His Mother “behold your son.” Then he said to the disciple “Behold your Mother.”  And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of mankind, He gave humanity the greatest gift possible. He gave us the gift of himself surrendered for our salvation. Knowing this, it is easy to overlook that just before he died he gave us another gift. He gave us the gift of sharing his Most Holy Mother with him. When Jesus said “Behold your Mother.” it was an invitation to all of us to share her with Him as our Mother. And it is up to us to take advantage of this gift and to take Mary, our Mother into our homes, and into our hearts. Mary is the shortcut to Jesus, in fact without her it would be impossible to reach Him. St. Louis De Montfort said, "We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek - Jesus, her Son."

Lord, we ask through the Intercession of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Your mother and ours, that you enlighten our minds, purify our bodies, strengthen our wills, and kindle in our souls a love and devotion to our Most Holy Mother through whom You were made our Brother. Holy Mother look with compassion on us and help us run to you whenever we are in need.

Hail Mary full of grace…

4. Why have you forsaken me? Matt 27:46 (Christine/Grace)

“At about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’      

It is in the moments when we feel the most abandoned and the most forgotten, that Christ is closest to us. As he hung on the cross bruised and bleeding, he felt our pain, the pain of being utterly alone. He experienced the alienation and separation that sin creates between us and God. Despite all of this, he placed his trust in the Heavenly Father, and knew that God would never abandon him.

Tonight as we are in your presence God, we pray for the courage and strength to realize that no matter how alone, or forsaken we feel, all we need to do is call out to you, because you know the weight of our pain, and you would never let us bear it alone. You are our refuge, God, and it is in you that we find our strength and comfort.

5. I thirst. John 19:28 (Gabe/Nathaniel)

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said I thirst.

“The Lord then said, I thirst”; but what does he thirst for? For water? No, he thirsts for souls, thirsts for righteousness, for holiness. The Lord thirsts for your soul, an everlasting thirst that will not be quenched till the last soul is in heaven. We too must learn to thirst for Christ and his love, for his mercy and for his salvation.

Do not abandon the Lord, do not turn away, do not let him thirst for you as you drift away into sin. Pick up your cross, and be with the Lord, let him quench your thirst. Let him use you to quench the thirst of those who are so desperately thirsting for the Lord.

Lord Jesus, after being whipped, spat upon, mocked, and beaten you were nailed to the cross. You were tired, cold, weak, hungry, and thirsty. But O Lord you did not thirst for earthly water, rather you thirsted for souls. Lord guide us, and let us quench your thirst.

Our Father…

 

6. It is finished (Fr. Shell)

It is achieved.  It is accomplished.  It is consummated.  The work is done.  Redemption is accomplished.  Lord you have loved us unto the very end.  Lord, you put up with our infirmities, suffered our ignorance, suffered rejection and hatred and you only showed us love and mercy in return.  You healed us, you taught us, you were moved by compassion at the sight of our infirmities, to mercy at the sight of our sins.  You have always been about your Father’s business to bring back to Him what was lost from the beginning.  It is not thanks you offer because your suffering and humiliation are about to cease, but you proclaim as a victor, an obedient son, that the work is done.  

“As it is written of me in the book, Behold, I come to do your will.”  From the crib to the cross you have done the Father’s will.  You sought out the lost sheep, you corrected the wayward, in you we see the love of the Father.  Now you have undone the disobedience of the first man, you have paid the just price for us.  You bought us back by your blood.  You have given your life as a ransom for the many.  It is finished.

Lord God, you sent your son so that we might be free from the burden and guilt of our sins.  You have paid the price that we could not pay.  Grant us the grace to trust in the work of your redemption, in the power of your blood, your life.  And grant that we be merciful to others so they too may know the love of Christ.  Let us not rest in being redeemed, but graciously send down upon us the fire of your love so that we might be like you.


7. Into your hands I commend my spirit. John 19:30 (Teah/Christiana)

Beneath a darkened sky, with wind blustering, Jesus hung on the cross, spoke his last seven words, and took his last breath. Before he gave up his life, the light of the sun failed and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. In a loud voice, our Savior cried out, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”, thus handing over his life to God in obedience to the Father’s will. It was through his obedience that we are saved from our sins. The tearing of the curtain symbolizes that by dying, Jesus opened the gates of Heaven, which is our access to God’s holy presence. After giving all that he had, from his clothing, to his Mother, Jesus ended his life on earth by completing the Father’s plan through his death on the cross in an act of supreme love.

Through his life and death, we see how much God loves us and is present to us in our greatest need. In giving of himself entirely to the Father, we learn to give of ourselves entirely to Christ as our Redeemer and friend. Jesus shows us how to entrust ourselves to God peacefully, conforming our will to God’s. He taught us to have the humility of service as we give of ourselves to others, even to those who are not easy to love. By his example, we learn to call on God as our loving Father and how we must persevere through hardship and suffering.                                                  

Jesus, as we meditate on your crucifixion, help us to imitate your obedience to the Father by your willingness to give yourself entirely to God. So even as you entrusted yourself into God’s hands, I too, give my entire being to you. I submit myself to your sovereignty, and I seek to do your will. As you gave your spirit into the Father’s hands, you did it in the anticipation of what will come. As we reflect on your death, help us to do so in hope, and not in despair. Help us to build a deeper friendship with you during this Lenten season. Amen.