“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34)
Who has wronged us? Whom do we withhold forgiveness from? Have we allowed bitterness and selfishness to fester in our hearts? Lord, you have shown us how to forgive those who trespass against us. I beg of you the grace to bear all wrongs, all injustices, and all words of displeasure patiently. Grant me the wisdom to know when to speak and when to remain silent. Help me to suffer all condemnations for love of you.
“Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43)
The innocent Christ hangs between two criminals. One mocks Him, while the other recognizes Christ for who He is. Lord, I believe; help my unbelief. How often do I question the truth of who you are? I doubt your goodness, providence, mercy, and unconditional love. May your mercy flood through me so that I may be embraced and healed by your love, and that I too may be with you in paradise. Grant me the grace to be your disciple so that I may live within your kingdom this day and always.
“Woman, behold, your son…Son, behold your mother.” (John 19:26-27)
As Jesus was dying, His mother and a beloved disciple were among those who remained with Him. What horror it must have been for Mary to watch her child suffer and die upon the cross. Her son, fully human and fully divine, suffering in agony. She did not leave. Jesus knew we would always need a mother to comfort and guide us to Him. I thank you, Lord, for the gift of my heavenly mother. Mary, mother of mercy and compassion, be near me always, especially in times of need and suffering. Wrap me in your mantle and carry me to the heart of your son, Jesus.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)
There is torment in His voice as Jesus cries out the words of Psalm 22. There is no life without suffering, and yet we can be assured that God never abandons us even in moments when he feels absent. He will never leave or forsake us, and, when surrendered to Him, the darkest moments of our lives can become the most glorious. Permit, oh Lord, that I may not be driven to despair in times of desolation, but rather cling to you and your promises.
“I thirst” (John 19:28)
He is parched from the trauma of His passion, and yet His thirst is more than just physical. Jesus thirsts for us, for our souls. We too are thirsty. All too often, I seek to quench my thirst with the sour wine of sin and the empty promises of the world. Help me to know the depths of your thirst for my soul, Jesus. Wash me in your precious blood, so that I may gain eternal life. May we quench our thirst with the Living Water of truth.
“It is finished.” (John 19:30)
The scope of what you have done for us is beyond comprehension, and now your mission is complete. You have given everything. You took our sins upon yourself and gave us life in return. Your words reveal the ultimate surrender. Jesus, you were stripped of all so that my soul could be clothed with grace and salvation. Purify my heart and strip it of all that is impure. Reveal to me what I need to surrender. Create in me a pure heart, so that I may reflect your goodness and beauty to all I meet.
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
Jesus has been obedient to the Father, even unto death, and he entrusts Himself to the loving care of His Father. Jesus, I ask that you please hold my heart. Receive me. I want to give you all that separates me from you. I abandon myself unto you. Grant me the grace to be obedient and docile to the will of the Father.
These are the last words that Christ utters from the cross. May they help us, this day, to enter more profoundly into His passion and death.