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Reflections on Our Saviour’s Seven Words from the Cross – Word Seven: Father

March 24, 2016

Jesus-on-Cross-at-Sunset2

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
(Luke 23:46)

Jesus began his words from the Cross with “Father.” And he ends with “Father” now. Jesus’ last word from the Cross is a word of trust. Jesus’ word “It is finished” was offered as a loud cry of victory. This final word, I hear as one of quiet, of peace, even of joy, as he gives his completed work, his completed life, into his Father’s loving hands. Particularly in his farewell discourse to the disciples in John 13 to 16, and his High Priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus emphasized that His promise he came to open the way for us to have this same relationship of intimacy with God. We have been “adopted into the family;” we have been given a relationship of love that lasts for ever as children in the Father’s home. And so, with Our Lord, are bold to say, “Our Father.” May we share his trust to also say, “Into your hands I commit my spirit,” committing all that we are and have – past, present, future – into the loving hands of our loving God.

Reflection: What an overwhelmingly wonderful existence I have been given, to love for ever the One who so loves me!

In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.” Into the hands which broke and quickened the bread, which blessed and caressed little children, which were pierced with the nails; into the hands which are like our hands, the hands of which one can never tell what they will do with the object they are holding, whether they will break it or heal it, but which we know will always obey and reveal impulses filled with kindness and will always clasp us ever more closely, ever more jealously; into the gentle and mighty hands which can reach down into the very depth of the soul, the hands which fashion, which create, the hands through which flows out so great a love: into these hands it is comforting to surrender oneself especially if one is suffering or afraid. And there is both great happiness and great merit in so doing.
(Teilhard de Chardin) 

The timid soul, fear-driven, shuns the dark;
But upon the cheeks of him who must abide in shadow
Breathes the wind of rushing angel-wings,
And round him falls a light from unseen fires.

Magical beams glow athwart the darkness;
Paths of beauty wind through his black world
To another world of light,
Where no veil of sense shuts him out from Paradise.
(Helen Keller – this was one of the quotes in our Taize Service on Holy Tuesday. Thank you, Margaret Anne Knowles, for offering it!)

Love is and was my Lord and King,
And in his presence I attend
To hear the tidings of my friend,
Which every hour his couriers bring.

Love is and was my King and Lord,
And will be, though as yet I keep
Within his court on earth, and sleep
Encompassed by his faithful guard,

And hear at times a sentinel
Who moves about from place to place,
And whispers to the worlds of space,
In the deep night, that all is well.
(Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

At the evening of this life I will appear before you with empty hands. In your eyes all our righteousness is stained. Therefore I want to put on your own righteousness and receive from your love the eternal gift of yourself. I do not want any other throne and any other crown than you, my beloved!
(St. Therese de Lisieux)

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