Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Seventh Word – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Seventh Word – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

The Seven Last Words of Christ refer, not to individual words but to the final seven phrases that Our Lord uttered as He hung on the Cross.   These phrases were not recorded in a single Gospel but are taken from the combined accounts of the four Gospels.   Greatly revered, these last words of Jesus have been the subject of many books, sermons and musical settings.

The Seven Last Words of Christ

” Jesus reaches the heights of the depth of his prayer to the Father during His Passion and Death, when He pronounces His supreme “yes” to the plan of God and reveals how the human will finds its fulfilment precisely in adhering fully to the divine will, rather than the opposite.   In Jesus’ prayer, in His cry to the Father on the Cross, “all the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up … Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them beyond all hope, answers them by raising His Son.   Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation”  (CCC 2606)

Pope Benedict 7 March 2012

all the troubles for all time ccc 2606 - used on easter sat 31 march 2018 - quoted by pope benedict in the seventh word

The Seventh Word

“Into Your hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46)

Gospel:  It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” and when he had said this, he breathed his last…Luke 23:44-46

The Word Incarnate utters His last sentence and in doing so, every last word takes on a special significance. In the act of dying, the God-Man teaches His brothers and sisters in the human family how to die.   What is the final lesson?

Jesus died resigned to the Will of the One Who sent Him.  However, we should not see this as passivity;  it is an active resignation, which sums up His entire life:  “As a man lives so shall He die.”

As we listen to the dying Saviour, two words draw our attention:  “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” “Father” and “thy” are the keys to the mystery of death.   Jesus, in His humanity, does not rely on His own resources but casts His cares upon His heavenly Father, the Abba (“Papa”) in Whom He encouraged His disciples to have complete trust.

His heart is thus other-directed or, better, Other-directed toward the One “who was able to save Him from death” (Heb 5:7).   With eyes fixed on Jesus (cf. Heb 3:1), then, Christians ponder what they need in death.   They are three: the grace of perseverance, the grace of final repentance and the grace of a happy death.

Such a gift then leads to that most blessed thing of all – the grace of a happy death. Several years ago I received an early morning call to the hospital to bring Viaticum for a cancer patient I had attended the entire summer.   Always thoughtful to a fault, she had restrained her family from contacting a priest during the night, lest he lose sleep.   Upon my arrival, the woman stirred herself to prepare for her final encounter with the Eucharist.   As I placed the Sacred Host on her tongue, she smiled, swallowed and died. Her son looked at me and said, “Father, that’s all she was waiting for all night.”

What a holy death! What a calming effect it had on her entire family!   What a powerful and unforgettable witness she had offered!   A holy death ensures a happy death because our eyes are “fixed on Jesus.”

Thinking about death – our own death – should not be an exercise in morbidity but a truly positive opportunity. St Alphonsus Liguori, author of the classic “Way of the Cross,” provides ample food for thought in his reflection for the Fifth Station  . It has within it all the serenity of Jesus’ serenity in His final moments and thus recommends itself to our thoughts and as a guide for our actions – perennially.

And so we are encouraged to say and to mean: “My beloved Jesus, I will not refuse the cross, as the Cyrenian did;  I accept it, I embrace it.   I accept in particular the death You have destined for me; with all the pains that may accompany it;  I unite it to your death, I offer it to You.   You have died for love of me; I  will die for love of You, and to please You.   Help me by your grace. I love You, Jesus, my love;  I repent of ever having offended You.   Never permit me to offend You again.   Grant that I may love You always and then do with me what you will.”  (St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church) ...Excerpt from Fr Peter Stravinskas

Prayer of Abandonment to God’s Providence

Lord, Your Cross is high and uplifted;
I cannot mount it in my own strength.
You have promised:
“I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw all to Myself.”
Draw me, then, from my sins to repentance,
from darkness to faith,
from the flesh to the spirit,
from coldness to ardent devotion,
from weak beginnings to a perfect end,
from smooth and easy paths,
if it be Your will, to a higher and holier way,
from fear to love,
from earth to heaven,
from myself to You.
And as You have said:
“No man can come to Me,
except the Father, who sent Me, draw him,”
give unto me the Spirit Whom the Father hath sent in Your Name,
that in Him and through Him,
I being wholly changed,
may hasten to You
and go out no more for ever.
(From a Prayer a Day for Lent – 1923)THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST - THE SEVENTH WORD - HOLY SAT - 31 MARCH 2018



One Minute Reflection – – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

One Minute Reflection – – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

The man who loves his life loses it, while the man who hates his life in this world, preserves it to life eternal...John 12:25john 12 25

REFLECTION“Sursum corda” – lift up your hearts, high above the tangled web of our concerns, desires, anxieties and thoughtlessness – “Lift up your hearts, your inner selves!”   In both exclamations we are summoned, as it were, to a renewal of our Baptism: “Conversi ad Dominum” – we must distance ourselves ever anew from taking false paths, onto which we stray so often in our thoughts and actions.   We must turn ever anew towards Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.   We must be converted ever anew, turning with our whole life towards the Lord.   And ever anew we must allow our hearts to be withdrawn from the force of gravity, which pulls them down and inwardly we must raise them high,in truth and love.   At this hour, let us thank the Lord, because through the power of His word and of the holy Sacraments, He points us in the right direction and draws our heart upwards.”…Pope Benedict 22 March 2008susum corda - lift up your hearts - pope benedict - easter vigil holy sat 31 march 2018

PRAYER – Yes, Lord, make us Easter people, men and women of light, filled with the fire of Your love. Amen.yes lord, make us easter people - 31 march 2018 - holy sat


Our Morning Offering – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

Our Morning Offering – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

Sabbatum Sanctum
By Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

I look at You, my Lord Jesus
and think of Your most holy Body
and I keep it before me,
as a pledge of my own resurrection.
Though I die, as die I certainly shall,
nevertheless, I shall not forever die,
for I shall rise again.
O You, who are the Truth,
I know and believe with my whole heart,
that this very flesh of mine will rise again.
I know, base and odious as it is at present,
that it will one day, if I be worthy,
be raised incorruptible
and altogether beautiful and glorious.
This I know,
this by Your grace,
I will ever keep before me.
Ameni look at you my lord jesus - sabbatum sanctum - 31 march 2018 - bl john henry newman


Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday: “Watching” and The Easter Vigil of the Holy Night

Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday:  “Watching” and The Easter Vigil of the Holy Night

On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on His suffering and death.   The altar is left bare and the sacrifice of the Mass is not celebrated.   Only after the solemn vigil during the night, held in anticipation of the resurrection, does the Easter celebration begin, with a spirit of joy that overflows into the following period of fifty days.The Entombment by the Maitre du Chaorce. “HOLY SAT 2

Holy Saturday (from Sabbatum Sanctum, its official liturgical name) is sacred as the day of the Lord’s rest; it has been called the “Second Sabbath” after creation.   The day is and should be the most calm and quiet day of the entire Church year, a day broken by no liturgical function.   Christ lies in the grave, the Church sits near and mourns.   After the great battle He is resting in peace but upon Him we see the scars of intense suffering…The mortal wounds on His Body remain visible…Jesus’ enemies are still furious, attempting to obliterate the very memory of the Lord by lies and slander.


Mary and the disciples are grief-stricken, while the Church must mournfully admit that too many of her children return home from Calvary cold and hard of heart.   When Mother Church reflects upon all of this, it seems as if the wounds of her dearly Beloved were again beginning to bleed.

According to tradition, the entire body of the Church is represented in Mary:  she is the “credentium collectio universa” (Congregation for Divine Worship, Lettera circolare sulla preparazione e celebrazione delle feste pasquali, 73).   Thus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as she waits near the Lord’s tomb, as she is represented in Christian tradition, is an icon of the Virgin Church keeping vigil at the tomb of her Spouse while awaiting the celebration of His resurrection.

The pious exercise of the Ora di Maria is inspired by this intuition of the relationship between the Virgin Mary and the Church:  while the body of her Son lays in the tomb and His soul has descended to the dead to announce liberation from the shadow of darkness to His ancestors, the Blessed Virgin Mary, foreshadowing and representing the Church, awaits, in faith, the victorious triumph of her Son over death. — Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy

“This same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord . . . throughout every generation” (cf. Ex 12:42)lumen christi - 31 march 2018

On this holy night we celebrate the Easter Vigil, the first — indeed the “mother” — of all vigils of the liturgical year.   On this night, as is sung over and over again in the Preconio, we walk once more the path of humanity from creation to the culminating event of salvation, the death and resurrection of Christ.

The light of Him who “has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20) makes this memorable night, which is rightly considered the “heart” of the liturgical year, “bright as the day” (Ps 139:12).   On this night the entire Church keeps watch and recalls, in meditation, the significant stages of God’s saving intervention in the universe.

“A night of watching kept to the Lord”.   There is a twofold significance to this solemn Easter Vigil, so rich with symbols accompanied by an extraordinary abundance of biblical texts.   On the one hand, it is the prayerful memory of the mirabilia Dei, in the re-presentation of key texts from the Sacred Scriptures, from creation to the sacrifice of Isaac, to the passage through the Red Sea, to the promise of the New Covenant.

On the other hand, this evocative vigil is the trusting expectation of the complete fulfilment of the ancient promises.   The memory of God’s work reaches its climax in the resurrection of Christ and is projected onto the eschatological event of the parusia.   We thus catch a glimpse, on this night of Passover, of the dawning of that day that never ends, the day of the Risen Christ, which inaugurates the new life, the “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Pet 3:13; cf. Is 65:17; 66:22; Rev 21:1).

From its very beginnings, the Christian community placed the celebration of Baptism within the context of the Easter Vigil.   Here too, on this night, some catechumens will be immersed with Jesus into his death to rise with Him to immortal life.   Thus the wonder of the mysterious spiritual rebirth, wrought by the Holy Spirit, is renewed; the rebirth that incorporates the newly baptised into the people of the new and final Covenant, sealed by the death and resurrection of Christ.

Together with those who will shortly receive Baptism, the liturgy invites all of us here present to renew the promises of our own Baptism.   The Lord asks us to renew the expression of our full obedience to Him and of our total dedication to the service of his Gospel.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters! If this mission may sometimes seem difficult, call to mind the words of the Risen Lord:  “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). Certain of His presence, you shall fear no difficulty and no obstacle.   His word will enlighten you;   His Body and His Blood will nourish you and sustain you on your daily journey to eternity.

At the side of each of you there will always be Mary, as she was present among the Apostles, frightened and confused at the time of trial.   And with her faith she will show you, beyond the night of the world, the glorious dawn of the resurrection. Amen

Lumen Christi!

St Pope John Paul II easter vigil in the holy night - 31 march 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 31 March

St Abda
St Acacius Agathangelos of Melitene
St Agigulf
St Aldo of Hasnon
St Balbina of Rome
St Benjamin the Deacon
Bl Bonaventure Tornielli of Forli
Bl Christopher Robinson
St Daniel of Venice
St Guy of Pomposa
Bl Guy of Vicogne
Bl Jane of Toulouse
St Machabeo of Armagh
Bl Mary Mamala
St Mella of Doire-Melle
Bl Natalia Tulasiewicz
St Renovatus of Merida

Martyrs of Africa – 4 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. No details have survived except for of their names – Anesius, Cornelia, Felix and Theodulus. They were martyred in Roman pro-consular Africa.