Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Fifth Word – 30 March – Good Friday morning 2018
The Seven Last Words of Christ
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.
“Love is not loved”: this reality, according to some accounts, is what upset Saint Francis of Assisi. For love of the suffering Lord, he was not ashamed to cry out and grieve loudly (cf. Fonti Francescane, no. 1413). This same reality must be in our hearts as we contemplate Christ Crucified, He who thirsts for love. Mother Teresa of Calcutta desired that in the chapel of every community of her sisters the words “I thirst” would be written next to the crucifix. Her response was to quench Jesus’ thirst for love on the Cross through service to the poorest of the poor. The Lord’s thirst is indeed quenched by our compassionate love; He is consoled when, in His name, we bend down to another’s suffering. On the day of judgement they will be called “blessed” who gave drink to those who were thirsty, who offered true gestures of love to those in need: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).”
The Fifth Word
“I thirst” (John 19:28)
Gospel: After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed and, so that the scripture should be completely fulfilled, he said: I thirst. A jar full of sour wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop stick, they held it up to his mouth….John 19:28-29
During Our Lord’s Passion, He was twice offered a drink. This first was a mixture of wine and myrrh. This Our Lord refused because it was commonly given to condemned criminals to deaden pain. His Passion and Death would have been rendered worthless if He had allowed anything to mitigate the pain He was about to suffer. The second drink He was offered was sour wine or vinegar. This He drank. In doing so, He drank deeply of the cup which He had begged His Father to remove from Him in the Garden. He drank the last dregs of the cup of our punishment.
Lord God, Your Only Begotten Son drank deeply of the cup of iniquity for my sake. If I were to try to drink the same draft by myself, I would not be able to survive. It is only with Your help that I can hope to drink of my own bitter draught and survive. Help me to turn away from the sweetness of the world and accept the bitter drink that is punishment for my sins. I beg You to send me the grace and strength required to accept this bitter cup. Let not my will be done, but Thine. Amen.
Prayer of Abandonment to God’s Providence
My Lord and my God:
into your hands I abandon the past and the present and the future,
what is small and what is great,
what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot,
things temporal and things eternal.
Amen. Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.