[a repost from 2007 & 2009]
Prayers based on the seven words on the Cross
Filed under: Meditations & Devotions, Lent 2007, Lent Prayers — Karen B.
Below, I posted a series of meditations from Project Canterbury based on Jesus’ Seven Words from the Cross.
Since the whole text is long, however, I thought it might be profitable to post the prayers or exhortations which conclude each of the seven meditations to aid in our Good Friday devotions.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Blessed Jesus, as we behold Thee being nailed to the cross, and listen to Thy words, we pray Thee that we may evermore be unselfish, mindful of others in all our trials and afflictions, be they never so severe; ever ready to forgive and to seek forgiveness; and ever guided and governed by the Holy Spirit in striving to speak and to do only that which is right, and the influence of which may be for the good of others.
“Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”
Merciful and adorable Jesus, Thou who when dying didst promise Paradise to the dying, penitent thief, kneeling at the foot of Thy cross this day, we ask Thee to look upon us just as we are; there is no sin that we would keep back from Thee, for we desire that all may this day be forgiven, and we desire that we may be willing here after to suffer and to have our faith tried even as Thou wilt; if so be we may at the last be with Thee in Paradise, it matters not through what we pass in going thither.
“Woman, behold thy Son. Behold thy Mother.”
O blessed Jesus, our Lord and our God, help us so to hear Thy words and the words of Thy Father, that we may be enabled to fulfill all the duties which Thou wouldst have us fulfill towards all those whom Thou hast given to us. Let us not love father or mother, husband or wife, brother or sister, child or friend more than Thee; but ever mindful of Thy word and example, let not even our love for Thee, nor any thing, make us forgetful of the love and duty which we owe to others.
“My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
Let us then, brethren, while careful to check and control and put away, so far as possible, desponding thoughts, and watchful over our imaginations, not suffering them to fancy difficulties, obstacles, troubles, and failures, if like many saints before us and even like our Divine Master Himself, we have sometimes to pass through a cloud in the journey of life, not be afraid. If we sometimes have to feel that we are left, deserted, let us look up to Him and listen to His word which He has uttered for our consolation, our hope, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
But the same lips that said “I thirst,” said also, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness.” And into those lips no doubt is it that David put the words: Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God; so that as there was a longing for something to slake the natural thirst, so there was a thirst which was a longing for the souls of men, a hunger and thirst for righteousness and for the accomplishment of the perfect will of God. And, brethren, know we anything of this sort? Is there with us any desire for the higher life, for holiness, for attaining to the righteousness which God would have us reach; any desire for extending Christ’s kingdom for winning souls to Him; any desire to do all that in us lies for the missions and in the missionary work of the Church, answerable to the craving of the bodily appetite of thirst? O Blessed Jesus, that it might ever more be so! that we might be athirst for Thee, athirst for likeness to Thee, athirst for the saving of souls for which Thou didst hang this day upon the shameful tree.
“It is Finished.”
Let us then, dear brethren, now lift up our hearts to the Blessed Master and say: Hereafter may we strive, even in the very pettiest details of our daily life, and especially in all that we are to do in working out our own salvation, in the least as well as in the greatest of our secular duties, and in the least as well as in the greatest of our religious duties, to be more and more mindful, and more and more influenced by this Thy word upon the cross, “It is finished.”
“Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”
And as we look up to Him with adoring love and gratitude, and with the echo of these last words still sounding in our ears, what is the use that we shall make of them? What is the resolution that we shall form from them for the future, whereby to testify our love and gratitude for all that was accomplished for us as on this day, whereby to manifest our desire to be like in all things unto Christ our Master and example? Shall we resolve in all things hereafter to strive to be more resigned to the will of our Heavenly Father–to give up ourselves utterly and forever, body, soul, and spirit into His hands–to be content and to desire that He should rule and direct all that concerns us, from the least thing to the greatest–to see His hand in all things–living and dying to have no wishes and no will but His? Shall we resolve that our last words at night, as our eyes close in sleep, shall be none other than Thine, Blessed Jesus–Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit? That ever as we draw near to the altar to commemorate Thy most precious death, we will repeat them, as Thy saints of old have been wont to do? And that, with our expiring breath, when we too shall be dying, we will strive to make them our last utterance! All this may we indeed do. But may we not fail our life long to do that which we doubt not will be most honorable, most acceptable unto thee–even that which Thou by the mouth of thine apostle Peter hast bidden us, viz.: daily in well-doing to commit the keeping of our souls to God as unto a faithful creator. Be this our resolution, at Thy cross this day, daily hereafter, in well-doing, in daily striving to follow the blessed steps of Thy most holy life, to commit the keeping of our souls to God as unto a faithful creator.