The Last Words of Jesus - Part II

by Thomas Sitio of Jesus (Gene Boehmann)


I pray the Last Words of Jesus using the Seven Dolors Rosary. The form of the Seven Dolors Rosary lends itself very well to the prayer. It is the trellis upon which the prayer grows.

Introductory Prayers

I begin with the Aaronic High Priestly Blessing. It brings us into the presence of the Lord and His face looking upon us. It was the blessing pronounced over Jesus, Mary, and Joseph untold times in their lives.

"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. Amen
The Lord smile on thee and be merciful to thee. Amen
The Lord turn his face to thee and give thee peace. Amen
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

"The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion, slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works."  Ps 144:8-10

On the set of three beads pray the following from the liturgy of Good Friday.
There are few prayers more beautiful than these that commemorate the Passion. Our private prayer should always be linked to the public prayer of the Church. The liturgy is like the hub of a wheel and private prayer and devotion the spokes connected to the rim as it moves our lives.

First bead: "Behold the wood of the Cross on which hangs the salvation of the world. Come let us adore Him." (Good Friday Liturgy)
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world have mercy on us.

Second bead: "We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world." (St. Francis of Assisi)
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world have mercy on us.

Third bead: "O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I offended you? Answer me!” (Micah 6:3)
O Holy God, O Holy Mighty God, O Holy Immortal God, Have mercy on us. (Trisagion)
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world grant us peace.

The Septets

On each bead of the septets (7sets of 7 beads each) the prayer is simple. "Have Mercy, grant us Peace." Pope John Paul II, the Great, dedicated the new millennium as the "Millennium of Mercy." Telling the world, "There is nothing that man needs more than Divine Mercy.

Have Mercy:

"What is this ‘mercy’ which we find spoken of everywhere in the Scriptures, and especially the Psalms? Scripture rings with ‘mi seri cor dia’ as though with a huge church bell. The Hebrew word which we render as mercy, says more still than mercy.

Chesed’ is also fidelity, it is also strength. It is ultimate and unfailing because it is the power that binds one person to another, in a covenant of hearts. It is the power that binds us to God because He has promised mercy and will never fail in His promise.

Chesed’ contains many aspects of God’s love. The ‘chesed’ of God is a gratuitous mercy that considers no fitness, no worthiness, and no return.

It is the love by which He seeks and chooses His chosen, and binds them to Himself. For He has become inseparable from man in the ‘chesed’ which we call Incarnation, and Passion, and Resurrection.

He has given us His ‘chesed’ in the Person of His Spirit. So that in the depths of our own being there is an inexhaustible spring of mercy and of love." The Good Samaritan, Thomas Merton.

"Have mercy on us, O God, in your goodness. In the greatness of your compassion wipe away our offenses." Ps 50

Grant Us Peace:

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled." Jn 14:27

The Catholic Encyclopedia, speaking of the Hebrew word for peace, ‘Shalom’, states that set in the context of God’s face looking upon us with mercy, the word, ‘shalom’, conveys that one is in God’s presence.

Part of the root for the word means "to dwell with" and part of the word means ‘whole someness’ as in a manifestation of divine grace. Peace harmonizes all contending factors and reconciles the separateness of all.

The rabbis have a tradition that ‘shalom’ is the name of the Messiah.

The early Church understood the mystery of the Eucharist as underlying the expression of "peace." "Peace" became one of the names for the Eucharistic sacrament, for it is there that God does in fact come to meet us....The first words of the Risen One to His confused disciples had been: "Peace be with you" (Jn 10:19). In each Eucharistic assembly what happened on the evening of Easter Day was repeated for them....That is why the Eucharist itself was often simply referred to as "peace": it was the place of the presence of Jesus Christ, and was thereby the sphere of a new peace. (Pope Benedict XVI, Peace from the Lord)

The Church sings in the Gloria, "Gloria in Excelsis Deo". The presence of God most high is His glory. He is present in transcendence and no man can look upon Him and live.

To his people on earth his presence is peace. His immanance in the world.

Like an echo, the call for mercy and the cry for peace reaches from end to end through the prayer. Out of the Lord’s vast creation of animals, Scripture chooses two very special ones: the lamb and the dove. The lamb is for mercy. The dove is for peace.

The Seven Medals

On the 7 medals are prayed the Seven Last Words of Jesus,  followed by the response: "Jesus Crucified", "My Lord and my God".

I have taken the name Thomas Sitio of Jesus. I can identify with him. When he saw the Risen Christ and his Glorious Wounds, all he could cry is, "My Lord and my God".

"This is the mystery of Divinity: the transcendent God, the infinite Being, the Absolute Other, the Lord of Heaven and earth, the Eternal One, Our God, allows us to draw close to Him and gives us the great gift of calling Him ~ ours ~." Jewish Meditation by Aryeh Kaplan

When I pray these words, in sorrow and humility, I strike my breast gently.

"And the whole multitude of those who stood there watching, when they beheld what things had happened, went home beating their breasts." Lk 23:48

In prayerful thought I have added quotes as I enumerate the Seven Last Words.

The Psalms were the hymnal and the prayer book of the Jewish people. As familiar to them as the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be is to us Catholics.

Many scholars of scripture hold that Our Lord prayed Psalm 22 as He hung crucified.

I have used verses of this psalm as a type of responsorial for the Last Words.

Continued in subsequent Oblate Sharings