The Last Words of Jesus - Part VII

by Thomas Sitio of Jesus (Gene Boehmann)

Meditation on the Fifth Word

"So that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I thirst’."

"I am like water poured out: all my bones are racked. My heart has become like wax, melting away within me.
"My throat is dried up like baked clay, my tongue cleaves to my jaws, to the dust of death you have brought me down.
"Be not far from me, for I am in distress, be near for I have no one to help me." Psalm 22

I do not feel that Our Lord’s cry for water was only symbolic. It was an expression of physical suffering and need. The physical suffering by crucifixion was the most horrible pain endured. Nurses ask patients if their pain is tolerable, mild, serious, great, or unbearable to determine level of pain. Crucifixion added a level of pain to that spectrum that raised it to the most awful level of suffering ~ excruciating ~ or "pain from the cross".

"Who can ever describe the pains suffered by those who endure the death of the body? Suffice it to say, they are so many and so great that they sever the soul from the body." St. Paul of the Cross to Agnes Grazi (Vol I, 180)

"Even more fortunate is the one / who in naked suffering, / without a shade of joy, / is as Christ transformed.
"Oh happy she who suffers / without attachment to her pain / But only wills to die to self / To love the more him who wounds."   Poem of St. Paul of the Cross: "Viva la Santa Croce" Stanzas 5 & 6

"Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done." Luke 22:42-43

"One can say that with the Passion of Christ all human suffering has found itself in a new situation… In the cross of Christ not only is the Redemption accomplished through suffering but human suffering itself has been redeemed… every man has his own share in the redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed… Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of redemption. Thus, each man, in his suffering, can also be a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ." Pope John Paul II the Great: Salvifici Doloris

"There is nothing more tragic in all the world than wasted pain. Think of how much suffering there is in hospitals, among the poor and bereaved. Think also of how much of that suffering goes to waste. How many of those lonesome, suffering, abandoned, crucified souls are saying with Our Lord, ‘This is my body, take it’… consecrate it, offer it to the Father with Thyself in order that He, looking down on this great sacrifice, may see His Beloved Son." Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen - "Wasted Pain" prayer card.

"He who drinks the water I will give him shall never thirst; the water I will give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting." John 4:14 There is a mystical significance in the thirst of Jesus. Our Holy Father Pope Benedict wrote in his encyclical, '' Deus Caritas Est" (God is Love), that the mystery of the cross consists of this, "so great is God's love for man that by becoming man he follows him even unto death and so reconciles justice and love."

Pope Benedict writes that love is eros and agape, it ascends and descends, that in giving love, love also must be recieved as a gift.

It is written in the newly published letters of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Come Be My Light, that she had an experience of the Passion in which she heard the voice of Jesus cry out from the cross,"I thirst". It transformed her spirituality. She wrote that her purpose and mission was to alleviate the thirst of Jesus. He thirsts for love and souls. She would live to offer him this drink.

At the cross, love is given and love is received. The Heart of Jesus and the heart of man is knit together in a covenant of love. The marriage feast of the lamb.

Continued in subsequent Oblate Sharings