The Last Words of Jesus - Part X
by Thomas Sitio of Jesus (Gene Boehmann)
Concluding Prayers of the Rosary of the Seven Last Words
Returning to the three beads on which we remember the Glorious Wounds of Our Lord. On the first bead pray one of the most beautiful prayers of the Holy Saturday Liturgy:
While the priest cuts a cross into the Paschal Candle he prays:
The beginning and the end,
Alpha and Omega,
All seasons are his and the ages,
To Him be glory and dominion
Through all the endless ages of eternity.
By your holy and glorious wounds,
Keep us and preserve us. Christ Our Lord."
All things are recapitulated in Christ. All things become one in Him. All things are made new. All through the power of His cross. Time and eternity are juxtaposed in the prayer. Each entity is a pair. There are like verbal crosses. They number five as the wounds of Christ.
The grains of incense placed in the cross are ourselves. The baptized life is a prayer in itself and rises to God as incense, a pleasing fragrance. "Let my prayer rise up to you, O Lord, like incense." "A pleasing fragrance from the hand of my angel."
It is ourselves that are kept and preserved in Christ’s glorious wounds.
On the second bead pray for our own transfiguration and resurrection:
"We all with faces unveiled, reflecting as in a mirror the glory of God, are being transformed into his very likeness, from glory unto glory, as through the spirit of the Lord." St. Paul the Apostle 2 Cor. 3:18 (Middle Hour of Midday on the Transfiguration)
"In order to be holy, an "N" and a "T" are necessary....Moreover, I say that the "N" is you since you are a horrible nothingness! The "T" represents God, who is infinite (Tutto–allness) in his essence. Therefore, let the "N" of your nothingness disappear into the never-ending allness that is God most high, and thus be lost completely in the abyss of the immense Divinity." St. Paul of the Cross to Marianna Girelli, Mar 11, 1766
"Man is the image of God, and his inner self is a kind of mirror in which God not only sees Himself, but reveals Himself to the "mirror" in which He is reflected.
Thus, through the dark, transparent mystery of our own inner being we can, as it were, see God "through a glass"… we sail forth into the immense darkness in which we confront the "I AM" of the Almighty." Thomas Merton: The Inner Experience
"Then the power of the Father will come and call the soul into Himself through His only begotten Son, and the Son is born of the Father and returns unto Him, so man is born of the Father in the Son, and flows back into the Father through the Son, becoming one with Him… and through the Holy Spirit pours Himself out in inexpressible and overflowing love and joy, flooding and saturating the ground of the soul with His wondrous gifts." Johannes Tauler Sermon 29
On the third bead pray the Our Father.
The Our Father is intimately united to the prayers from the cross. It was the heart of Our Lord’s prayer in the garden. Gethsemani and Golgotha are one prayer. There are seven last words and there are seven petitions in the Our Father.
"When his disciples asked him to teach them to pray...he taught them only these seven petitions of the Pater Noster, which includes all our spiritual and temporal needs... our heavenly Father knows our needs (Mt. 6: 7-8) and to pray without ceasing (Luke 18;1 )...PRAY THOSE PRAYERS THAT THE CHURCH USES, AND AS SHE USES THEM, for all are reducible to the Pater Noster." (The Ascent of Mount Carmel, ch. 44 by St. John of the Cross)
"They took his cloak, which was without seam, woven from the top throughout; so they said to one another, ‘It is better not to tear it.’" John 19:23-24
The rosary and prayers using the beads begin with making the sign of the cross with the crucifix.
Many people reverence the crucifix with a kiss at the end of the sign. I was taught this practice and it has always been my custom.
The Dolors rosary does not have a crucifix. As Passionists we are called to reverence the cross and to appreciate the richness of Catholic traditions all over the world that reveres the cross.
I’ve adopted the beautiful Latino custom of making a cross with the thumb and index finger then kissing it, when the Seven Last Words rosary is done.
The thumb and index fingers are also the fingers that touch the Body of Christ at Communion. They are worthy of reverence for that reason. The Passion began with a kiss of betrayal, let this Passion Prayer end with a kiss of veneration and adoration.
May the Passion of Christ and the Sorrows of Mary be ever in our hearts.