Lenten Reflection on the 7 Last Words of Christ: Introduction.


As we read the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion we cannot help but pause and reflect when we read our Lord’s last 7 words or phrases. Tradition has ascribed to each of these 7 sayings a correspondence to 1 of the 7 sacraments. How beautiful it is that Christ spoke to the 7 sacraments, as He hung dying to bring us to eternal life. Contained in these 7 last sayings of Christ is an inexhaustible source for our meditation. Might I suggest we spend time reflecting on a different one of these 7 last sayings not necessarily as a reflection for each of the sacraments but rather on our state in life. If maybe we are sick it would be appropriate to reflect with these sayings in light of that sickness or if we have discovered a certain pattern of sin in our life maybe reflect on these seven last sayings of Christ in light of that.

This way of Lenten prayer, often neglected today, is in line with our faith’s traditions. Pope St. Leo the Great says “dear friends, what the Christian should be doing at all times should be done now with greater care and devotion, so that the Lenten fast enjoined by the apostles may be fulfilled, not simply by abstinence from food but above all by the renunciation of sin.”[1] Pope St. Leo the Great encourages us to use this Lenten season to perfect our lives and root out all evil.

For most of you, your calling is to the vocation of marriage. Your path to salvation and your journey with the Lord will be done in the context of your marriage. Throughout this season of Lent I would like to reflect with you using these last 7 sayings of Jesus on the beautiful sacrament of marriage and how to live one’s marriage in accord with God’s intention for marriage. We shall see that it is Christ’s perfect love expressed on the cross that married couples are called to live out. It is my prayer that many of you will be able to take this basic reflection and adapt it in your prayer and meditation to your situation.

[1] Pope St. Leo the Great. Sermo 6 de Quadragesima, 1-2: Pl 54 (286)

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