Search Results for: Lent 2018

Read all the blogs in the Sisters of Mercy’s Lenten Blog Series for 2018 focused on the Last Seven Words of Jesus.

The Seven Last Words of Jesus—Week 7: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!”

March 28, 2018

By Sister Marian Clare Valenteen

Throughout this Lenten season, our blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the Seven Last Words of Jesus—the final words of Jesus on the cross. View the whole Lenten blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Meditation

Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!” This prayer—coming from deep in the heart, soul and body of Jesus on the cross and recorded only in the Gospel of Luke—resonates very closely with the familial tone of the prayer of Jesus with his Father in Chapter 17 of St. John’s Gospel. That chapter begins with Jesus turning intimately in a centering prayer with the One who sent him: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son … let him give eternal life to all those whom you have entrusted to him.”

We have known that Jesus prayed often throughout his ministry, alone in the desert, alone in the hills. We have heard the voice from heaven at the baptism of Jesus: “You are my Son, my beloved, my favor rests on you.” We have heard the voice from heaven at the transfiguration on the mountain: “This is my Son, the beloved, the chosen one, listen to him!”

It is not until the Last Supper that we hear the prayer of the Son to the Father spoken aloud in the presence of others. And now on Calvary we hear again the prayer of the Son spoken aloud for the final time on Earth: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”   Read More »

The Seven Last Words of Jesus—Week 6: “It is finished.”

March 21, 2018

By Sister Inés Villani

Throughout this Lenten season, our blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the Seven Last Words of Jesus—the final words of Jesus on the cross. View the whole Lenten blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Meditation

It Is Finished
“It is finished”—these words from Jesus, uttered from the darkness of his suffering, resonate in our hearts. They offer us peace and serenity that come from the womb of eternity.

“It is finished”—something radically new surges in humanity that gives meaning and expression to the call of the Spirit. It moves us to go far beyond ourselves to live out the qualities Jesus embraced in his life and energy: love, justice, mercy, wisdom and truth.

“It is finished”—in our life and path as people of Mercy, these words from Jesus challenge us to go back to our biblical roots, to be people of “milk and honey.”

Milk is the first symbol of how we nurture and embrace life through love. Honey is the sweetness of life, our love for life, our happiness to be alive.

We are called to knit together a society that gives milk and honey. This is in opposition to what is given to us in our current destructive global economy, which makes so many vulnerable due to scarcity, neglect, hunger, violence, bitterness and endless sufferings.   Read More »

The Seven Last Words of Jesus—Week 5: “I’m Thirsty.”

March 14, 2018

By Sister Eileen O’Connor

Throughout this Lenten season, our blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the Seven Last Words of Jesus-the final words of Jesus on the cross. View the whole Lenten blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Meditation

"I'm Thirsty"

“Jesus knew that now all was completed, and to fulfill scripture perfectly, he said, ‘I’m thirsty.’ There was a jug of cheap wine nearby, so they put a sponge soaked with the wine on a hyssop stick and raised it to his lips” (John 19:28-29).

Imagine that you are standing at the foot of the cross. Now hear Jesus say, “I’m thirsty.” How do you feel when you hear these words? Do you wish you could give Jesus some water? Recall some of Jesus’ many teachings and miracles which took place around water. Recall another time when Jesus was thirsty, at the well. He asked the woman at the well for a drink of water, and he changed her life (John 4:1-26).

Reflection

Can you guess how many times in your life you have said, “I’m thirsty”? What happened next? Did you usually then enjoy a drink of water?

Nearly 1 billion of our brothers and sisters may say “I’m thirsty,” but they do not enjoy a drink of water. They have no access to clean drinking water. They suffer from many water-related diseases. In fact, every day, tens of thousands of children die of preventable water-related diseases. Water is life, as our Native American friends remind us.   Read More »

The Seven Last Words of Jesus—Week 4: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

March 7, 2018

By Sister Maureen Crissy

Throughout this Lenten season, our blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the Seven Last Words of Jesus-the final words of Jesus on the cross. View the whole Lenten blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

MeditationMy God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

We sometimes have a tendency to romanticize or soften into a nice story the scripture readings, such as describing “a peaceful, serene image” of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Just ask any mother about childbirth!

The image of Jesus literally being nailed to wood can hardly ever be thought of in that manner. And this cry from Jesus—”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—strikes such a desperate chord. Yes, the pain and despair that Jesus experienced were excruciating, but they were blessed by the healing and hope of resurrection. As we look across the world at the injustice and pain experienced by children, women, men and Earth, perhaps we hear the cry of “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” or perhaps, “My brothers and sisters, why have you forsaken me?” In his life on Earth Jesus revealed the response to this heart-wrenching question: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Jesus freely took on suffering and pain. He so wants to be one with us when we feel forsaken. He truly understands those held captive by injustices and hurts in our world. He teaches by example to cry out to God, to believe, to hope and to trust in the resurrection.

Reflection

Familiar words were spoken to me when engaging an elderly woman, Angelina, who was living in deplorable conditions with her 29 cats. She recounts breaking into her boarded-up room one night to feed her pets and in despair screamed aloud, “God, what is hope? Where is hope? There is no hope!”

Following a total eviction, Angelina was taken to our residence for women in similar situations. She asked, “What’s the name of this place?” On hearing the answer, Women of Hope, she exclaimed, “My God, my God, there is hope!” Little by little, Angelina realized that God had not forsaken her. She began taking steps to recover from the scars of homelessness, mental illness and the loss of family and friends. With good health care, a strong community and a willingness to choose life once again, Angelina emerged from a life of despair and became magnet for others who needed hope in their lives. Her arms, which once felt nailed to a cross, now stretched out as extensions of her heart. Her brilliant mind captured the attention of many, and her tender spirit caused others to fall in love with this gentle giant who was less than five feet tall.

Invitation

Many in our world, country, neighborhood, church, community and perhaps in our own home or within our very self at times cry out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” Needs and challenges are all around us—children, people who are poor, the unborn, people who are elderly, people who are incarcerated, immigrants, those who are abused, those who are homeless, those caught in addictions, those who are lonely or forgotten. Perhaps during these Lenten days, we can acknowledge what has felt forsaken in our own life or in the life of someone else and reach out to bring hope to what seems like a hopeless situation.

Art by Sister Genemarie Beegan

The Seven Last Words of Jesus–Week 3: “Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.”

February 28, 2018

By Sister Letty de los Santos

Throughout this Lenten season, our blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the Seven Last Words of Jesus-the final words of Jesus on the cross. View the whole Lenten blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Meditation

"Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother."

The third word of Jesus from the cross is a word about human community, of which all of us are part. It has a quality of human compassion and love: “Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.”

I can imagine that it was a mother’s love that brought Mary to the cross that Friday afternoon. Where else would she be? As difficult as it was and as much as it must have pained her, Mary was there for one reason. She loved her son. In a way, his cross was her cross.

In spite of the darkness of the hour, the agony and mockery, Jesus’ concern is for his loved ones. He shows us that relationships that are part of human community are relationships that matter. He shows us that we are called to care for one another and all God’s creation. He shows us a vision for the church and the world that is crucial for our witness.

Reflection

From the cross, Jesus teaches us a truth which Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, also understood. She took the risk to heed the word of God and responded to it with sacrificial acts of love. But in another sense, there is nothing safer or more rewarding than to hear the word of God, because Jesus said that those who hear and do the word of God are his mother, brothers and sisters.

The third word of Jesus is a powerful reminder that we are part of a much larger family, a global family, a family so desperately in need of love. All of us belong to one another. Catherine McAuley on her deathbed was thinking of her sisters in Mercy. The words she uttered during her last hour were to “have a comfortable cup of tea for them when I am gone.”

Everyone is interconnected. If there are walls of division such as poverty, racism and other issues, these need to be dismantled to no longer disgrace our Earth. Our internationality and interculturality is God’s work, and it is the beating heart of peacemaking.

Invitation

Imagine that Jesus was speaking not only to his mother and his beloved disciple; he was also speaking to you, to me, to all of us. Do his words make us feel proud? Do they make us feel humble? Jesus gave us the command to take care of one another. He asks us to fulfill this mission which he entrusted to us. Let us embrace his gift and challenge to us.

Art by Sister Genemarie Beegan

The Seven Last Words of Jesus – Week 2: “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

February 21, 2018

By Sister Patricia Cook, RSM

Throughout this Lenten season, our blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the Seven Last Words of Jesus-the final words of Jesus on the cross. View the whole Lenten blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Reflection

Back in the 1990s when my prison ministry brought me to a men’s maximum security prison as a chaplain, I served for 12 happy years, trying to make Mercy real in a cold and dreadful atmosphere. On Friday mornings, we met for Bible Study and Meditation. “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise”—this passage from Luke’s Gospel, recounting the second word of Jesus from the cross, quickly became a favorite of mine. No other scriptural reference related better to the longings and experience of the inmates.

There was Bernie, who asked me if I really believed that God could still be that merciful. And then there was Jake, who proclaimed loudly to the whole group that he would never trust this story if he had not seen it in his Bible with his own two eyes. No wonder I felt more like a real Sister of Mercy there, teaching, proclaiming the absolute, unconditional love of our merciful God.

Meditation

Tradition has nicknamed Dismas, the man beside Jesus on the cross, the “Good Thief”—the one who stole heaven, the one who heard a promise right from the lips of a dying Jesus.

Happily, the Bible is the “Living Word” of God, not a collection of ancient stories!   Read More »

The Seven Last Words of Jesus – Week 1: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

February 14, 2018

By Sister Sheila Carney

Throughout this Lenten season, our blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the Seven Last Words of Jesus-the final words of Jesus on the cross. View the whole Lenten blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Meditation

"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."Many years ago I had the opportunity to attend the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Sisters of Mercy in Australia. The version of the Lord’s Prayer chosen for the liturgy was from the Aboriginal tradition. Instead of “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” they prayed, “Others have done wrong to us and we are sorry for them today.”

These words tell us how forgiveness works on us. When we are able to forgive, we not only put the past, with its hurts, behind us, but we also find compassion in the space where we had been holding on to our hurts. We extend loving forgiveness to another because “they know not what they do,” or because their regret touches our hearts, or because we don’t want to carry the burden of an unforgiving heart. Perhaps our readiness to forgive comes sooner than the readiness to ask for forgiveness, or the other way around. In either case, the words of Jesus on the cross—”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”-and the words of the Lord’s prayer call us to stretch out our hands to those who have hurt us and help them across the threshold of mercy, that door we have pledged to hold ajar.   Read More »

Introduction: The Seven Last Words of Jesus

February 7, 2018

By Sister Karen Dunville

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Jesus, Word of God, gave us words of wisdom filled with hope and spoken from his heart. His words provide the truth about the meaning of life, which is love. The often-quoted words of Jesus call us to pray and to act with love.

Lent is a season to go deeper into our minds and hearts to draw us closer to the realization of God’s presence in our lives. Jesus’ final words, spoken to us as his human life was ending, help us better understand God’s love for us. His last words show us human pain and suffering, and they promise that God’s love is the source of life.

Throughout this Lenten season, our Sisters of Mercy blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the seven last words of Jesus:

  • Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
  • Today you will be with me in paradise.
  • Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.
  • My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
  • I thirst.
  • It is finished.
  • Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

May each of us find inspiration to love God and to love others as we reflect on Jesus’ last words.