The Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ: The Third Word
The Third Word
“Woman, behold, your son.”… “Behold, your mother.” (Jn 19:26-27)
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
“When it comes to the scandal of the Sacrifice of the Cross, Mary is there, hearing with sadness how ‘the passers-by blasphemed against him, tossing their heads, Come now, they said, you would destroy the temple and build it up in three days, rescue yourself; come down from that cross, if you are the Son of God.’ Our Lady is there listening to the words of her Son, united to him in his suffering, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ What could she do? She united herself fully with the redemptive love of her Son, and offered to the Father her immense sorrow, which pierced her pure Heart like a sharp edged sword.
“Jesus is comforted anew by the quiet, loving presence of his Mother. Mary does not shout; she does not run about frantically. Stabat: she is there, standing next to her Son. It is then that Jesus looks at her, and then turning his gaze to John he exclaims, ‘Woman, this is thy son. Then he said to the disciple, This is thy Mother.’ In the person of John, Christ is entrusting all men to his Mother, and especially his disciples: those who were to believe in him.
“Felix culpa, the Church sings. Happy fault, that has brought us so great and wonderful a Redeemer. Happy fault, we could add, which has merited that we should receive Mary as our Mother. Now we are safe. Nothing should worry us now, because Our Lady, the crowned Queen of heaven and earth, is omnipotent in her supplication before our Father God. Jesus cannot deny anything to Mary, nor to us, who are children of his own Mother.”
St. Josemaria Escriva
Friends of God, no. 28
Prayer of Abandonment to God’s Providence
My Lord and my God:
into your hands I abandon the past and the present and the future,
what is small and what is great,
what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot,
things temporal and things eternal.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
The Seven Last Words is a beloved devotion of the Church that invites us to recall and meditate on Jesus’s last words as he hung on the cross.
In this collection, each word is accompanied by the corresponding Gospel passage and a reflection and prayer from St. Josemaria Escriva. The devotion can be prayed over a week—each day devoted to one of the seven words— or it may be prayed in a single day.
Holy Week, especially Good Friday, is an ideal time to make use of this devotion for personal prayer: to silently and prayerfully contemplate Jesus’s passion and death, to be united to him in his suffering, and to dwell on the strength and mercy of his love.
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