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Basics of the Interior Prayer /Part 2/

The Last Four Words from the Cross

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Structure for the second hour of interior prayer

5 minutes: The four fundamental truths (death, judgment, eternity, God’s mercy)

10 minutes: The co-crucifixion

5 minutes: The reception of the Mother of Jesus

5-10 minutes: An introductory motivational word on the last four words from the cross

10 minutes: “I thirst”

5 minutes: “Eli, Eli…”

5 minutes: “It is finished”

5 minutes: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit”

5 minutes: Reflection

Motivational word for experiencing of the last four words

After the words, “And that disciple received her eis ta idia – into his own,” the Apostle John, as an eyewitness, continues: “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ The evangelist Matthew adds: Now from the sixth hour (i.e. noon) until the ninth hour (i.e. three o’clock) there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” (Mt 27:45-46) The outer darkness expresses the reality of the spiritual darkness of evil and separation from God. It was concentrated in Christ’s dying and death. “Some of those who stood there said, ‘This Man is calling for Elijah!’ Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. The rest said, ‘Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him…’” (Mt 27:47-49)

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ (Jn 19:30)

The veil of the temple separated the sanctuary from the Holy of Holies (see Heb 9:3). “The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Mk 15:38) and Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.” (Lk 23:45-46)

After the disciple received Jesus’ mother, Jesus said: “I thirst.” What does Jesus thirst after? It is not just a question of a physical thirst, but above all, of a spiritual thirst. Jesus thirsts after the completion of salvation of souls, after breaking the power of death, evil and slavery of sin, which binds every descendant of Adam. This is not done yet through the crucifixion, but it will be completed through His death. The spiritual covering of the original Adam’s sin covers all people, all human nations (see Is 25:7). I, too, thirst after the removal of the covering, which is cast over my soul and a veil that covers with a spiritual darkness all people, whose existential test of life is taking place at the same time as mine. I thirst after the eternal light, I thirst after the truth, after an eternal happiness and true freedom. Together with Jesus, I therefore thirst after the rupture of that spiritual cover and veil, which separates my soul from the living God.

I thirst after the rupture of this covering on my behalf and then above all on behalf of all the baptized, who likewise are in spiritual darkness.

You, Jesus, are crucified and with You our old self is crucified in this second, in this minute.

You, Jesus, are experiencing the deepest abandonment by the Father, and You express this utmost pain in the cry: “Eli, Eli…” ”My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” However, the Father had not abandoned, but the darkness of sin, which Jesus accepted, completely covered Jesus’ soul. At the same time, He feels the pain over our souls willingly uniting with lies, evil, darkness. It is a pain for souls, which do not separate from darkness, but remain in it. They made a definitive decision to remain in an eternal darkness, in an inexpressible suffering, which never ends. It is a pain of the One loving these souls, suffering because they had separated themselves full of ingratitude and hardness of heart, in the rage at the loving God. In these moments, Jesus experiences the utmost physical, mental and especially spiritual pain.

Between saying I thirst and It is finished, Jesus cries out: “Eli, Eli…”, “My God, My God…” He expresses His desire after the unity with God the Father. Through sin man lost God, and Jesus, through His most painful sacrifice of the abandonment redeems this loss of God, along with the spiritual darkness.

“It is finished” and “Father, into Your hands…”

The moment of “It is finished” marked a spiritual breakthrough and spiritual victory over the reign of darkness. The spiritual veil that prevents the union between the soul and God was torn apart. Jesus broke the power of evil, and while we live in time we can enter ever anew the death of Christ especially in prayer, or, in other words, we can make real this rupture, this “It is finished” at the present moment. “We are always delivered to Christ’s death.” (cf. 2Cor 4:10-11) The word “always” means that we are to return ever anew to the reality of Christ’s death by faith. His death separates us from the power of sin and restores our union with God.

If we are united to Christ’s death, it means that we completely surrender our will to God, and we cannot sin (cf. 1Jn 3:6). The power of the law of sin, however, always automatically brings us back to the state of our corrupt nature. Therefore we are in darkness, unable to perceive God, His presence, which is why we are inclined towards sin, no matter that they are just venial sins. The Apostle points to the fruits of the law of sin: “I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. … So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” (Rom 7:19-20.25b) Deliverance is in Jesus Christ alone (v.25a). The law of the Spirit applies here: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom 8:2) The acquisition of good habits, i.e. virtues, also plays a big role here. It is primarily about the habit of prayer, which is the source of true humility, or a sense of truth about ourselves. Prayer and humility form the basis of other virtues. Without prayer and humility, the Holy Spirit cannot work.

The final words “It is finished” and “Father…” express the moment of Christ’s redemptive death. With the words “It is finished” Jesus accomplished our salvation, thus fulfilling the Father’s will. In the spiritual realm, a corridor of light broke through the darkness. It will remain so until the Second Coming of Christ. Those who are saved by faith in Jesus pass through this corridor of light into the arms of God at the hour of death. The spiritual darkness is represented by the system of this world and its prince and by the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, kosmokratores. The death of Christ broke through the darkness and restored the union between God and the soul. At the hour of Christ’s death, the veil of the temple that separated the sanctuary from the Holy of Holies was visibly torn in two. At the hour of our death, our spirit will actually pass through the pillar of light of Christ’s death into the arms of God. But we can now spiritually enter into Christ’s death and through it into the Father’s arms. We have received the Spirit of sonship by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15). By entering into the truths related to Christ’s death we put into practice the mystery of baptism. We were immersed through baptism into Christ’s death. The way into the Father’s arms is open to us. Having obtained victory over darkness, at the moment of His death, Jesus committed His spirit into the Father’s hands. This is the only way of salvation for us. Jesus said: “I go to prepare a place for you … that where I am, there you may be also.” (Jn 14:2-3) And Jesus also said: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Jesus accomplished His work of salvation of the human race. There is nothing to add. We only need to do His word in the obedience of faith. The Mother of Jesus is our model and helper on this journey of faith. The veil that covered every soul was torn; the barrier of the spirit of the world that keeps mankind in delusion was broken. The demonic forces in the heavenly realms that influence mankind and keep it in the darkness of lies were defeated. All this is contained in the words “It is finished”. It is the final victory over the devil, sin and death.

We stand in spirit at the foot of the cross, at the site of Christ’s death, with a pillar of light above. Our spirit can ascend up the pillar and unite with the Heavenly Father, entering into God’s arms. The spirit of Jesus was the first to pass through this triumphal pillar of light. This is expressed in the last word from the cross, “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.”

Simeon’s prophecy to the Mother of Jesus was also fulfilled in Christ’s death: “A sword of sorrow will pierce your soul.” (Lk 2:35) Through this spiritual wound in the heart of our Mother, our spirit can enter into the new heart, the New Jerusalem, and connect here directly with God.

Light, strength and grace will be given to those who seek to penetrate into the mystery of Christ’s death. This is also connected with the Eucharist and our baptism. Words cannot express the graces they will receive if they persevere in interior prayer. May you also devote at least an hour daily to this prayer.

The two-hour contemplation should also be practised by lay people, at least once a week, preferably in a small community.


Download: BCP: Basics of the Interior Prayer /Part 2/



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