“The cross reveals that unless there is a Good Friday in our lives, there will never be an Easter Sunday. Unless there is a crown of thorns, there will never be the halo of light. Unless there is the scourged body, there will never be a glorified one. Death to the lower self is the condition of resurrection to the higher self. The world says to us, as it said to Him on the cross: ‘Come down, and we will believe!’ But if He came down, He never would have saved us. It is human to come down; it is divine to hang there. A broken heart, O Saviour of the world, is love’s best cradle! Smite my own, as Moses did the rock, that Thy love may enter in!” –Venerable Fulton Sheen
By Tom Quiner
Have you ever wondered what your last words will be?
Leonardo da Vinci’s focused on what he didn’t get done:
“I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”
Actor Humphrey Bogart was flip:
“I should never have switched from scotch to martinis.”
Atheist Karl Marx was typically defiant:
“Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”
Clearly, nine words too many!
On the other other hand, Jesus quoted Psalm 31, as reported by Luke 23:46:
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
This psalm is so important, so loaded with meaning, that we sing/pray it every Good Friday in the Catholic Church in three minutes of stark drama.
Like Psalm 22 that we sang on Palm Sunday, Psalm 31 explores the depths of the human experience at a crisis point. The psalmist is a laughingstock, an object of scorn, a pariah who has lost friends. The world has rejected him.
All of this leads to the power of this psalm.
When we hit bottom, we have two choices: give up, or go on. The psalmist tells us to go on, as long as we let God carry us. He calls on God to rescue him. And then he turns everything, body AND spirit, over to the Creator who provided the gift of his body and spirit in the first place.
The prayer of the psalmist is primal: “Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.”
This is a prayer for the living, whether you have a billion breaths left … or but one.
[Lenten psalms are powerful prayers. Tom Quiner, composer of THE FIRE AND THE MERCY, The Pentecost Musical, has set over 100 psalms to music, including all of the psalms included in the Catholic lectionary for this Lenten cycle. This blog has posted his commentaries on each of these psalms throughout Lent.]
“Broken things are precious. We eat broken bread because we share in the death of our Lord and his broken life. Broken flowers give perfume. Broken incense is used in adoration. A broken ship saved Paul and many other passengers on the way to Rome. Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them.” More…