Skip to content

Last Seven Words of Christ Are Full of 'Spirit and Life'

Gloria Crucis Chair Inagurates a New Year at Lateran University

ROME, NOV. 9, 2004 (Zenit) - The last words of Christ, more than the rest, are full of "spirit and life because in some way they contain and express the truth of all the others" and "put a seal on them," explained Msgr. Piero Coda.

The professor of Trinitarian theology spoke at the inaugural session of the Gloria Crucis Chair at the Pontifical Lateran University on the last seven words of Christ from the cross.

Established in 2003 in collaboration with the Passionists, the chair is an inter-disciplinary operative structure of the different faculties and institutes of the university to show how Christ crucified and resurrected illuminates man's life and destiny." It organizes cycles of classes, seminars, conferences, exhibitions, symposiums and congresses in keeping with its objective.

"Glory is man's ultimate vocation, who must daily follow the way of the cross in the certainty that Christ preceded us and has overcome the world," explained the director of the Gloria Crucis Chair, Passionist Father Fernando Taccone, at the opening presentation.

"Reason cannot exhaust the mystery of love that the cross represents, while the latter can give reason the ultimate answer it seeks," he stressed quoting John Paul II's encyclical "Fides et Ratio."

Bishop Rino Fisichella, Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, introduced the opening session of the activities.

Msgr. Coda, who is also a member of the chair's scientific committee, began with the passage of the Passion taken from the Gospel of St. Luke, which begins with Jesus' prayer to the Father for his executioners: "Father, forgiven them; for they know not what they do."

It is "an invocation of forgiveness addressed to the Father" that "does not only emphasize the greatness and heroism of Jesus' forgiveness of those who crucify him, but is the word of revelation," of the "Son of the Most High who makes the rain fall and the sun shine on the just and the unjust," stressed Msgr. Coda.

While the word "'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise' is the revelation of a sure hope, open to all, in whatever condition of separation from the Father they might find themselves," it is, at the same time, the affirmation that in Jesus lies the "future of man."

Referring to the third word -- "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" Msgr. Coda said that "Jesus' life, from the beginning to the end, is but one sole act of filial obedience to the Father's plan of love extended in time."

"In Luke's Gospel the experience of dying on the cross is, for Jesus, the ultimate experience of his being Son," and "the same experience in Mark's and Matthew's accounts, is expressed, harshly, in the cry of abandonment: that reveals to us "the most profound meaning of Jesus' dying in that condition, as crucified," he stressed.

Msgr. Coda then reflected on Jesus' exclamation "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

The "cry of abandonment gives testimony [...] that Jesus died with the tragic experience of God not intervening in his favor," passing through "the atrocity of absolute, cosmic abandonment," in the "solitude in which his very own left him," in the "derision of his adversaries, in the confirmation of the most complete failure of his proclamation," he said.

However, this cry of abandonment is not a "cry of despair," but "an invocation, a prayer, the extreme testimony of fidelity and love for the Father that Jesus expresses from the depth of the abyss of trial and darkness into which he has fallen," he continued.

Msgr. Coda explains that in the word in which Christ says to his mother, "'Woman, behold, your son!' Then he says to the disciple: 'Behold your mother!'" that "Jesus separates his mother from himself; proof of the abandonment he must and wills to face in the most perfect solitude. But in the very act of separating himself from Mary, he invites her to live herself, in the first person, an act of faith as great as his own."

"Mary's yes" in this trial -- which recalls the sacrifice of the son of his old age that the Lord asks of Abraham -- is silent, "a dumb yes, with a naked soul that is a wound," "it is a greater yes -- if it were possible -- than that pronounced at the angel's annunciation," he added.

According to Msgr. Coda, in this way "Mary's plan opens up in an unexpected flowering" and "she, who was the mother of the firstborn, is given to us from the cross by Jesus as the mother of many brothers and sisters."

For the word "I thirst," Msgr. Coda says that he certainly was thirsty, "like any one condemned to the torture of the cross," "but--as is typical of John -- this physical thirst is the symbol of another thirst: Jesus is thirsty to fulfill the work for which the Father sent him, that of 'giving the Spirit,' in him, the fullness of life."

It is in this word that the "trial" endured on the cross is reflected, it is in the "desiccation, in his innermost filial being, of the source of the Spirit that comforts him, sustains him, and gives him life," that Jesus "can offer, from the Father, living water to men," said Msgr. Coda.

In the seventh word -- "It is finished" -- "the breath of life, thanks to the Son of man, the Word of God made flesh, is definitively given in pledge to man," he explained.

"One seems to intuit from John's account and the tragic urgencies of our time that the moment has arrived in which the breath of life must flow into men, dwell in the flesh, become the principle of justice and fraternity in history."

"Looking at the crucified, who in his death transmits to us the breath of life, we cannot but see Francis of Assisi," when "in La Verna -- as St. Bonaventure recounts -- he received in his flesh the wounds of the Crucified: 'The true love of Christ had transformed the lover into the very image of the beloved,'" Msgr. Coda said.

Together with the Passionists in Italy, the Gloria Crucis Chair publishes the quarterly review "La Sapientia della Croce" (The Wisdom of the Cross), launched in 1986 and dedicated to questions on the theology and spirituality of the cross, as well as the problem of human suffering.


Catholic Online CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Christ, Jesus, Passion, Rome, Cross

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.