Season of Consolation: Week Five – The Crucifixion

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3 Apr 2019

Jesuit Communications offers a series of reflections around the five Sorrowful Mysteries. This week, we explore the final mystery – The Crucifixion.  

Parishes and prayer groups: Feel free to print out and share these reflections, attach them to parish bulletins, or post them on parish websites or Facebook pages. Download Season of Consolation Week 5 PDF.

Gospel reading: Luke 23:33-46

Reflection

In the fifth mystery, Jesus is crucified. At the place of the Skull, beside two criminals, he is nailed to the wood of the cross. The descriptions given by Luke are raw and unadorned. His clothes are gambled over. He is mocked: ‘Save yourself!’ Hoping against hope, a fellow victim shares a desire for the kingdom. Jesus answers with a promise of paradise.

With his final breath, Jesus hands himself over to his Father and gives everything for us. This is the day of faith, when we look forward in hope to the resurrection.

  1. Jesus assures a fellow captive, ‘Today … with me … paradise’. Can you name how this consoles you today?
  2. Jesus gives his all for us. What fresh reverence will you offer him this Lent?
  3. Jesus died and rose to new life. Where is there a pattern of death and resurrection in your own life?
  4. How is Jesus ‘the crucified and risen Lord’ a source of encouragement for you?
  5. Peggy Spencer accompanied her friend Ron when he was at his most vulnerable. What does her witness move within you?

Accompaniment in death

Peggy Spencer recently sat in vigil beside a dying friend, and found comfort in praying the Sorrowful Mysteries.

Ron, a dear friend and neighbour for many years, recently spent six weeks in hospital, much against his will. Although he knew he was drawing close to death, his dearest wish was to spend his remaining time in the familiarity of his own home.

By this time, he had reached the end of his tether, so he discharged himself from hospital. No reasoning could change his mind. He begged me to pick him up and take him home. It broke my heart to say I couldn’t do this, much as I wanted to, as his family had already, in no uncertain terms, stipulated they did not want me to become involved.

Ron, in desperation, then had the hospital contact an old friend of his who had moved away but who occasionally contacted him. When I heard what he had done, again, I was devastated as this old friend had absolutely no idea that Ron was dying.

Because Ron had discharged himself, there was great difficulty in organising immediate outside help. In some ways, I could say that’s when the ‘nightmare’ began for me but that would not be quite true.

A dear friend of mine agreed to help me. We moved into the house for four days and nights and did everything possible to keep Ron comfortable. He was a stubborn man which did not make it any easier for us as he refused to stay in his bedroom but insisted on remaining on a make-shift bed in the lounge room.

Spending those last few precious hours of his life with him, I experienced the overwhelming comfort of totally entrusting everything to the Lord.

My friend, Joan and I, hardly slept, we just prayed and prayed, mostly the Sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary, individually and together. I prayed for strength to do the many difficult things that had to be done, to be able to forgive Ron’s family for the hurtful things of which I was accused, and for Ron to realise his dying wish.

The last night, we stayed in the house, we drew our chairs close to Ron’s bed; Joan sitting at the head, and me at the foot. Over and over, we prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries. The hours passed slowly by. Ron was sleeping peacefully. We were utterly exhausted but so very much at peace within ourselves.

We each know we have been abundantly blessed to share in Ron’s final journey. Together, we shared our gifts and prayers with him. And we both knew too, we could never have managed all this if we had not been comforted by the presence of the Lord, and for me, personally, an understanding, a mere glimmer, of what Our Lady experienced as she too, stood at the foot of the Cross as her Son was dying.

For more weekly prayer and spirituality reflections, go to www.pray.com.au.

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