by Dennis P. McGeehan
The key episode in all of history is the death and resurrection of Jesus. No other event in history is remotely close in impact and permanence of effect. It was the reason he came to Earth, the fulfillment of his life. The Son of God became man so he could pay the price of our sins on the cross. His whole human existence pointed to this moment.
The scriptures record what Christ said while he hung on the cross. For all believers his words are worth pondering. The seven last words of Christ are seven statements he made. They are the last teachings he gave to us, and connect to his teaching on how we should pray.
First Word: "Father, forgive them, they do not know what they do." (Luke 23; 33-34)
When the apostles asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, he replied, "Our Father …" On the cross Jesus speaks to God the Father and reminds us of the importance of forgiveness, "As we forgive those who trespass against us." Jesus showed that even those who tortured and killed him receive forgiveness.
Many people often feel they are on a cross. Abusive marriages where physical and emotional abuse occurs can feel like crucifixion. With mixed feelings of love and hatred towards the abuser, an abused spouse can see no way out. Abuse is always wrong and never deserved.
But Jesus shows us that even with the greatest evils, the act must be condemned but we must still pray for the perpetrators. We help ourselves by turning from hate and offering forgiveness to those who have hurt us so profoundly. And Jesus is ready to lend his strength to us if we find it too difficult to forgive.
Dennis P. McGeehan is a husband, father (nine kids — eight on Earth and one in God's hands), author and freelance writer who has written for a variety of magazines. He has published two books, The Diaries of Joseph and Mary and Selecting the Best Martial Arts Class for your Child. He is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild. Dennis blogs at www.warriorsworlddad.com.