CONSIDERATIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
And Jesus crying with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit (Luke xxiii. 46).
Eutychius says that Jesus uttered these words with a loud voice that all hearing Him calling upon God His Father, all might understand He was the true Son of God. But St. John Chrysostom writes that Jesus cried with a loud voice to teach us that He did not die of necessity, but of His own free will, uttering so strong a voice at the very moment when He was so weak and about to end His life. This was in conformity with what Jesus had said during His life, that He voluntarily sacrificed His life for His sheep, and not through the will and malice of His enemies: I lay down my life for my sheep … No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself (Jo. x. 15, 18).
St. Athanasius adds that Jesus Christ, in thus recommending Himself to the Father, recommended at the same time all the faithful, who through Him would obtain salvation, since the head with the members form one single body. On which the Saint remarks that Jesus then intended to repeat the prayer that He had before offered: Holy Father, keep them in thy name … that they may be one, as we also are. And then He added: Father, I will that where I am they also whom thou hast given me, may be with me (Jo. xvii. 11, 24).
This made St. Paul say: I know whom I have believed, and I am certain that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day (2 Tim. 1. 12). Thus the Apostle wrote, while he was in prison, suffering for Jesus Christ, into whose hands he committed the deposit of his sufferings, and of all his hopes, knowing how grateful and faithful Jesus is to those who suffer for His love.
David placed all his hopes in the future Redeemer when he said: Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit, for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth (Ps. xxx. 6). And how much more ought not we to trust in Jesus Christ, Who has now completed our Redemption? Let us pray with great confidence: Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord! Into thy hands I commend my spirit! Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit! Great comfort do these words bring to the dying at the moment of death, against the temptations of hell, and their fears on account of their sins.
But, O Jesus, my Redeemer! I will not wait for death to recommend my soul to Thee; I commend it to Thee now; suffer me not to turn my back upon Thee again. I see that my past life has served only to dishonour Thee. Suffer me not to continue to displease Thee for the days that yet remain. O Lamb of God, sacrificed upon the Cross, and dead for me as a Victim of love, and consumed by sorrows, grant by the merits of Thy death that I may love Thee with all my heart, and be wholly Thine whilst life remains. And when I shall reach the end of my days, grant me to die burning with love for Thee. Thou hast died through love of me: I would die for love of Thee. Thou hast given Thyself wholly to me; I give myself wholly to Thee: Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth! Thou hast poured forth all Thy Blood; Thou hast given Thy life to save me; suffer not that through my fault all this should be lost to me. O my Jesus, I love Thee, and I hope through Thy merits that I shall love Thee forever. In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded (Ps. xxx. 2).
O Mary, Mother of God, I trust in thy prayers; pray that I may live and die faithful to thy Son. To thee I would say, with St. Bonaventure: “In thee, O Lady, have I hoped; I shall never be confounded.”