Friday 21 March 2008

Father, Into Thine Hands, I Commend My Spirit

As long as I can remember being aware of Good Friday and the reason for it, it has always been the religious celebration that I like the best.  I feel completely broken down on Good Friday and completely built up.

I always liked that we couldn’t eat meat.  I always liked the Mass.  I was beside myself when Angelique and Nadalene were altar girls and served at the Good Friday Mass.  I like that my kids were raised on a diet of the soundtrack from Jesus Christ Superstar.  Wahid hated when they would whip Jesus 40 times.  One, Two, Three, Four .  .  .  .  .  .  I always like that Wahid could not stand the part where the crowd yells ‘Crucify Him, Crucify Him.’  I would be singing along ‘Crucify Him, Crucify Him’ and Wahid would always say ‘And you call yourself a Catholic.’  I’m laughing now because he seriously just hated that (he went to Presbyterian school and I think he thinks it is mocking God).

I see the defeat, but mostly I see the miracle.

I see the great love with the words “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”  I see the defeat in “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  But mostly I see the miracle in the faith of Jesus when he says “Father into thine hands, I commend my spirit.”

My friend Flo was suffering from cancer a few years ago, and is still suffering from the fear of cancer coming back.  It was a justified suffering and it still is a justified suffering.  At the time I was visiting her and as we were talking Flo said that she gets through all of this by ‘Giving it to God.’  This was said not in a Halleluiah kinda way, which would have left me cold.  It was said in an I am at deaths’ door kinda way.  I remember thinking that is exactly where you do have to leave it.

I can’t even tell you how many times I say ‘Into thine hands, I commend my spirit.’  Now that I am looking at death instead of pretending it doesn’t exist, what I really like about this phrase the most is that Jesus isn’t saying ‘Into thine hands, I commend my body.’

The body dies, the spirit lives on.

Jesus seven last statements from the cross come from different books of the bible.  I don’t know the exact order, nor does anyone.  I love them.  I love them even more for me and the promise they give me that I will see my family once again.

"Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

"Woman, behold your son."  “Behold your mother.”

“My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

"I thirst."

"It is finished."

"Father into thine hands, I commend my spirit."

Thank you.


Unknown said...

this is so beautiful Renee....You have brought a tear to my eye...and a special warmth to my heart....

I feel blessed to meet you and share in your wisdom too...

Bless you!


Jennifer said...

Renee, thank you for bringing us this post again. You put the spirituality of Good Friday in the palm of my hand by expressing it so concretely via your own feelings and experiences.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you brought this post to my attention.I didn't read it last year. Your spirituality touches my heart.Blessings, Barb

Alli said...

This was an incredibly beautiful post...Thank you!!

Deborah said...

This is beautiful. I love Good Friday too. When the children were small and we participated in Children's Mass, I was asked to play Mary Magdalene three years in a row. I loved being her. I identified with her pain, of being lost and then found. I think only a Catholic understands why we love Good Friday...It makes Easter Sunday all the more glorious to have carried just a spliter of His pain. I do believe, I do believe.