'Father, Forgive Them, For They Do Not Know What They Do'

He is on the cross, suffering in pain, mocked and tortured, and asks forgiveness for others.

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

That might be all you need to know to understand who Jesus Christ is and how he lived, but of course there is so much more.

On Thursday in the Xavier gym, the annual Lenten Prayer Service  focused on the Seven Last Words of Jesus, or the seven times Jesus spoke from the cross, a popular and traditional way of commemorating the sacrifice of Jesus on Good Friday.  

Each of the Seven Last Words, which are the last utterances from the cross, tells us more and more about Jesus and provides us with examples on how we should live our lives. There is love, there is mercy, there is faith, there is concern, there is compassion.

Peer Ministers Nucci Delaney, Adam Carroll, Wes Harris, Liam Houchin, Brian Satrohan, and Connor Silbo read and explained the Seven Last Words. After each there was a prayer and a time for reflection as music played.

At the conclusion of the service, Brother Philip Revell, C.F.X., reminded us: “He paid the price. Such a great sacrifice to offer us the gift of eternal life. Help us never to take for granted this huge gift of love from our Father. … Forgive us for being too busy or too distracted by other things, for not fully recognizing what you have freely given, what you have done for us.”

Thursday also marked the beginning of the holiest time of the Church year, the Easter Triduum, which runs from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday. On behalf of everyone at Xavier, we wish for you a meaningful next few days and a joyous Easter. 

The Seven Last Words:

  1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
  2. “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
  3. “Woman, behold, your son. . . .Behold, your mother.” (John 19:26–27)
  4. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34)
  5. “I thirst.” (John 19:28)
  6. “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
  7. “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46)