Father, into your hands I commit my spirit
This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying.
It would appear that in the account of his death in the later gospels Jesus died at peace with his Father in heaven but what about us?
I found this beautiful prayer by Bishop Jeremy Taylor. It was written in the Restoration period of the 1600s.
I suggest that it be read not dissected, pondered not analysed and lived as well as learnt.
God, whose days are without end
And whose mercies cannot be numbered;
Make us aware of the shortness and uncertainty
Of human life
And let your Holy Spirit
Lead us into holiness and righteousness
All our days
When we shall have served you
In our generation (a) we may be gathered unto our fathers (b):
Having the testimony of a good conscience
In the communion of the Catholic Church
In the confidence of a certain faith
In the comfort of a reasonable, religious and holy hope
In favour with thee our God
And in perfect charity with the world (c).
I allow myself three short comments
(a) To serve the present age is all we can do
(b) This is his euphemism for the next life – what’s yours?
(c) It might seem to some that the bishop believes that we can negotiate a deal with God which will get us into the next life. However I think he is simply stating what we need in order to arrive at a peaceful end to this life. I am left wondering whether there is too little attention to this in the teaching of the Church these days.
Is the after-life the great after-thought of much Christian belief these days?
Easter Day next week and the last in this series; but Before the ending of the day will continue.