Franciscan-Clarian Spirituality Committee
The Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross
“It is consummated” (Jn 19:30)
Patricia Simmons, Associate
Franciscan Sisters of Allegany
In January 2018 our 30-year-old severely handicapped Grandson, Connor died in his mother’s arms. Then in March my husband of almost 66 years, Bob, joined Connor. Two very important people in my life went home to God within two months. As a result, this past year has been a time of grief and adjustment for me. Jesus’ dying gives us lessons in accepting the invitation of our God, loving and ever faithful, to live out the mystery of ending and beginning wrapped in one heartrending event.
This year I have thought often too of Our Father Francis as he lay dying. He, echoing Jesus, told his brothers, “I have done what was mine to do.” How did he know that? Or did he not know but just believed that the Great and Glorious God to whom he had given his heart and his life knew and that was all that mattered.
Our grandson Connor’s life appeared useless. Even as his body grew into manhood, his mind did not. He was also physically handicapped, conﬁned to a wheelchair for his adult life. What was his to do? Was there a reason for his being? As I prayed with and for him, I realized that any person who dared to love Connor grew and changed because of his being alive. He did more in his helplessness to serve the Kingdom of God than many of us with all our faculties. He did what was his to do.
In stark contrast, my husband had a very long and full life. He was well educated, had a very successful career, and fathered a large family. He made people laugh, he respected everyone he met regardless of their status. In a sense, he had it all! As he aged, he came to accept and love his own brokenness which was the result of extreme emotional deprivation in early childhood. He grew in his ability to love and be loved and recognized the presence of God’s grace even in his deep pain. As his health declined, he accepted the reality of approaching death. He was not afraid of death, but he wanted to LIVE. I believe that the peace and serenity on his face in death indicated that he knew that he had done what was his to do whether he understood that or not.
My prayer for myself, as age brings the reality of death more clearly into focus, is that each day I can resolve again to live and love in the power of the Spirit of God and so do the next loving thing no matter how small or unnoticed and leave the results to God who knows what is mine to do. It sounds so simple. And it is. But it is deﬁnitely not easy. Each day I know that I fail more often than I succeed in putting the will of God ahead of my own.
In the ever-forgiving love of God it seems to me that if I can continue to focus on that one thing repeatedly
I will be able, at the time of my own death to say with Jesus, “It is consummated.” And know with certain hope that indeed life has only just begun.
Ever-loving God, may I know when my time has come to depart this world that I may know that I have done what is mine to do with faithfulness and love. Amen.