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Lenten eResources Words of Truth, Words of Life A Retreat on Jesus' Seven Last Words

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A Retreat on Jesus' Seven Last Words
Lenten eResources
Words of Truth, Words of Life

The words Jesus spoke as he hung on the cross are among the most significant ever spoken. During his time of deep suffering and pain, Jesus shows us honest emotions—courage, despair, dignity, and acceptance. Our love for him grows even greater as we watch him face death and sacrifice. Words of Truth, Words of Life helps us explore the meanings of Jesus' seven last words so that we can be closer to him in his experience, so that his courage and fidelity can give meaning to our lives.

We share in his range of feelings: agony, forgiveness, need to take action, isolation, trust, and, finally, acceptance of a new future. His words speak to us as we contemplate any painful change in our lives. Not only death and illness, but any significant change—divorce, change of family situation, change of home or job—brings with it a range of emotions and adjustments. Jesus'  words reflect a cycle which we repeat often in our lives as we move into a new and changed future. 

Sessions are designed to last 90 minutes each, but can be done in one hour if discussion time is shortened and some small group time is omitted. Designed for adult or intergenerational use. Appropriate for youth. Can be easily adapted for use with older children.

Session One: Introduction to All Seven Words

  • We get acquainted with all seven words, identify a theme from each, explore the theme by matching it with a familiar incident from Jesus' ministry, and experience the help which can come to us from meditative silence.

Session Two: Words That Love

  • "Father, forgive them" and "Mother, behold your son."
  • Luke 23:20-34; John 19:23-27
  • We explore the feelings of Mary and John at the cross, and examine the way God's love makes us into one family.

Session Three: Words That Trust

  • "My God, why have you forsaken me? "and "I thirst!"
  • Matthew 27:45-49; John 19:28-29
  • We grasp Jesus feelings of forsakenness and abandonment, and explore ways isolation changes into trust in God.

Session Four: Words That Put Us in God's Hands

  • "Today, you will be with me in Paradise.", and "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
  • Luke 23:39-43; Luke 23:44-49
  • We identify ways we trust God and what it means for us to trust God.

Session Five: Words That Lead Us to New Life

  • "It is finished."
  • John 19:30-35
  • We consider what New Life means in our own lives.

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This is a downloadable, reproducible product sold with a lifetime parish or school license. Please read the full license terms below.

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This reproducible eResource is sold with a lifetime license for use within a parish, school, or diocesan office. You are allowed to make unlimited copies for use within your own community. You may also email these to members of your team or participants in your program. If you serve more than one parish or school, each should purchase its own license. You may not post our eResources to any web site without explicit permission to do so. Please contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for cooperating with our honor system regarding our product licenses.

Format: eResource
Product code: LR110
Dimensions: 8½" x 11"
Length: 35 pages
The Pastoral Center / LeaderResources
Written by Donna J. Olsen and Douglas P. Johnson