Thursday, March 26, 2009

Seven Last Words of Our Lord

During Crucifixion, by the power of Our Lord, Mary forced the demons to come to Calvary and stand around the Cross, where She commanded them to remain motionless and witness the end of the great mysteries there enacted for the salvation of men and the ruin of themselves (Mary of Agreda - The Transfixion). The moment appointed by Heaven for the ancient dragon to be vanquished by the Son of Man had arrived, and Mary Most Holy ordered the demons to be present to suffer the confusion and consternation of witnessing their defeat. In this Holy Season of Lent, I thought readers might find it interesting to see how, according to Mary of Agreda, the Seven Last Words of Our Lord on the Cross affected the princes of darkness. For, with the pronouncement of each word, she records, the demons were given to understand the mysteries contained in it with regard to their own ruin.

With the first word, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” the evil spirits at last came to the full and painful conviction that it was Christ Our Lord who was speaking to His Eternal Father. With this confirmation, the demons in their confusion again strained with all their might to hurl themselves to the depths of Hell, and again found themselves prevented by the command of Christ’s Mother.

The second word was spoken to the good thief: “Amen I say to thee, today thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.” With this, they understood that the merits of His death in His most sacred and perfect Humanity, united to His Divinity, would win the pardon of the sins of man, who from then on could avail themselves of this for their salvation. The gates of Paradise, closed by the first sin, would be again open to man. The torment this caused Lucifer was so great he begged the Blessed Virgin to allow him to descend to Hell and be removed from this scene. But the Queen of Heaven did not consent.

At the third word, “Woman, behold thy son!” the demons discovered that Mary was the true Mother of God, the woman announced in the heavens who would crush their head. With this, they were seized with a helpless rage. Their fury increased as they understood that St. John was endowed with the powers of the priesthood. For then they understood the words of Our Lord at the Last Supper that gave the Apostles the power to renew the Sacrifice of the Cross. Therefore, the devils saw in St. John not only the power of the Evangelist, but the power given to all the priests by virtue of their participation in the dignity and power of the Redeemer.

The last words of Our Lord had a profound repercussion over the angels and the devils. The fourth word, “God, my God, why has Thou forsaken Me?” showed the evil spirits the boundless and everlasting charity of God toward men. For, in order to satisfy this unthinkable charity, the Father seemed to have mysteriously suspended the presence of the Divinity of the Son over His most sacred Humanity, thus permitting His sufferings to reach the highest degree so that they might give the most abundant fruits. Man’s good fortune in being so beloved by God increased the envy of Lucifer and his demons.

The fifth word, “I thirst” permitted the demons to see their total overthrow. In effect, they understood Our Lord was saying that His love for man was insatiable, and that, were it possible, He would suffer yet more to be assured of their eternal salvation. With the sixth word of Our Lord on the Cross: “It is consummated,” Lucifer and his legions understood that the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption had been accomplished.

The great sentence of condemnation that released the evil spirits to the eternal abyss came only with his final words: “Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit.” Then, at the command of Our Lady together with her Beloved Son, Lucifer and all the demons were hurled to the deepest parts of Hell. Blessed Mary of Agreda tells us, “It is proper for men to understand that Lucifer and his demons were restricted, lamed and weakened in their power of tempting human creatures, unless their sins and their own free will do not unbind them and encourage them to return for the destruction of the world.”

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