April / May - 2020 Vol. 109

Jesus on cross with his mother and John looking
                  on - painting by John Dunne
“Mother behold your son; son behold your mother” – John 19:26,27

The Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ from the Cross
.images and reflections by John Dunne

John Dunne is a noted Irish painter. He and his wife are members of Nazareth Community in Dublin, Ireland. His interests include theology and its relationship to art. He has a degree in theology.
The images and reflections in this short reflection have matured over a period of three years. A combination of the visual and written word they are presented as a possible starting point for your own reflections on the subject. And what a subject to reflect on- 'The Passion of Jesus Christ' - Written about and depicted in paintings and film -it is ever new. A source of wonder, and a resource, that can renew the spiritual lives of those who take the time to enter the event. The 'Seven Last Words' have proved to be a rich source for musicians and a number of great composers including Haydn and Gubaidulina have embellished the sayings of Jesus with moving works of art.

The last Words have come down to us from the Christian Gospel writers and reflect the understanding  each evangelist had in their   account of the events of the Passion- they form a composite- for each of the accounts are different. The 'Words' do not stand alone, but are extracted from the Psalms or writings from the Jewish Old Testament. Those standing around the cross at the crucifixion of Jesus would have known these Psalms and recognized that Jesus was quoting from them-or rather they were wrung from him in his terrible pain. Traditionally these 'Words' follow a sequence- from the 'The Word of Forgiveness' to 'The Word of Committal' - a movement from forgiveness to abandonment - the royal road of conversion. The starting point of a journey that opens out and in, beyond the simple words spoken by Christ. This journey of the Passion began with reflection and the words spoken, images replaced the words, images that reflect my understanding of the events of the 'Passion' and of the person of Jesus- I was finally led back to the 'Words' and reflection.

» Click on each photo below to access page for reflection and meditation

                                      by John Dunne- box 1

The Word of Forgiveness

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do”
– Luke 23:34

John Dunne art - box 2

The Word of Salvation

“Behold you will be with me in paradise”
– Luke 23:43

                                      Dunne art3 box 3

The Word of Affection

“Mother behold your son; son behold your mother”
– John 19:26,27

John Dunne art - box 4
The Word of Physical Torment

“I thirst” – John 19:26

John Dunne art5 - box 5

The Word of Despair

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
– Matthew 27:47; Mark 15:34

                                      Dunne art6 box6

The Word of Commital

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”
– Luke 23: 46

                                      Dunne art7 box7

The Word of Triumph

“It is accomplished”
– John 19:30

Links to Reflections / Meditations  >  "Intro" "1" > "2" > "3" > "4" > "5" > "6"  > "7"

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