Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit
Jesus addresses these words to His Father. The Father He loved so much and the Father with whom Jesus is one.
During his public ministry, Jesus had told to his listeners: I and the Father are one (John 10:30). Praying to His heavenly Father, Jesus said :
“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work you gave me to do” (Jn 17:4).
Now, here on the cross, this work was finished.
With the words: “Father into your hands I commend my Spirit”, Jesus surrenders to His Father also these last hours, these last moments. Moments of agony, moments of incredible cruelty. But Jesus’ attitude and reaction was not one of revenge, nor of self-pity, no anger, no defense, but only surrender.
How could He do this? His attitude of surrender did not come to Him only at this last moment, but he had lived it for more than thirty years. He had said: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me”. (John 6:38)
During his public ministry, the apostles saw Jesus perform miracles, they saw him teaching, healing the sick, proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven. But above all, they saw him praying to His Heavenly Father; praying on a mountain, in the evening,, or in the early morning. In this intimate friendship and communion with His Father, Jesus would know the will of the Father, and surrender every moment of His life to Him: the beautiful moments, the moments of joy, but also the moments of disappointment, of treated with hostility by others.
What about us?
As Jesus’ disciples we too are called to do the will of the Father. To surrender our will to His will. This seems difficult, because we think we ourselves know what is good, we know what we want, we know where we want to go.
But there is a hidden treasure in doing the Father’s will. It’s a treasure of inner peace.
We have to give up our selfish ways, sometimes by giving up our own plans, our purely human way of thinking and acting; sometimes by going forward in faith, by doing acts of faith.
Jesus commends His spirit, His life, into the hands of the Father. These hands had created the world; these hands had fashioned man out of dust as the book of Genesis recounts. If God can create something out of nothing, we may be sure that He can do all things. Even things which seem impossible to us.
Let us think back of our childhood. It was reassuring to place our small hand into the big hand of our parent. Let us have the same confidence towards our heavenly Father. It is such a relief to know that I am not in charge, but that God is in charge and for Him nothing is impossible.
Mother Julia Verhaeghe (Foundress of the Spiritual Family The Work) says: “Place all your hope and trust in God. Know that He loves you”.
In order to surrender ourselves, we should do like Jesus did: we should pray regularly, saying: “not my will , but thy will be done”.
We can pray for instance in the evening:
In the liturgy of the hours, in compline, we pray every evening after reading from Scripture: “into your hands Lord, I commend my spirit”. Before retiring for the night, we hand back to the Lord all that happened during the day; we give it back into God’s hands, so that He can do miracles with it.
We can also pray for surrender to God’s ‘Will every time while praying the Our Father,
as we say : Our Father, .. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done”. Let us pray it with conviction, asking for inner peace and surrender.
On the cross Jesus surrendered His life to the Father and gave us His Holy Spirit.
Earlier Jesus had said: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth”.(John 16:12)
With the help of this Holy Spirit, “He now leaves to us the task to set out on the way and to serve in that spirit which He left us in word and example”.(MJV)
After surrendering His life and dying on the cross, Jesus would rise from the dead. A new reality would start.
Also for us a new reality will start: after this time of Lent, we will be filled with the joy of Easter and the resurrection. Knowing that Jesus is our Redeemer and Savior, who conquers death and brings new life.