CNA Staff, Apr 2, 2021 / 01:30 am America/Denver (CNA).
The tradition of reflecting on the last words of Christ from the cross is a Good Friday practice popular in many places across the globe.
Some sources trace the tradition back to Peruvian Jesuit priest Francisco del Castillo, who in 1660 preached for three hours on Good Friday, comparing the sufferings of Christ with the sufferings of the slaves and indigenous people. Since then, the “Sermon of the Seven Words” has been preached widely on Good Friday in Peru.
Similar devotions were present in Italy and England. The practice later spread to the rest of the Americas and Europe.
Christ spoke seven times during his crucifixion. Catholic commenters have found these sayings to have profound depth and meaning for the Christian life.
Among his last words, Christ showed mercy on those who crucified him, saying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” and told the criminal crucified on his right, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”