“CONSUMMATUM EST” – “IT IS CONSUMMATED”
I. “Such are the last words with which the Saviour, dying on the cross, accomplishes this day His sacrifice: such are the last sighs which the holy women and the beloved disciple gather from His dying lips; such the last instructions which they receive from their kind Master.
Thus it is that He leaves this earth, and that He leaves His dear disciples agitated equally by grief at losing Him, and by the profound mystery of this last utterance: ‘Consummatum est’? All is accomplished, as regards his Father’s justice, the malice of men, and His love.
Jesus Christ having nothing more to do for us on earth, the great sacrifice being offered, and all the ancient figures fulfilled; Jerusalem having filled up the measure of its fathers; all the oracles of the Prophets being explained, the true worship established, His Father’s glory vindicated, the course of His ministry ended; not being able to leave men any greater proofs of His love, He declares that all is accomplished: ‘Consummatum est.’ He bows His Head; He utters a loud cry to heaven; He dies, and gives back to his Father the life and soul which He had received from Him.
Look at this divine Saviour expiring on the cross, and looking to you alone as the reward of His sufferings; He dies your liberator, He dies in your stead; He dies in Time, in order that you may not die in Eternity; He dies because He loves you, He dies, because you do not love Him. Can your tenderness, your grief, your gratitude know any limits here? And are you not anathema if you love not Jesus Christ crucified?
II. Those who are looking upon Him dying say to Him: ‘Come down from the cross, and we will believe in You,’ but we ought to use quite different language towards Him.
‘It is because You are raised upon the cross, O my Saviour, it is because You are dying today for me, choosing this throne of ignominy on which to be our Victim and our Pontiff; it is for these very reasons that all our consolation is to believe in You, and to adore You as our mediator, and to consecrate to You what remains of our life.
Do not descend from this sacred wood, where You are the only hope of Your people. Rather draw us thither with You, as You have promised us; the more we see You saturated with reproaches, the more our faith is increased, our hope strengthened, our love inflamed.
Can so much pain and suffering offered for us, be of no avail? – Would You have redeemed our souls at such a great price, if You had been willing to let them perish? – And would You have died such a death of ignominy, if we were not by sharing in Your suffering, to become participators one day in the glory of our immortality?”
– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905