The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross

and anticipating his last words, these psalms help us conclude our contemplation with the words Jesus himself prayed. No doubt this meditation—notably through the music and the works of art (I think here particularly of the Christ by Grünewald, to which Cardinal Journet attached great importance)—will involve a certain violence that takes us out of our comfort zone. But is it possible to meditate on the Passion without some interior pain, however little? That is a very small thing compared to the object of our contemplation. Right from the first bars of Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross, it is impossible not to be swept up in the drama being played out, a drama of cosmic proportions which the universal force of the music powerfully underscores. Here’s what happened to me in Rome one September 14, the day the Church commemorates the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. At the invitation of Peter Bahou, a Catholic Palestinian friend of mine from the United States, who runs the well-known pilgrimage tour company Peter’s Way, I listened to the violins of the Vienna Philharmonic make this music resonate under the vaults of Saint-Paul-Outsidethe-Walls. This book came to me fully formed over the course of this prayerful time. I wanted to see this music accompanied by magnificent works of art, by biblical texts, and by a meditation that would carry me even further. That’s the spiritual experience proposed here. I wish you well on your spiritual journey. Romain Lizé 12