Catechism of the Catholic Church

626 Part Four The priestly prayer of Jesus holds a unique place in the economy of salvation. 52 A meditation on it will conclude Section One. It reveals the ever present prayer of our High Priest and, at the same time, contains what he teaches us about our prayer to our Father, which will be developed in Section Two. 2605 When the hour had come for him to fulfill the Father’s plan of love, Jesus allows a glimpse of the boundless depth of his filial prayer, not only before he freely delivered himself up (“ Abba  . . . not my will, but yours.”), 53 but even in his last words on the Cross, where prayer and the gift of self are but one: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”; 54 “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”; 55 “Woman, behold your son”—“Behold your mother”; 56 “I thirst”; 57 “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”; 58 “It is finished”; 59 “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” 60 until the “loud cry” as he expires, giving up his spirit. 61 2606 All the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up in this cry of the incarnate Word. Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them by raising his Son. Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation. The Psalter gives us the key to prayer in Christ. In the “today” of the Resurrection the Father says: “You are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” 62 The Letter to the Hebrews expresses in dramatic terms how the prayer of Jesus accomplished the victory of salvation: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suf­ fered, and being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” 63 52 Cf. Jn 17. 53 Lk 22:42. 54 Lk 23:34. 55 Lk 23:43. 56 Jn 19:26-27. 57 Jn 19:28. 58 Mk 15:34; cf. Ps 22:2. 59 Jn 19:30. 60 Lk 23:46. 61 Cf. Mk 15:37; Jn 19:30b. 62 Ps 2:7-8; cf. Acts 13:33. 63 Heb 5:7-9. 2746 614 403 653 2587