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Seven Last Words

An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus

About the Book

Based on his talks at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Good Friday 2015, the New York Times bestselling author and editor at large of America magazine offers a portrait of Jesus, using his last words on the cross to reveal how deeply he understood our predicaments, what it means to be fully human, and why we can turn to Christ completely, in mind, heart, and soul.

Each meditation is dedicated to one of the seven sayings:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

“Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

“Woman, this is your son”  . . .  “This is your mother.”


“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”


“I thirst.”


“It is finished.”


“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

With the warmth, wisdom, and grace that infuse his works, Father James Martin explains why Jesus’s crucifixion and death on the cross is an important teaching moment in the Gospels. Jesus’s final statements, words that are deeply cherished by his followers, exemplify the depth of his suffering but also provide a key to his empathy and why we can connect with him so deeply.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“This insight alone makes this book worth reading: Jesus endured suffering, so he understands ours. There is nothing more isolating than suffering, everyone’s suffering is largely incommunicable. Thus, in seeking to shoulder the sufferings of others we must pray to be able to hear the muffled cry.” —Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of Dead Man Walking

“As I sat in the cathedral on Good Friday, I listened to Father Martin’s reflections on the Lord’s Seven Last Words, grateful for the spiritual renewal he was bringing to the faithful assembled in prayer on this most solemn day of the Church year.” —Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York

“Spiritually rewarding and uplifting.” —Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York

A short but powerful work.” —Publishers Weekly

“An inspiring, spirit-srengthening resource for anyone bearing the weight of their own or another’s suffering. “James Martin’s compassion breathes through this book.” —Joyce Rupp, author of Fly While You Still Have Wings

“Tremendous... very moving.” —The Leaven

“Martin’s book keeps coming back to the central point: Yes, Christians believe Jesus is divine-but, because he also was human, Jesus’s compassion is deeper than we may expect. . . . Readers will walk away feeling hopeful-and feeling a renewed commitment to help others in our world.” —Read the Spirit

“When you struggle in the spiritual life, when you wonder where God is, when you pray in doubt and darkness, and even when you are close to despair, you are praying to someone who is fully human and fully divine, someone who understands you fully.” —America Magazine

“Martin invites the reader to inhabit the gospels; to live out the Passion in the privacy of the mind. He knows how to render the familiar-yet-strange events of Good Friday in such a way that the reader does not so much relate to Jesus’ experience as taste it.” —The Tablet

“Based on a series of reflections he delivered on Good Friday, 2015, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, Fr. Martin preserves the sense of discursive intimacy with which he conducted the talks, while offering the reader the chance to engage the traditional Lenten exercise of prayerful meditation.” —Vatican Radio

“Father James Martin is one of the most brilliant philosophical minds of our times. His prolific career as a writer has brought to us the insight and awareness of service to others along with the need to incorporate Joy into our lives.” —OM Times

“The renowned Jesuit, James Martin, offers reflections on Christ’s last words and refers to the type of ‘radical forgiveness’ Christ showed on the cross. It is very powerful, but very rare. Yet when we see it, we recognize it, he says.” —Crux

“Wisdom is sprinkled throughout.” —Stuart Dunn

“One of the most important religious voices in the country.” —Religion News Service

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062431387
  • ISBN 10: 0062431382
  • Imprint: HarperOne
  • On Sale: 02/02/2016
  • Pages: 144
  • List Price: 23.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: RELIGION / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth
  • BISAC2: RELIGION / Spirituality
  • BISAC3: RELIGION / Biblical Meditations / General

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