The cry “I Thirst” from Jesus on the cross is usually associated with intense suffering, and justly so. He was pierced for our offenses and crushed for our sins. But “I Thirst” is also an expression of Jesus’ deep desire for a relationship with us–-quite literally, a thirsting for our love.
Reflections on Jesus’ last words are fitting for Lent, but what about afterwards, in the jubilation of the Resurrection? Can the words of the crucified Lord be applicable to the joyous weeks of the Easter season? The answer is: yes, they can, and the insights of Fr. Robert Conroy (MC) at a recent campus retreat helped AMU students figure out how.
Missionaries of Charity priest Fr. Conroy traveled from his residence in Mexico City to lead AMU students in a retreat on campus in the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel. Through talks, guided meditations, a holy hour and confessions, Fr. Conroy offered insights focusing on “I Thirst,” Jesus’ cry for souls from the cross.
“What’s your spiritual blood pressure?” Fr. Conroy challenged students. In other words, Where are your hearts? Are they guarded by Mary, present at the foot of the Cross, willing to suffer with Jesus for souls and to do His Will in all things? Considerations such as these, formed by the theme of the retreat, might seem incompatible with Easter, but Fr. Conroy gave advice on how the suffering of the cross carries us through to the joy of the Easter season.
We need to become spiritually childlike, he explained. Children are cheerful, even in the toughest times. The virtues of purity, humility, and total trust belong to children, and they can belong to us too if we present ourselves to Our Lady, our spiritual mother. She can give us hearts of children, hearts that are spontaneous, trusting, and eager to follow wherever God leads. “Stay with Mary,” Fr. Conroy urged. “Don’t be afraid. Pray the rosary, and she will show you the way!” The key to moving from Good Friday’s sorrow to Easter’s joy lies in Mary, Our Mother, who served the Lord with unabashed trust. She can show us how to “give Jesus the wine to drink of our service” and respond to His thirst for love.
Fr. Conroy, born in 1961 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a Missionary of Charity priest who works in both rural and urban areas with native peoples and the homeless, alcoholics, drug addicts, and gang members in prison. His ministry also includes retreat work with priests, religious, and lay people. He has been active for nearly 30 years in over 30 countries. He is currently editing the work of Fr. Joseph Langford, cofounder of the MC Fathers with St. Teresa of Calcutta, for future publication.