Saturday, February 28, 2004

Prayer in sickness at the foot of the cross

Alone with my pain,
my fears,
my anxieties,
where can I go
except to the foot of your cross,
O Jesus?
Here I know
how well you understand
the fear,
the ache,
the grief,
the separation that comes
from our fellow men
when marked out
by suffering,

Oh Lord,
who has numbered all my days,
I give to you
this sorry gift,
a drink of ashes and water,
and know
that you have drunk the cup of
pain and suffering to the dregs
and will hold my hand
each step of the way.

Susan E. Stone, 2004

On Peter's Denial of Christ

Saint Peter,
how often I have felt sorry for you,
for how, conflicted with fear,
you denied Him
even why you tried to stay near.

But Saint Peter,
how often have I denied him, too,
by my life choices,
by when I turned my back,
by choosing wrong,
by choosing to forget.

Let my tears of remorse
join yours of that night,
how reality pierces the bubble
of how strong and certain
we dream we are,
but in reality,
how weak we are without Him.

Saint Peter,
pray for me,
that like you,
I too may see
the risen Christ.


Susan E. Stone, 2004


On Jesus in the Garden 

Each beam of moonlight
peaking through the leaves
in the garden of olives
highlighted your growing struggle.

O sinless one,
how heavy the weight
of uncountable sin
must have dragged upon you,

how the silent night
must have shrieked within you heart
with all the evil
man can do.

Thank you, Lord,
for telling the Father yes
when your human body
longed to run,
and you could feel the separation
that sin builds
between man and God
in a way no mere mortal
could ever bear.


Susan E. Stone, 2004


Friday, February 27, 2004

On Carrying One's Cross

Dear Lord,
So often you have called me
to carry my cross,
and I behaved like it was just words.

Teach me to truly be willing
to walk as you have walked,
to understand the joy of loving
as you have loved,
even when it hurts so much
my heart longs to run away.

At the foot of your cross,
I stand there and gaze
at the price of true love,
and fall to my knees
in awe.

Teach me to be more like thee!


Susan E. Stone, 2004

On the Road to Jerusalem One Friday in Spring 

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.

Those coming into the city
may have wondered about the small group
on the hill,
wondered idly about who was being executed
so close to the sabbath,
and at the feast-time, too.

Perhaps they shuddered at the thought
of such a shameful death
coming to them or theirs.

Perhaps they felt pity
that anyone would die that way.

Perhaps they stopped a moment to taunt.

Did they notice
a knot of women
standing close,
oblivious to the soldiers,
or to the mockers,
lost in their grief,

Did they notice
how the sky darkened,
as if even the heavens
longed to weep?

Susan Stone, 2004

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Thursday, February 26, 2004

The First Blow

The whip travels in a descending arc,
three thongs carrying weights of lead
double headed cargo
to increase the impact.

The hand that wields is
the rough and calloused hand
of a soldier doing a duty,
of whose back it was in front of him.

Perhaps as he swings,
he thinks of all the looks of disdain,
the women who turn away,
the men who spit when he passes
and they think he does not see,
this strange people
with their strange hates
and strange language
and strange god,
and in retalliation,
he swings harder.

Yet his hand is not alone
on the braided leather of the handle,
his hand,
shadowed by every hand,
my hand,
my arm swinging the leather,
my sin adding to the agony
of that blow,
my darkness slapping against his skin,
causing him to gasp for breath
as it bites
my weakness the lead gouges digging.

Mea culpa,
mea culpa,
mea maxima culpa.

Susan Stone, 2004


On the Crucifixion

Suspended in that place
where heaven and earth meet,
an offering of
love unfathomable,
marked by the red liquid of life
given up in sacrifice.

You wait there,
feeling the life you give
ebb away drop by drop,
throb by throb,
swallowed up
by others' sin,
both scapegoat
and sacrifice,
a poem of love,
a sign of contradition,

Susan E. Stone, 2004


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Mary on the Way to Golgotha

How thick the crowd must have seen,
O Lady of Sorrows,
as you threaded your way
in that numbing timelessness
that comes with crisis,
each second seeming to last minutes,
your son,
your son,
his beautiful face,
bleeding, battered,
breaking your heart.

How much you must have wanted to scream
Don't let this be today,
at this moment,
even though you knew he was given to you
for just this purpose,
and the sword you felt
had been fortold long ago.

How hard it must have been
not to throw yourself at the guards,
to some how get them to stop,
to let him rest,
to give him a chance
to change his mind
and make this all a nightmare.

And yet, you merely told God
Your will be done,
and continued on,
giving all you had
until the end
and darkness fell.

Susan E. Stone, 2004

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Meditation on Ash Wednesday

Do I not here the bells tolling,
one for each year of my life,
how few the number seems
when set against
the starry sky,
the count of sand
even the flow of history,
how short this mortal coil,
this gift of God
this time of trial.

If it were not for you, Lord,
this brief short span
could have no focus,
no purpose,
nothing but a brief flare
dying out in pain and fear.

Yet Lord,
If we turn to you,
if we humble ourselves,
and realize who we are,
where we are, and what we are,
we will discover
you are the one who calls us,
you are the one who loves us,
you are the one beckons us home,
home far away
from the endless night.

O Lord,
You suffered so much to call us home.
With humble hearts overwhelmed
with the grieving tears of love and repentence,
may we turn to you
for your healing touch,
and never be separated from you again.

Susan E. Stone, 2004

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

At the Foot of Your Cross

let me find refuge
at the foot of your cross,
where you bled and died
so that I might live.

Only here,
beneath the cross
where you shed your blood
can I find refuge
from the darkness.

Only here,
beneath the cross,
can I find refuge
from the wages of sin.

Here at the foot of your cross,
I pour out my tears
like the Magdalene,
tears of grief at what my sin has wrought,
tears of sorrow for what you chose to do,
tears of grief at the need.

Here at the foot of your cross,
I stand with your sorrowful mother,
she who I once wanted to comfort
for her pain,
her sorrow,
her loss,
but who sustains me as I collapse in grief.

Here at the foot of your cross,
I confront the reality of my self,
and find not the condemnation or rejection I deserve,
but only love.

Susan E. Stone, 2004


Monday, February 23, 2004

Meditation on the Fourth Station of the Cross

How long ago you heard
the words of Simeon,
your dearest son
A sign of contradition,
a sword to pass through you,
and here it is,
that moment so long ago,

It is not a long walk
from the judgement place
to the place of execution,
but the way is filled
with the passover crowd,
and the streets are narrow.
how you have to struggle,
trying to follow,
to get close,
to see.

The procession halts for a moment,
and soon you see why,
as he lies there,
tasting the dust of the street.
An exasperated soldier
begins a kick to motivate him,
but for some reason,
realizes the futility of it,
and begins to yank him up.
For a moment you touch him,
try to comfort him,
feel the sword go deeper into your heart.
How deep the sword must go before it is over.

Susan E. Stone, 2004

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On the Love of Jesus

O Jesus!
How insignificant I feel
against the backdrop
of the endless sea of humanity,
the countless stars,
the numberless grains of sand,
and yet I know
you died for me,
you care for me,
you call me
with such love
I cannot refuse.

Such love demands a response,
and the only response I have
is to give you my heart.
Beaten, stained and battered
as it is,
it is still the best I have to offer.
It is amazing how you accept it,
and hide it in your own sacred heart.

Thank you, Jesus.

Susan E. Stone, 2004

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