Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mary, Mary, Grieving Mother

O Mary, Mary, grieving mother,
in the shadow of his cross,
How deep the sword cuts in your heart now,
O such love at such a loss.

O Mary, Mary, grieving mother,
Joining prayer and pain with him,
How deep the sword cuts in your heart now,
As the sky grows dark and dim.

O Mary, Mary, grieving mother,
Calm and resolute you pray
Though deep the sword cuts in your heart now
Your eyes on Jesus only stay.

O Mary, Mary, grieving mother,
The Father lends you strength to stand
As deep the sword cuts in your heart now,
Those with you weep and hold your hand.

O Mary, Mary, grieving mother,
Your wounded son cries out with death
As sharp the sword cuts in your heart now,
As he gives up his last breath.

O Mary, Mary, grieving mother,
Holding your poor battered Son,
Embrace the sword within your heart now -
But know the Father's will is done.

O Mary, Mary, grieving mother,
Covering his poor battered head
How deep the sword within your heart now
As you tuck him in his final bed.

O Mary, Mary, grieving mother,
Your sorrow reaches Heaven's height,
Martyred in your sword-pierced heart now -
Angels weeping at the sight.

Susan E. Stone, 2006


Tuesday, February 14, 2006


The smell of blood was in the air, the smell of fear, the smell of death
as the slow process of the execution continued,
long after those who came to taunt got bored
and wandered off back into the city, the day's excitement over.
It takes time to die from pain and exposure and the need to breathe,
a tedious process.

The soldiers made themselves as comfortable as possible,
looking up at their charges from time to time, settling down for the long wait.
Dice passed the time, some, and the same stale jokes,
and daydreams about what to do once they left this crazed country,

Some onlookers stayed behind, women mostly.
The soldiers glanced their way from time to time,
occasionally exchanging a comment about this one or that.
These were not the type of women that looked at soldiers, though,
but instead, their eyes and hearts stayed focused on the man from Gallilee.

They held each other close, this knot of women
Chaperoned by a young man, almost a boy, sad and determined,
all bound by love and fear and shock and grief,
the need to pray, the need to mourn, the need to witness.

Swatting a fly, the centurion looked away from the women,
and thought about his mother, and his father's farm,
and wondered, not for the first time, why he became a soldier

Susan E. Stone, 2006


Monday, February 13, 2006

O Man 

Think, O Man, of that craving that has echoed down through the ages,
Like a bitter poison burning through so many lives.
It shimmers like a jewel to catch the eye, a brass ring just out of human reach,
But is instead a burning deceit that brings only grief in its wake.
Like a curse, this longing for control, for power, for might -
The dark desire to be our own god, and to deny the God who brought us to life.

Mother Eve, beguiled with a longing for more than she had been given
Contemplated the dark glowing light of that craving,
Power to know, power to do was the twisted promise in the Serpent’s lie,
“Be like God,” he said, and the whisper slithered into her mind,
There to be fanned by her own heart into a full blown lust,
Control promised in the form of a fruit stolen from the Owner.
And in reaching for what was not hers, what control she had
Wrapped in the delight of living in the friendship of God on an uncursed earth
Was wrenched out of her hand and the hands of her descendants
By the One who was far stronger than she.

O Man, how often you forget in your longing for that which is not yours,
That like your father Adam, you are naked in the eyes of your Creator,
For He sees the dark seed planted in your heart since the Fall
And how you turn away from His offer of healing as you chase after phantoms.
How the old Serpent smiles as the seed blooms anew,
As you burn hot for the trappings of mastery, forgetting your Maker.
But you will find that all the tools and trinkets meant to enhance your control
Cannot protect you from the pain of that separation,
Or from the reality of just who you are.

When life comes crashing down upon your head,
When the earth quakes and the mud slides and the waters rise,
You will realize, O Man, that you are frail, mortal, and not at all God.
Look! Your illusion of power is nothing more than a shadow,
A dark miasma, a fog that evaporates like smoke
If seen in the light of Him who has the true control.
In that bitter awakening will you admit
That the stories of human grandeur you have told yourself,
All those tales of your power, strength, and might are not enough
To calm the raging pain in your heart, your mind, your soul,
Or will you let your pride take you down all the way into the pit?

O Man, naked you came into this world, and naked you will leave,
and your works will eventually turn to dust, for you are not the Master.
And yet the God whom you challenge in your hubris and pride
Still holds out a hand in love for his creation.
Instead of that black darkness he offers you the light.
Choose before it is too late - He stands at the door and offers you his heart.

Susan E. Stone, 2006

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Bread of Life 

O Lord, Bread of life,
broken for the sins of others,
broken to feed the souls of all the sin-sick people of the world,
broken like a piece of bread
snapping in the hands of your servant,
Bread of life,
like that bread broken to feed the crowd,
unending supply until all were filled,
man, woman and child.
Fill me, O Bread of Life,
as I hunger and thirst for that righteousnes
only you can provide,
Bread of life,
Bread broken in your own hands
as you instituted that meal
which still feeds our souls long years after,
"Take" you say, "Eat."
Let me receive your goodness, O Lord,
Fill me with yourself -
I look and see the broken bread,
see the broken man,
as at that moment I am taken back to the place of the skull,
standing in the dust,
touched with the smell of blood,
and fear,
and grief,
and pain,
and looking up,
both to you in the white host,
broken in the priest's hands,
to you on the cross of calvary,
to you, at that last supper,
holding the bread that was you,
that is you,
that would feed your followers
and all the followers who followed them
until you come again in glory,
and watching, I know,
that here,
in this sacrifice,
this sacrament,
I find the peace that comes only from you,
and find the sure footing to my way home.


Susan E. Stone, 2006

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