“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” 
How those words, 
remind me, tell me
of my mortality.

O dear Feast of Lent, 
what I can accomplish 
during your forty days 
for immortality?

Surrender Your will, 
my Master would say. 
And learn of my way, 
of obedience to the Father.

That is a hard task,
I thought. 
How can a mortal 
accomplish this?

By grace, dear child, my grace. 
Grace I give you, each time 
you say, ‘no’ to self, 
and ‘yes’ to me.

Love your enemies, 
do good to your persecutors, 
give without reward. 
Judge not and forgive.

This way you will be with me 
in my darkest, darkest hours, 
when sin does its worst 
to rule the earth.

It put me to death,  
High on the cross, 
I had the last word. 
I am the Saviour of all.

What shall I do this Lent
Shall I forgo dainty foods?
Or will it be the television set?
No, says the Lord, 
Neither of these is enough.

What then shall I do this Lent?
Shall I attend an extra Mass?
Or may be a bible study class?
No, says the Lord,
These too are not enough.

Oh, Lord, what shall I do this Lent?
Shall I endeavour to pray more?
Or visit the sick or poor?
No, says the Lord,
These are still not enough.

Lord, I  surrender!
Ah, child that is the word
I have been waiting to hear,
Longing to hear
From your heart.

Surrender your will dear child,
Immerse yourself in My love,
Learn of that love,
That complete love,
That took Me to Calvary.

Linger awhile my dear child, 
Lovingly gaze and gaze on me,
Till you know of My love,
That embraced all of mankind
To give him eternal life

Then go and keep your Lent
For good company you have,
Whatever you do this season,
Will be done in love for Me.
That is indeed enough.

Marianne Dorman

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A tree – a tree that gave up its life,
 wood hewn from my giant trunk
without thought of my pain
or indeed my creator.

Where would my lifeless body go?
Would some good come from it?
Would I be part of a ship?
Or a bridge or perhaps a home.

Would I travel far, far away?
To a land I did not know
Would there be ventures ahead
Of stories I could share?

Alas, I was hewn for criminals
to be carried on their shoulders;
To their place of execution
And all I could hear was death.

One spring morning
another criminal after torture;
Lifted my heavy weight
For the journey ahead.

He found it hard to carry me,
stumbling and falling many times;
he hardly made it to the hill
so burdensome I seemed to be.

Yet his compassion was greater
than my mighty weight.
To the weeping daughters of Jerusalem,
He would have gathered them in
as a hen does her chickens.

At the place of the skull
there was the usual mercilessness
of nailing the criminal to me
hoisting both of us high
for all to cheer or sneer.

“The rebuke has broken my heart,
I am full of heaviness.
I looked for some to have pity on me,
but there was none.”

Yet this crucifixion was different.
My companion was not everyman.
He is the Son of God
dying on my crimsoned wood.

“I am weary of crying; my throat is dry;
my sight fails me for waiting so long upon my God.”

Darkness enveloped the earth
To hide man’s dreadful deed
And to mourn the death
Of the one cut down by man.
I was a stranger unto my brethren.

Darkness enveloped the earth
to hide man’s dreadful deed
and to mourn the death
of the one cut down by man.
I was a stranger unto my brethren.

The only faithful to behold these things-
 the Galilean women, and the two He loved most;.
“Woman behold your son;
Son behold your mother.”

“You have put away my acquaintances
and I cannot come forth.”
 O God, hear me,
for your loving-kindness is comforting.

From my bloodstained wood
came a tremendous cry.
It is finished!
Your will has been accomplished.
At that the veil of the temple was rent
From top to bottom.

I asked when hewn
Could I do some good?
Never did I dream
My life would bring life
 To all creation
that would please the Lord.
Pray love remember:
What from his cross I heard him utter,
“I have stretched forth, my hand unto thee.”
Long ago I planted a tree of life 
in a beautiful garden
for mankind to enjoy for ever.
Yet he was not content to know just life,
the gift I gave so freely.

Instead he wanted to be the I AM
And make himself like me
To know both good and evil
By tasting of the forbidden fruit.
The cherubim swords barred paradise.

From that moment I have struggled
to rescue my people from their folly
I even made a rainbow
To remind me of my covenant.
Yet my people kept raging against me, their Lord.

Pray love tell me
How have I grieved you O people of Israel?
Why have you been so angry with me?
What wrong did I do to you?

What wrong did I do to you? Don’t you remember in your time of slavery
I delivered you from bondage
And this is how I am repaid?
Evil for good!
What more could I have done for you?

I led you  across the water and
through the desert with a pillar of fire,
but you have nailed me to a cross.
I fed you with manna from heaven
But my body was broken for you.

I struck the rock in the wilderness
To give you water to drink
But you gave me only sour vinegar.
Was there any sorrow like mine?
I looked for pity and there was none.

I led you into the promised land
Flowing with milk and honey
But you cast lots for my garment.
Was there not one passer-by to know my sorrow?

O Israel, I made you my vineyard
To bring forth sweet wine
But the wine you gave me was bitter.
What more could I have done for you?
Oh how you have wearied me!
But how often would I have gathered you!

Now I am lifted high on the cross
It becomes my throne.
I reign supreme,
Conqueror of evil and death.
“Be thou exalted O God above the heavens;
Make your face to shine upon your servant.”

I, now that sweetest wood
That bore the sweetest weight
Have glorious words to speak.
Never did a soul groan so heavily
Never did a heart pour itself out for love
To open paradise gates once again.
The cross has brought eternallight.
Holy God, holy and immortal
Have mercy on us all.

So pray love remember
You are no longer prevented
From coming to the tree of life
It is yours now
By the tree of the cross –
That faithful tree above all others
One and only noble tree;
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peer may be.
Sweetest wood and sweetest iron,
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.

That was all so long ago
when I bore the weight of the Saviour.
my wood became a priceless treasure
for the saintly Helena.
Broken up for holy relics.

Throughout the centuries
Many mystics have pondered
on the tree of glory
on that Golgotha hill
bearing the sweetest weight.

The Lady Julian praying in her cell
to understand more truly the passion
saw “the red blood trickling down
from under the crown of thorns”;
“the great, hard, hurtful nails in those dear
and tender hands and feet.”
She cried, “This sight caused me so much grief.
Could I share in this horrible dying?”

But the holy Franciscan desired more
than just to behold the crucified on the tree.
He prayed to bear the dying saviour’s agony,
of the imprints of His bloody wounds.
“Save me, O God; for the waters are come in,
even unto my soul.”

That also was long ago;
What of to-day?
Is my wood still revered?
Do people still pass me by?
In the poor and the oppressed
But the Lord always heard the cry
of the poor and prisoners..

Behold  a voice cries out
‘Christ is reigning from your tree.
He is alive; alive indeed!
Death no longer has dominion.’
The wood of the cross is the tree of knowledge.
Let us behold and adore it. 

                 THE CROSS

                  A little word,
                  But on it
                A mighty deed

               The blessed Jesu bows;                         surrendering life 
               in obedience 
               to the Father.

               Christ’s obedience
              Our good news
              Those fiery swords 
              In Paradise sheathed.

     O my people,
     What more could I do
     for your salvation?
     It is accomplished. 
       Do you know?
        Do you ever think?
        How gruesome is sin 
       borne on the cross. 

        Spend some time
        Gazing on My suffering,
        Mingled with love
        Flowing from my heart.

        To be My disciple come,
        Lift high the cross
        Proclaim to all:
        I am the Life.

Lord, from clay you made us, 
to be living souls
from your own breath
to live in harmony with you.
Too soon we strayed away.
Kyrie eleison.

But clay I am, and you the potter 
always shaping and reshaping.
However you make me
I am your child,
Fashioned in your image.
Christe eleison.

Your continual moulding turns 
pride into humility,
indifference to love,
faint-heartedness to faith,
ingratitude to thankfulness.
Kyrie eleison.