The Hill of the Sorrowful Mysteries, Assisi
- The Agony in the Garden
we start the gentle, winding climb
to Francesco’s cave
But my heart is far away…
trying to meditate on the agonies of the Savior,
when I am really overwhelmed by my own agonies
And somehow, I miss:
that the One in Agony plumbed the depths of loneliness.
- Scourging at the Pillar
Trying to think on His bleeding back
when all my mind can see
is my own bleeding heart.
And I hate the feeling of being unknown, unseen…
no less than the inability to control the feeling.
And wrestling angrily
with my thoughts
Somehow, I miss:
that this One with the bloody, mutilated back is the One thinking of me.
- Crowning with Thorns
I condemn myself for the failure to focus
on the taunting jeers and crown
rained on the head of Love:
overwhelmed by this feeling of inability to love
while the more I want to fight it, the harder it becomes:
to think on anything
And still, I miss:
that only Love Itself has the power to love in the face of anything
and we, only through surrendering to Him.
- Carrying of the Cross
I keep plodding up this path, with Christ,
who carries up His hill
our Cross, and our failures.
And I hear Him call: “Let go, and let me carry this:
“your loneliness and fear, your feeling unloved, unknown…
“let me give you love
to reach out.”
And still I miss it:
How to stop trying… and to let Him do?
To complete the journey, we come back down,
to a night in adoration
Before the Crucified.
And my weary heart hits the bottom in exhaustion
Realizing I don’t even have the strength to reach for His hem.
I let go, praying:
reach for me.
And I see what I missed:
That in this loneliness, I find Him,
and in this fear and unsatisfied thirst, I find intimacy
with the thirsty One.
The Mount of the Stations of the Cross, Medjugorje:
Of rocks on bare feet: wet, cold, dirty rocks…
dirty and wet with the blood of the Crucified One.
And the sharpness of the thorns upon that head.
And we begin to climb…
The sky covered with thick, black clouds
pouring the tears of heaven upon the Crucified One.
And the darkness that envelops His heart, heavy with the world’s darkness.
And we climb again…
The weight of this drenched coat on my shoulders.
drenched with the blood and tears of the Man of Sorrows.
And the heaviness of the Cross upon His shoulders.
As we keep climbing.
Of voices lifted in songs of praise and awe
to the Man Who saved us by His sorrows.
And the sound of cries: “Crucify Him!” uttered for us.
As we climb again.
Sharp, heavy, loud, and dark: all piercing
my mind and heart, distracted by fears and woundedness
and self-accusation at the distraction
even on this sacred journey with the Son of God.
And the piercing of His Heart for my cleansing.
And we reach the top.
Breaking through the clouds, and reflecting the bow of His promise,
wrapping over the whole mountain
where the Son hangs in death, to fulfill that promise.
And the light breaking into my heart, with a call:
as we stand at the summit.
this burden of self-centered accusation, of self-condemnation
that He died to keep off my shoulders
to let the Savior save, to let the Lover love, to let God be God:
and leave my self-made yoke in this rock-hewn tomb, buried with Him,
to walk back down, into resurrection.
moving my heart to respond, opening fingers tightly clenched
on this stone in my hand, the physical sign of this burden:
and I let it fall to the ground.
and I start walking down…