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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Under the Branches of Wood Flesh Fastened

Flesh fastened branches breathe Mysterious Wind

Carrying enfleshed silences of a divine cry

whose wordless harmonies, above deepest waters,

echo with terrifying meanings,

a fastness against which shores shatters even death, until

Life's dying drinks down dregs unfathomed,

Bearing away burdens never meant to be carried,

Buried. That primal Ache at last unveiled, a Threeness and Oneness

Given for love and by love received.

Hidden hells, of anxiety sheltered prisons -

Fragmented points of consciousness peering over masks,

Windows into bags of bones rattling infertile, alienated,

Frustrated discontent drowning in distraction, a gnashing

Suddenly stilled by the piercing silence of a dying God.

Poured out into every frailty, He descends

Where no one dares, into unbearable

Ordeals on which the weight of existence

Crushes what love for life one thought one knew.

There, a "close by" Threeness and Oneness "ever near"

Given for love and by love received,

Reaches out to grasp that hand who, pushed beyond every limit,

Can grasp no more: "Awake, Oh Sleeper! Rise from the Dead."

Bathed in shadows of Beauty's terror, sorrow, joy

Thirst for righteousness so seized drinks in how,

From the very fruit of paradise lost, the Vine

Makes this crushed commingling of grapes:

Every grape of each branch itself a moment

Ripening under the excessive presence of the One

Who overflows in time what Eternity foreknew and has already given.

From such fastened flesh flows forth floods ever new,

Given for love and by love received,

And that mystic wine now is given deep within a soul's secret cellar.

O Blood and Water! Humanity's crushed fruit surging with Divine Mercy,

Wash water become wine best, fountain of life dug deeper than misery,

Fermented in trial, aged by pain, poured out free,

Gush forth again for those you have entrusted

With such great purpose in times such as these.

O fruitful flesh fastened Tree of Life! You have become the banner, the rallying point,

That standard by which faith measures

The gravity of each heart beat, every breath

Between heavenly and earthly cares, self and neighbor, suspended.

Under this shadow, hidden in sacred secret,

One clings to hope's substance amidst the grip of peril.

O Sober Inebriation! In your Threeness and Oneness,

Forge us now in such solidarity of hearts as would

Dare beyond this present sunset with love's unvanquished courage.

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