Lord in Barren Lands

by Maria Grizzetti

Donatello, The Penitent Magdalene | 1453-1455, Carved white poplar | Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Firenze

Donatello, The Penitent Magdalene | 1453-55, Carved white poplar | Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Firenze




What comfort shall we seek,

What exile must we trod,

Till toil exhaust and bind

In these now barren lands.


“I speak of heaven

Amid the desert sands,

I fast with you, and for you pray;


The Truth, The Life,

Your Way.”


Sound forth the song of hope again

A lamentation sound,

A hallowed echo


From depths,

Cry to heavenlands.


“A temple I will make of you

My dwelling will be in you,

Lavish sacrifice bring here to me—

Anointed are your hands.”


This holocaust,

This consecration of each breath

Like incense

Shall arise.



From carnal fonts now poured,

Flows, sanctified—


Once fallen,

Now lives, redeemed—



Give life—give breath,

Give word

O Word Made Flesh,

Give fallen flesh


The strength to rise.


“Me in you,

You in me;

As You and I are One

May they be

One ”


A spousal oneness made,

Of two, one flesh,

One Love, in Three.




Our sacrifice of praise

On Eden’s threshold pleads—


Give life to hearts that long for Thee

To us, yet blind,

Sight to see—

Our bleeding selves now heal.

Lazarus, in us

Call forth anew.


That nard,

That wasted nard that flowed

as Blood then would—

That holy waste

Upon our flesh now pour.

Oblation offered once to you

Make new and fragrant font

O Lord,

In barren lands.


Now multiply that grace

That love

Which flowed from You

To You—

Break in us another alabaster vase;

From stone,

Cold, barren, stone

The heart of flesh create.


Savior, anoint these feet

Again, again,

Wash clean this soul.


“What I have done

Now you must do”


“And now this water

Once turned wine

I make My Blood for you”


Sate thirst that Cana waters quenched

That in the barren lands

We may delight in

Wine made new

Beneath from font of Broken Flesh


Above the desert sand.


And when this desolation ends,

When crimson seas part way,

When temple veils shred, and rend,

Show us the glory of the barren land

Made Promised

Once again.




O Holy Flesh

Take flesh again in me,


Another Incarnation make of me.


The altars of this soul

Awaiting sacrifice

Consecrate and purify.


O Crucified

Now plead for me


Hide not Thy face

From me


Rise once again

My Christ—

Enfleshed in me.



Maria Grizzetti lives New York, and is a member of the Lay Fraternities of the Dominican Order. You may reach her at: incarnationandmodernity@gmail.com