Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Legend of the Dogwood, for Good Friday

Have you heard of "The Legend of the Dogwood"?
Look at a dogwood flower: each delicate white or pink blossom of the dogwood tree is in the form of a cross – two long and two short petals. 

Upon even closer observation, you'll see on the outer edge of each petal small holes resembling nail prints. The tips of the petals are rusty on one side and brown-red on the other. It is not hard to imagine the holes represent the place where spikes pierced the hands and feet of Our Lord on the Cross. 

Finally, in the center of the flower there is a green cluster that recalls the crown of thorns...thus a legend was born:

At the time of Our Lord’s Crucifixion, the dogwood used to have the size of the mighty oak tree. Because the wood was so firm and strong, it was chosen to be the timber for the crosses used in crucifixions of criminals. 

Thus, the wood of the cross that would bear Our Lord and Savior was made from the dogwood tree. To be used for such a cruel purpose, however, greatly distressed the tree. Sensing this, the crucified Christ said to it: 

“Because of your compassion and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth, you shall be slender and bent and twisted and your blossoms shall be in the form of a cross. 

“On the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, and the center of the flower will resemble the cruel crown of thorns placed on My head, with bright red clusters once again recalling the blood I shed. Thus, all who see this will remember Me.” 

When and where the legend first appeared is unknown. But the “how” of its origin is clear. It was a profound love of Christ that inspired the legend.  "The Legend of the Dogwood" is one of the most unique of the old stories handed down in the South where Dogwoods typically bloom every spring during March and April.

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