Right about this time of year, the beautiful dogwood tree makes its appearance.
We love it here in North Carolina—it’s our state flower! Small but instantly recognizable, the blooming dogwood hides among the trunks of larger trees, sprinkling its rose-tinted flowers through the browns and greens of the forest.
You may be familiar with this delightful denizen of the South. But did you know that it carries in its petals a powerful meditation on Our Lord’s Passion?
According to legend, the dogwood was once a tall, mighty tree, taller than any great cedar. Its wood was of the highest quality, hard and sturdy, popular among builders and carpenters for many different purposes. Because of its strength and height, it was chosen for the wood of Jesus’ Cross.
The dogwood was heartbroken at having been turned to such a wicked purpose. Our Lord, knowing the sorrow of the tree as He hung upon it, blessed the tree in exchange for its devout sorrow for His suffering.
The tree would no longer be tall, but short, so it would never again be used for a cross.
It would bear a blossom with four petals, in the shape of the Cross, to forever remind men of the sacrifice of Calvary.
The edge of each petal would bear a little imprint, tinged with red, representing the four nail-wounds in Christ’s hands and feet and His Precious Blood.
In the center of the flower would rest a small cluster, reminiscent of His crown of thorns.
When you stop to admire a dogwood tree this spring, take a moment to meditate upon the Passion of Jesus, so beautifully illustrated on its lovely blossoms.
The Passion of Jesus is a necessary school for every Christian—one in which we should try to advance throughout our lives. The School of Jesus Crucified is an invaluable guide to establishing your entire spiritual life on the lessons of the Passion. Written by Passionist author Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, this work includes meditations, devotions for Confession and Communion, examples from the lives of the saints, prayers related to the Passion, and more. Order yours from The Catholic Company today!