spiritual life

The Third Sorrowful Mystery...

The Crowning with Thorns

The Crowning with Thorns upon Our Lord's sacred head, must be seen as part of a larger Mystery:  the Mockery of the Kingship of Our Lord.  It is one of a three-part costume the Roman soldiers dressed Him in:  the Crown, the Scepter and the Robe.  When we look at this piece of theater, the one Act upon the human stage which emanates like lightning, putting asunder all man’s theatrical fantasy.....what reveals itself to us?

The Romans performed this mockery in response to Christ’s alleged crime, “The King of the Jews.”  What motivated them to play out this obscene insult?  A fatal flaw, a deep chasm, a mortal wounding, took place in the Garden of Eden.  Our Lord's Passion is the culmination of this tragic event.  This mockery represents of every sinner’s response to God, the unwillingness to be subject to Him and give Him due respect as Creator.

One could not honestly look at Christ without seeing His innocence, especially a non-Jew, with no investment in the matter.  We know this was very clear to Pilate, which is why he “washed his hands” of it.  In order to punish so cruelly an innocent man, they had to disguise him-plunging themselves into the sin of committing the evil, whereas the Jews were guilty of ordering it.  It is common practice to dehumanize those you wish to kill.  Broken from the Scourging, blood streaming down His face from the sharp thorns of the Crown, dressed up and derided, they proceeded to carry out the death sentence.

Woven thorns, a reed, a red cloak....the makings of a King.  Why go through so much trouble?  Looking for branches of thorns and weaving them together?  Searching for a large reed and a red garment?  Why were all three components of the kingly garb so necessary?  Because they had to completely convince themselves and this can only be done by over-reaching.  We do the same with the unborn, with sexual immorality, with our quest to be Godlike in playing with every fundamental aspect of nature, whether it be biology, botany or physics.  Going beyond the pale makes it easier to commit the crime.

The Crown, the Scepter, the Robe:  three identifiers of a King.  Here we arrive at the crux of the Mockery, Our Blessed Lord’s Identity itself.  The words upon the Holy Cross were true:  “King of the Jews.”  And King of us all, only Son of the Father, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity.  This is His Identity, Whom the world must deny to commit its countless evils.  But the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith will never deny Him, the King of Kings.  The gates of Hell will not prevail against her.

The world will try to tell us who we are, who it wants us to be.  Our own pride will delude us-we sew our own costumes, make our own crowns.  But it is only in confessing the Kingship of Our Lord and entering into the humility of His Crowning with Thorns, that we can ever know our own true identities....who we were created to be.  O my Jesus, Who asked of Thine Apostles, “Whom do you say that I am?,” I in turn ask this of Thee.  Amen.

The Sorrowful Mysteries in a New Light....

I would like to share my time with Jesus and Mary last night....

I curled up on the couch and told the Blessed Mother I was about to pray the rosary for pro-life intentions. A minute later, I was hanging my head, half asleep. I said to her, "I'm too tired!" I received the inspiration to simply meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries as I rested. So I started thinking about the Agony in the Garden. Immediately I felt, "I'm not in the mood for this-I want to think about happy things." Then I got the ispiration to find something positive in each Sorrowful Mystery. I was confused at first, but I tried. What could be good about Our Lord's Agony? I thought of the times in my life when I have suffered with anxiety, sadness and other unpleasant emotions. As I imagined Our Lord kneeling in His bloody sweat, I realized that indeed, He walks before me always. He does not expect anything from us that He was not willing to suffer Himself. And I felt great comfort.

As I contemplated the cruel scourging of Our Lord, I thought of my own physical suffering with chronic pain. All my pain has been nothing compared to His in those awful moments. And the Crowning with Thorns...what could that mean? I thought...humiliation, mocking, persecution. Yes, I've suffered that too...in my pro-life work and also for simply being a faithful Catholic. But to place a crown of thorns upon the sacred head of the King of Kings....and for Him to bear it humbly....for me, for my sins....in this as well, He walks before me.

What of the Carrying of the Cross? This is the one thing we truly cannot bear-the weight of sin. We are forced in the Sacrament of Penance to give it over to Him, to place the weight of our guilt into His hands. So I thought of my sins, the very worst ones....and great comfort came over me, knowing that this too, He has taken upon Himself, leaving me free once again to run and leap through the fields of life. And the Crucifixion. Death itself. Even this, we are not to fear because He takes this upon Himself as well.

So where does this all leave us? There is nothing in life or death to fear if we walk with Christ because...He walks before us always! Our Blessed Lord's Passion encompasses and embraces every suffering we will ever have. Our pain is small within the vast expanse of His Heart. My half-asleep meditation on the Sorrowful Mysteries was one of the best ever....a source of great peace and even joy. When we take the time to put God first and exercise the spiritual life, we are never disappointed. He always gives in abundance and so much more than we even imagined. This must be a foretaste of Heaven:

"...eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him." ~1 Corinthians 2:9