Photo: Caravaggio, c. 1602, 1604, or 1607
'An Antidote to Our Pride'
The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns
By Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC (Dec 12, 2014)
Thirteenth of a 20-part series on the Mysteries of the Rosary. Next week: The Carrying of the Cross
Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on His head, and a reed in His right hand...They spat upon Him and took the reed and kept striking Him on the head.
— Matthew 27:29, 31
When we contemplate the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, we recognize that Jesus allowed every moment of His tortuous death. He agreed to endure whatever had to be accomplished for our salvation. We should ask, "What is the Lord revealing to us by wearing the crown of thorns?"
Jesus was drawing attention to His mind, guiding us to understand the consequences of the sinful thoughts for which He atoned by the crown of thorns. After all, "[t]he mind is the root of all conduct" (Sir 37:17), so thoughts matter. We can get to know what thoughts create a distance between us by what He suffered.
Jesus accepted the humbling crown as an antidote to our pride. We want to rule our life, whereas, Jesus focuses attention on our need to follow His example and permit His influence over our thoughts. There are some who think not trusting God with certain aspects of our life is no big deal, compared to our other sins. Yet our Lord says that, for Him, trust is indeed a big deal.
According to the Diary of St. Faustina, Jesus told her, "Distrust on the part of souls is tearing at My insides. The distrust of a chosen soul causes Me even greater pain; despite My inexhaustible love for them they do not trust Me ..." (Diary, 50). If our lack of trust causes Him such anguish, what must sin do? Therefore, sinful thoughts have enormous consequences that Jesus took upon Himself. Every thorn He accepted was for us. He endured each thorn as an atonement for our unforgiveness, bitterness, resentments, etc. These thorns were real and not symbolic. Jesus bled profusely and died forgiving us.
We often fail to realize the consequences of some thoughts. However, reflecting on Jesus's Passion gives us an appreciation of how much anguish they cause Him. I cannot control the thoughts that come into my mind, but I can control how long they remain there. What we think about is always our choice at every moment of our lives, especially in prayer. When I can appreciate the atonement that our Lord took upon Himself so that I could free myself from these thoughts, I recognize and take responsibility for sinful thoughts that offend Jesus. In gratitude to our Lord for His willingness to suffer for our sins, we reverence each thorn that penetrated His sacred head and, while saying the Hail Mary, add mentally, "Thank You, Jesus!"
We can show our love for Him by surrendering our hearts to Him and praying, "Lord, out of my love for You, I will refuse to dwell on thoughts that cause You unimaginable pain." As we prayerfully reflect on His crown of thorns, we ask Mary to draw us into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding in the Temple
1. The Baptism of Jesus
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Gospel
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation