The Sorrowful Mysteries aren’t fun, nor are they easy to spend exorbitant amounts of time meditating upon. However, we can draw so much richness from them, so we shall press on with the third sorrowful mystery: the crowning with thorns (that horrid pun was not intended…but I’m leaving it in anyway).
Whenever I’m meditating upon a mystery, I need some kind of mental image to hold on to. Lately I’ve been struck by this image by Caravaggio. Note the way that the soldiers are driving the crown into Jesus’ head – don’t those rods look like they could be devil’s horns? Satan tried to win the day, to literally press pain and suffering into that holy head, and yet he failed.
I often wonder exactly how much Jesus felt as He suffered for us. Could He feel each thorn individually, or was it a collective pain? If He gave me the chance, I bet I could name each one of those thorns with a sin of mine. What would I do if my sins were pressed into my head like that? No doubt I would scream in utter agony and I might just collapse right then and there. No way you could then put a giant cross on my back, make me walk up a mountain, nail me to a cross and leave me for dead. I wouldn’t make it that far. Which begs the question, how did He make it that far? How did He not collapse from utter exhaustion after the trial and scourging? The pain of the thorns must have been enough to send Him through the roof with grief, and yet by strength that could only have come from God, He persevered. He stood up and took whatever was thrown at Him next. He turned the other cheek. He suffered and accepted with more grace than I ever have, even about the tiniest of sufferings in my life. In His pain and suffering, in His sorrow, we see love poured out without reserve, without counting the cost or keeping score. We see the face of love – bloodied, beaten, bruised – reaching out, still loving each one of us as the Father loved Him.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful and thought-provoking song “Crown of Thorns” by Danielle Rose. Her words are beautiful and poignant, against the still quiet background, inviting us all to meditate on this mystery from a slightly different perspective. Enjoy.