Friday, March 23, 2007

O my Jesus, Crowned! with thorns ...

The Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ
By St Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri

Pg 258
The Crowning with Thorns


The divine Mother revealed to the same St. Bridget that the crown of thorns surrounded the whole sacred head of her Son, as low down as the middle of his forehead; and that the thorns were driven in with such violence that the blood gushed out in streams over all his countenance, so that the whole face of Jesus Christ appeared covered with blood.

Origen writes that this crown of thorns was not taken from the head of the Lord until he had expired upon the cross. (Corona spinea, semel imposita, et nunquam detracta). In the mean time, as the inner garment of Christ was not sewed together, but woven all in one piece, on this account it was not divided among the soldiers, like his outer garments, but it was given by lot, as St. John writes: The soldiers, therefore, when they had crucified Him, took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part, and also His coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then one to another: Let us not cut it; but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be. (Milites ergo, cum crucifixissent eum, acceperunt vestimenta ejus (et fecerunt quatuor partes, unicuique militia partem), et tunicam; erat autem tunica inconsutilis, desuper contexta per totum; dixerunt ergo ad invicem: Non scindamus eam, sed sortiamur de illa cujus sit.) John, xix. 23,24. As this garment, then, must have been drawn off over the head, many authors write, with great probability, that when Jesus was stripped of it, the crown of thorns was taken from his head, and was replaced before he was nailed to the cross.

In the book of Genesis it is written: Cursed is the earth in thy work; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee. (Maledicta terra in opere tuo . . . ; spinas et tribulos germinabit tibi) – Gen. iii. 17. This curse was inflicted by God upon Adam and upon all his posterity; and by the earth here spoken of we must understand, not only the material earth, but the flesh of man, which, being infected by the sin of Adam, brings forth only the thorns of sin. In order to remedy this infection, says Tertullian, it was necessary that Jesus Christ should offer to God in sacrifice this great torment of the crowing with thorns.

This torture also, besides being in itself most acute, was accompanied by blows and spitting, and by the mockings of the soldiers, as St. Matthew and St. John relate: And plaiting a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand. And bowing the knee before Him, they mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And spitting upon Him, they took the reed, and struck His head. And the soldiers plaiting a crown of thorns put it upon His head; and they put on Him a purple garment. And they came to Him and said, Hail, King of the Jews! And they gave Him blows. – Matt. Xxvii. 28-30.

O my Jesus! What thorns have I added to this crown with my sinful thoughts to which I have consented! I would I could die with grief! Pardon me, through the merit of this grief, which Thou didst then accept in order to pardon me. O my Lord, thus bruised and thus despised! Thou hast laden Thyself with all these pains and mockeries in order to move me to have compassion upon Thee, that, at least through compassion, I may love Thee, and no more displease Thee. It is enough, O my Jesus; cease to suffer more: I am convinced of the love that Thou bearest to me, and I love Thee with all my heart. But now I see that it is not enough for Thee; Thou art not satisfied with thorns, until Thou findest Thyself dead with anguish upon the cross. O goodness! O infinite love! Miserable is the heart that loves Thee not.

O dearest Mother, O ye Angels and Saints, please pray for me!
Parce Domine, parce populo tuo: ne in aeternum irascaris nobis.

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