The Making of a Mockery

A Rosary Meditation: The Third Sorrowful Mystery, The Crowning with Thorns.

“And bending the knee before him they mocked him … ” Matthew 27:29.

Here we have Jesus, dressed by those who hate him, dressed as a king. Wasn’t a very impressive wardrobe, was it? The “kingly” cloak thrown over him, a reed for a scepter, a crown made of thorns. And the Roman soldiers, the ones without a true belief in Jesus (I say “true belief” because they obviously believed that he was real and standing there in front of them, but for them that was as far as the reality of Jesus went.) bowed their knees in mockery.

Lots of folks believe in Jesus. He lived, he breathed, he walked the earth … And that’s as far as their belief goes. Lots of folks who believe in Jesus make a mockery of him today. And some of these? They’re very “religious”.

Someone bows before the Tabernacle and then, after leaving church, cheat their employer out of an honest wage by being lazy on the job. Someone bends the knee in church and then latter lies about something. Someone genuflects and the next day … You get the picture.

When a person does things like this they dress Jesus just like those soldiers did. And its not much of a wardrobe. But it obviously comes from the heart, doesn’t it?

“By their fruits you shall know them … ” Matthew 7:16, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … We all are given opportunity every day to express our love for Jesus. The wardrobe, the crown we place upon his head, is it of gold or of thorns? Because these things are a reflection of our love for him. These things tell him, and the people around us, everything anyone needs to know about our relationship with God.

Leading away …

A Rosary Meditation: The Third Sorrowful Mystery, The Crowning with Thorns.

“Now the soldiers led him away … ” Mark 15:16a.

I’ve wondered, in the past, what it must’ve felt like to be Jewish in Nazi Germany. “Branded” with a yellow star, packed into railroad cars, watching loved ones going you didn’t know where while you yourself were going in the opposite direction. Did the people being led away feel fear, disgust, hatred? All of these being led away by soldiers. Or how it felt to walk the Trail of Tears, going to a territory that was altogether foreign, watching as some of the people you were closest to died on the journey, no proper burials, no ceremony to mourn their passing, buried in forgotten graves. Did the brave warriors feel fear? Did they feel hatred? How did the old women and the young children feel? What did they feel while being led away by soldiers?

Jesus was led away by soldiers. They weren’t kind or understanding. They mocked him, placing the crown of thorns on his head. A fine jest. Did any one of them feel the slightest twinge of pity or guilt? Did the Nazi soldier feel anything? Was there any remorse at all? Did any of the U.S. Cavalry soldiers consider what it was they were doing to fellow human beings? Or was it just a job, the people only “things” less than human to be disposed of? Or was it a fine jest?

We’ve all heard people say things like, “No one gets out of this world alive”. That’s true. I think its just as true that no one gets out of this world without being crowned with thorns one way or another. At some point we are all led away by soldiers. The “soldiers” may take on a different guise, but the leading remains the same. And it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a Christian or not.

(And before someone takes it wrong and starts thinking I’m down on the military, I’m not. This is an allegory.)

So what does matter? If we’re Christian it matters whether or not we accept the crown of thorns we receive for love of Christ. Receiving a crown such as this outside the love of God no doubt counts, and it counts in a multitude of ways. But does it count for eternity? There’s the difference. And that difference does matter.

Pity and pray for the “soldiers” who do the leading. (Husbands leading wives astray, corporations that lead consumers “away” with less than healthy commodities, fellow high school student who … and etc.) “Just following orders, that’s all.” Not putting authority in its proper place, as in God and His commandments coming first with the will of men coming second at best, the “soldiers” that do the leading are being led by one crueler than they could ever be. When a Christian is led we’re led like lambs to the slaughter and regardless the crown we receive from men we receive a greater from Him. But the ones following orders, and it doesn’t matter who it is giving them, are the ones that receive a reward that’s dreadful.

“The four and twenty ancients fell down before him that sitteth on the throne, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, … ” Revelation 4:10, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … “No one gets out of this world alive.” That’s true. As far as it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough because if you leave this life with the Life of Christ in you then you DO get out of this world alive. And you’ve a crown waiting.

The World and its Blessing … Tuesday, April 23

Valentin de Boulogne - Crowning with Thorns - ...

The Crowning with Thorns.

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. “Why, what evil has he done? But they kept crying out the more, ‘Crucify him!’ ” Mark 15:14. Standing there next to Pilate, having been crowned by the world as a “king”, guilty or innocent, it doesn’t really matter to the world, does it? The only thing that matters to the world is getting its own way. Getting its own way is what makes a thing right or wrong, good or bad. Relativism. The world shrugs its shoulders and mumbles “Whatever” while going on its way. The One, Holy, Apostolic Roman Catholic Church is innocent. Oh, yes, there are lots of people in it that aren’t so innocent. But by themselves they aren’t the Church are they? Holy Mother Church gets her share of “Crucify him!” regardless, doesn’t she? Does the crowd shouting down Pilate make Jesus guilty? Of course not. Does the world turning a blind eye to all the good that God has accomplished through His Church make all that good (the university system which was brought into being by the Church, orphanages, hospitals, clinics, food distribution, disaster relief, political activism of the correct kind, the defense of life and its right to exist because its God-given, its championing true marriage, the saints and their examples, her protecting and furthering the Bible which wouldn’t exist without God having used the Church to keep the printed Word alive, and etc. and etc. and etc. and … ) disappear? Hardly. But the world’s reaction to the Church does prove something. It proves one thing primarily. It proves that the Church IS His Church because they treated Him the same way. And without knowing it the world brings upon us a blessing even when it curses us.

Today … St. Felix. Felix is Latin for “happy”.  He was a martyr of Vienne, France, with Achilleus and Fortunatus. Felix, a priest, was accom­panied by Achilleus and Fortunatus, who were deacons, on a mis­sion to evangelize the region around Vienne. They were martyred there. The world though that by killing Felix and his companions that it had won and that they had lost. But they brought a blessing upon these three in spite of the evil intent. They shed their blood for Christ and His cause and now spend eternity with Him in Glory. As Felix was being martyred do you think he was happy? Do you think he’s happy now? And what do you think about how the worldly ones that murdered him feel, and what do they think about it all now?

Jesus said … “Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake … ” Matthew 5:11.

Published in: on April 23, 2013 at 4:25 am  Comments Off on The World and its Blessing … Tuesday, April 23  
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Nazis and Klansmen … Friday, March 5

Adolf Hitler in Yugoslavia.

Adolf Hitler. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ku Klux Klan

Ku Klux Klan. (Photo credit: Paul Lowry)

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. “And Pilate said to them, ‘Behold the man!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with him! Crucify him!’ ” John 19:5, 15. The mob mentality. Normal people turned into pack animals. “Pack” as in wolves and also as in willing to carry their own burdens when Someone else is more than willing to help. And we wonder about Klansmen and Nazis. Its called “fallen nature”. But looking at that gives us a wrong perspective. The One who seems to be held captive here is actually the One who came to set the captives free. Luke 4:18. If we keep our eyes on the crazed people calling for death and destruction we’ll get pulled into that, we’ll become a part of it. The truth actually lies in Pilates statement. Rather than look at the crowd we need to behold the Man. Keeping our focus on Him takes us away from the Klansmen, the Nazis, our own lower nature, and places us in His company instead. We get to decide which side we’re on. Do we really want to stand shoulder to shoulder with Thom Robb and Adolf Hitler? Or would we rather stand shoulder to Shoulder with the One who shouldered the cross? The world is more than ready to run after the popular wicked. We are IN the world, that’s true. But we needn’t be OF it. Better to distance ourselves from that pack mentality. Remember that pack animals, when they’ve torn their victim, often turn on other members of the pack. There is no honor among thieves, not really. The only safe place to be, in this instance, is with Christ. He’s the only safe haven under any circumstances.

Today … St. Zeno. A martyr who was put to death at an unknown date and in an uncertain location. He was reportedly burned alive. That’s all kind of iffy isn’t it? Not much detail. But one thing is certain. He was no pack animal.

“Behold the man!” … “The efficiency of the truly national leader consists primarily in preventing the division of the attention of a people, and always in concentrating it on a single enemy.” ~ Adolf Hitler ~ And folks, be aware, because as His Body here on earth, the “enemy” the system picks out for people to focus on is us, Christ’s One, Holy, Apostolic Catholic Church. They crowned Him, they crown us.

Published in: on April 4, 2013 at 11:32 pm  Comments Off on Nazis and Klansmen … Friday, March 5  
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We belong in the Lost and FOUND Department … Friday, February 1

The Lord is my Good Shepherd

The Lord is my Good Shepherd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. “Pilate again went outside and said, ‘I bring him out to you, that you may know I find no guilt in him.’ ” Luke 19:4. Why? Why bother? Pilate had the power and the last word. Why make any show of tolerance or understanding? He was a Roman, and a powerful one. These people he was trying to placate? A conquered people who refused to recognize the gods that had helped Rome overcome both them and their false, in Pilates mind, idea of deity. Why not just stand there and  shout, “He is innocent. Now return to your business and do NOT bother me with your idiocy further!” He could have. He was the one with an army of trained soldiers at his disposal. The Jews had a small temple guard at best, and no recourse. So Pilate did this why? We all tend to engage in “people pleasing” activities. Primarily because, and this is just my opinion, we all want to be a part of and not apart from. The Bible compares us with sheep, a herd animal, for a lot of good reasons. Even Pilate, with all his power, couldn’t escape being part of the human race. I’m sure there were reasons other than this one but for now “people pleasing” and our tendency to be part of the group even when we don’t like the group (proving just how ingrained our herding instinct is) is enough to consider in a short space. We only improve when we separate from the herd. Of course when we do this, when we go away from the herd, we are no longer “a part of”. Leaving the group we become “apart from” and that’s a lonely thing. Without the group we’re lost. Lonely, and scary. Sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? That’s why so many please the group regardless, and never, ever leave. Who wants to be alone and scared and LOST? Not Pilate, not you, not me. But we miss the point and more than the point when we stick with the group. You see, it’s the group that’s lost. When we separate ourselves, when we think we’re all alone and lost? Its only then that the Good Shepherd gets the chance to find the lost sheep, you, me. Pity the Pilates of the world, the ones that stick with the group and are lost forever.

Today … St . Pionius. Martyr with Sabinus and Asclepiades. A priest from Smyma, Pionius was put to death with a group of fifteen companions under Emperor Trajanus Decius. They were arrested during a liturgical celebration. Known for his wisdom and abilities as a preacher, Pionius and his companions were ordered to make sacrifices to the gods and, after they refused, they were put to terrible tortures before being burned at the stake. Stood out from the crowd, didn’t he? From a worldly view he was lost, wasn’t he? As a member of God’s Flock, a sheep belonging to the Good Shepherd that found him, in what pasture does he graze now?

And so … If we’re childlike, being a lost sheep, being a prodigal son, being lost gives us the opportunity to be found.

Published in: on February 1, 2013 at 6:04 am  Comments Off on We belong in the Lost and FOUND Department … Friday, February 1  
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Let go and let God … Tuesday, January 15

Annibale Carracci - Mocking of Christ - WGA04441

Annibale Carracci – Mocking of Christ – WGA04441 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. “And they spat on Him, and took the reed and kept striking Him on the head.” Matthew 27:30. Have you ever had someone do something cruel to you and then, rather than stop when enough was enough, keep right on doing it over and over again? Jesus knows just how that feels. ” … and KEPT striking Him.” The world seems never to know when to let up. Its caught in a cruel loop, and in considering a “cruel loop” we can think in terms of war or pollution or crime or drug trafficking or whatever manifestation sin takes, and the world can’t seem to break away from it. People even include themselves in the loop, punishing their own mind and body as much as anyone else. The men striking Jesus with the reed were doing more damage to themselves than Him. His wounds would be glorious because they tend towards our salvation. Their wounds, without repentance, would lead only to a bad eternity for themselves. Which fact makes the continuance of such cruelty even harder to understand. But, there is always hope on THIS side of eternity. Patterns of abuse, with God’s help, can be broken. But it takes work on our part. God’s help and His grace aren’t free tickets to escape our own downside. Even after forgiveness there are still consequences and struggles. The forgiveness is free, the grace is a gift, His help is always there if we’ll just ask for it and accept it, but all of these things don’t negate consequences in this life or change our free will into something else. There is, after all His gifts, still our part. He tells us that we must WORK out our salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12. And a part of this work is to put down the reed and stop beating ourselves and others over the head with it. And this requires another loop, one that we should pray to be caught up in. His free gift, my willingness and work, His free gift, my willingness and work, His free gift, my willingness …

Today … St. Secundina. Martyred virgin. She was a maiden flogged to death during the persecution under Emperor Trajanus Decius in Rome. She knew what it was like to be the victim of the world’s cruel loop. That also means she knew what it meant to be Christ-like. Maybe the next time the world takes a reed to us she would be a good one to turn to as a prayer partner.

Quote … “To convert somebody go and take them by the hand and guide them.” St. Thomas Aquinas. Consider that in taking their hand we’ll both need to let go of the reed first.

Published in: on January 15, 2013 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Let go and let God … Tuesday, January 15  
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“Lord, lord, why won’t we do what you say?” … Friday, December 28

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. “And plaiting a crown of thorns they put it upon His head, and a reed into His right hand.” Matthew 27:29. I suppose we could call this Mystery a “Coronation of a Different Sort”. The Roman soldiers “worshiped” Him at this point. I mean that they paid Him homage, gave Him the respect due a king. And in all honesty the world is still doing this. Ever notice how some give the Kingship of Jesus lip service when it suits their needs? If it gets votes, or gives someone an edge at the polls, or spikes an individuals popularity, at that point they’re all for Jesus. But later, well, why call Him “Lord, lord” and then not do what He says? Luke 6:46. This is every bit as insulting as what the Romans did. But that’s the way the world operates. Our job, as Catholics, is to set a better example. We can argue doctrine and morality until the cows come home but unless we live it we’re doing the same thing those soldiers did. Paying false homage, mock worship. But we aren’t going to do that. We’ve been given a better Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16. And setting a good example isn’t as hard a job as it seems. It’s just something we need to take in small increments. The soldiers took their time putting that crown of thorns together, otherwise they’d have wounded themselves. We can learn a lesson from them and take our time off-setting the mockery of the world by doing the next right thing, one small thing at a time.

Today … St. Anthony the Hermit. Born about circa 468 at Valeria in Lower Pannonia. When he was eight years old his father died and he was placed in the care of St. Severinus. After Severinus passed away, an uncle, Bishop Constantius of Lorsch in Bavaria, raised him. While in Bavaria Anthony became a monk. He returned to Italy in 488 and joined Marius and his followers as a hermit at Lake Como. However, he gained so many disciples that he was forced to flee. Anthony then went to Lerins in Gaul and became a monk there. He lived for only two years at Lerins before his death, renowned for his miracles and spirituality. I think, after having been around all those saints and saintly people, just about anyone would want to run off to a hermitage. Ever notice how really good people get on everyone’s nerves? Maybe Anthony decided that if you can’t beat ’em you might as well join them. It’s as easy as doing the next right thing, one thing at a time. Do you know someone that you’d like to get on their nerves? Well, here’s your chance. 😉

Consider … “Hermits have no peer pressure.

Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 9:01 am  Comments Off on “Lord, lord, why won’t we do what you say?” … Friday, December 28  
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Tuesday, December 11

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. “Now the soldiers led Him away into the courtyard, and they stripped Him and put on Him a purple cloak.” Mark 15:16 & Matthew 27:28. Human nature is a funny thing. We tend to acknowledge certain things that we don’t honestly understand by derision. It’s an intellectual safety net. Let me explain. Years ago I had a close family member who constantly belittled certain things, making fun of them and speaking ill of them. The things they derided were very beautiful and wholesome but because they didn’t understand these things, and so couldn’t appreciate their beauty and value, they made light of them. It was a cover for their own ignorance. Buy making these things seem little they made themselves look big, and so superior. It kept them safe from looking uneducated, ignorant, or stupid. The Roman soldiers didn’t have a clue about Christ. But they would never admit it because that would make them seem inferior. Rather than ask, rather than seek, rather than be honest with themselves and others, they mocked. It’s the way of the world. The fallen nature of humanity hides behind false bravado to keep itself safe. In staying safe it remains in darkness. Stand for Christ? Stand with Christ? Be truly pro-life? Call homosexuality what it is? Defend real marriage? Care for and protect those that are, from a worldly perspective, burdens on society? You may as well get ready to be dressed in purple now, and crowned later. And there is no way out of it. Well, that’s not entirely true. There is one way out of it. This is a Rosary meditation. The Rosary is prayer, powerful and effective prayer. Offer this Rosary for the Roman soldiers of today, the ones afraid of looking dumb, and pray that they be given hearts open to the Truth. Keep in mind that the truth is more than a concept, it’s a Person.

Today … Pope St. Damasus I was the one who commissioned St. Jerome to translate the Holy Bible into Latin. Latin now being a dead language, which means it never changes and that means words retain their original meaning , is one of the reasons we have trustworthy translations today. St. Damasus was a deacon prior to becoming Bishop of Rome. He was sixty at the time. Deacons, who have a wonderful ministry within the Church, can be very proud of St. Damasus. Bible lovers can be very thankful for St. Damasus. Older believers can take heart because in St. Damasus God shows us that getting older has nothing to do with getting useless. Useless is what we become when we look at things through worldly eyes instead of viewing Life by the Light of Life. John 1:4. Being a deacon or engaging in any Church ministry, reading (and believing) your Bible, not playing dead just because of a few grey hairs and the onset of arthritis (they’d have to bury me, and fast) looks foolish to the world. But look at what St. Damasus got done. The fruits of his works, by the grace of God, continue even today. Does something look foolish to the world? Well, hey, what do they know? Better, who do they know? If you know Christ you know more than all the scientists, philosophers and politicians of the world rolled up together. Ask St. Damasus to help us all attain the Godly wisdom and knowledge and Christ-given strength that we need to overcome the foolishness of the world.

1 Corinthians 4:10a … “We are fools for Christ’s sake.”

Published in: on December 11, 2012 at 5:58 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, December 11  
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Friday, November 23

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. In this Mystery we see Christ the King receive an earthly crown. The crowning of a king is normally a joyous occasion. But not this time. Oh, the people who crowned Him, and the ones watching, no doubt took great joy in it. The world does that. Its perversity reveals itself in the sort of things it takes joy in. Here was the One who had driven the merchants out of the temple. See today’s Gospel reading, Luke 19:45-48. In the eyes of the world He was nothing but a trouble maker. According to the worlds way of thinking He deserved this crown, He had brought it on Himself. People praying outside an abortion mill are harassed verbally and physically. They’re trouble makers, they bring this on themselves, they deserve such treatment. Being a thorn in the side of the world brings retribution. A crown of thorns. Bishops take a moral stand for true marriage. The world calls them bigots, ignorant old men who are sexually repressed and take this aberration of theirs out on others. And they are crowned. The Church stands for religious freedom and is accused of forcing its morality on others. We see a crown of thorns being woven. Jesus was given His crown of thorns by Roman soldiers, government lackeys. The religious looked on, quietly approving. Today certain “religious” look on, but not so quietly. Certain “believers” seem to take great pleasure in attacking their own. The Church is the Body of Christ. When they crown it? They crown Him all over again. When you look at Jesus wearing His crown of thorns consider that, if you’re a real Catholic, you’re in all probability looking at what YOU have to look forward to. Luke 23:31.

Today … St Wilfretrudis. A Benedictine abbess and niece of St. Gertrude. Think about it. In charge of a convent and the niece of a saint. “Why can’t you be more like Gertrude?” “Why did the abbess do THAT when its obvious she should’ve done THIS?” “Why doesn’t she fill-in-the-blank?” Why not, why this, why that, how come, when will, where will. You know, being Wilfretrudis probably had its downside. We often think of being a saint in glorious terms. And that’s not a bad way to view it so long as we keep in mind that sainthood comes by way of accepting the thorns gifted us by others and by picking out those thorns that are our own.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary … She was related to St. Gertrude which means she was also related to St. Wilfretrudis. They were related to St. Matilda also. Must’ve been some family. St. Elizabeth said: “How could I bear a crown of gold when the Lord bears a crown of thorns? And bears it for me!”

Published in: on November 23, 2012 at 6:00 am  Comments Off on Friday, November 23  
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Tuesday, November 6

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. “Then all the soldiers, in the presence of the priests and pharisees, gathered around Him and heaped upon Him their blasphemous mockery and derision. Some of them bent their knees and mockingly said to Him, God save Thee, King of the Jews. Others buffeted Him; others snatched the cane from His hands and struck Him on His crowned head …” (“The Mystical City of God” by Mary of Agreda) There are certain groups of people that we expect, rightly or wrongly, certain things of. They’re supposed to act in ways attributed to or compatible with their station in life. We look for this or that “type” of person and watch for things. Its called stereotyping by some, profiling by others. Here we have two groups. Roman soldiers who are a rough bunch and willingly act their part. And the religious folks, those people we think of as righteous because they say the right things and do the right things. But saying and doing are outward things. Without a good, grace-filled inward system all the outward show is worthless. The priests and pharisees were the cream of the crop in their day. Or so it seemed. They were the “righteous” and proud of it. And here they are, knowing full well this Man is innocent, watching Him crowned and ridiculed as a worthless sort of king. They watch. It doesn’t say that they said or did anything here, they just watched. This we need to take to heart. When we hear our parish priest being ridiculed behind his back, and it’s almost always behind his back, do we watch silently? When we see construction of a murderous abortion mill do we set quietly by? When we know the poles are open, as they are today, do we stay at home? When we are silent, when we quietly set on our hands, when we stay put rather than move forward, for everything we DON’T do we allow one more blow of the scepter across His Thorn Crowned brow. We join the proud priests and pharisees in doing nothing. And are we proud, or repentant enough to stop doing nothing and DO?

Today … St. Atticus. ~ Listed in Roman Martyrology as “Martyr of Phrygia”. ~ I picked this saint for today because of two things. Two reasons that might seem obvious and silly, in that order. Obviously I chose him because he is a saint. Silly? Because that first sentence is all I found about him. But it’s not so silly really. I didn’t want to get sidetracked with details. Simply put, he is a saint and one of the major reasons for that we can know without knowing any of the details. We can know he became a saint by not standing quietly by.

Always … For everything there is a season. Ecclesiastes 3:1. Now is not the time to stand around watching. Now is the time to take positive action.

Published in: on November 6, 2012 at 5:09 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, November 6  
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