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.

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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 Crown of Victory … Tuesday, September 10

Rueland Frueauf d. Ä. - Christ with the Crown ...

Christ with the Crown of Thorns.

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. Jesus wears His crown of thorns. I say “His crown of thorns” because in accepting it He owned it. And why would anyone want to accept or own something like this? He is, remember, our example. Well, it occurs to me here is that to “want” something and to “accept” something aren’t necessarily the same thing. I have, as an example, a bad back. I accept it but don’t want it. Often as not it’s not the thing itself, like the crown of thorns, that needs to be accepted but it’s what the thing represents or stands for that we need to understand and accept. When we can see clearly what the thing means, what it represents or accomplishes, it becomes easier to accept. Perhaps even desirable. When I think of my bad back as something I can offer up in reparation and for conversions it doesn’t seem so bad. The pain is a little more bearable. So how does all this apply to Christ’s thorny crown? He had gained a victory, hadn’t He? A victory over the flesh in that He was willing to sacrifice it. A victory over Satan, who wasn’t able to turn Him from His purpose. And victory over death, with an empty tomb as the proof, was within sight. He earned what we might think of, with just a wee stretch of the imagination, as the first Christian martyrs crown. What Heavenly glory is conferred upon the martyr? The martyr’s crown is always painful at the start. It’s not the discomfort that counts. It’s the victory.

Today …

St. Finian

An Irish abbot and disciple of Sts. Colman and Mochae also called Winin. He was born in Strangford, Lough, Ulster, in Ireland, a member of a royal family. Studying under Sts. Colman and Mochae, he became a monk in Strathclyde and was ordained in Rome. Returning to Ulster, Finian founded several monasteries, becoming abbot of Moville, in County Down, Ireland. He became embroiled with St. Columba, a student, over a copy of St. Jerome’s Psalter, and St. Columba had to surrender that copy to Finian. I suppose that even saints have their bad days. He also founded Holywood and Dumfries in Scotland. Finian was known for miracles, including moving a river. Now, there’s this thing called “martyrdom by pinpricks”. The person isn’t killed outright, just tormented throughout life with little things. (Please note the plural, “things”.) It’s just an opinion but I’m guessing there has never been an abbot worth his salt that wasn’t a martyr by pinpricks. Think about Finian. Founding, traveling, helping monks in their formation, correcting, reproving, loving. The next time you feel pinpricks or even thorn pricks you might like to talk with St. Finian about it.

Consider … At the crucifixion Christ wore a crown of thorns. In Heaven He now wears a glorious crown, a crown above all others. When your own personal crown here on earth seems painful remember that you get to trade it in latter.

Your crown … Tuesday, August 6

English: Jesus Christ crowned with thorns.

Jesus Christ crowned with thorns.

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. “Every saint is a man before he is a saint; and a saint may be made of every sort of man.” G. K. Chesterton.

And every saint that ever was or ever will be has been subjected to, while following Christ, a crown. An example is a martyrs crown. And example of martyrdom is what’s called “martyrdom by pin pricks”. Little torments that, while not ending an earthly life, last a lifetime. Pins or needles or thorns we all, if we’re faithful, get a crown here in this world. It helps make us Christ-like IF we accept it in humility, knowing that while He was sinless and crowned anyway we rightly deserve ours. In the book of Revelation we see the saintly elders in heaven cast their crowns before Jesus in worship. Revelation 4:10-11. The crowns we receive here, regardless their size or severity, are gifts that we can offer up. Huge thorns or pin pricks, it doesn’t matter. Pain can be a hard thing to view as a gift from God. But the Father chastises the sons He loves. Hebrews 12:6. How we respond is up to us. Our response will be telling. Are we children of God or are we the offspring of another? Crowns, and what we do with them, make all the difference in the world. This world and the next.

Today …

 


 

St. Maria Goretti

St. Maria Goretti was born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890 (1890 – 1902). Her farmworker father moved his family to Ferrier di Conca, near Anzio. Her father died of malaria and her mother had to struggle to feed her children. In 1902 an eighteen-year-old neighbor, Alexander, grabbed her from her steps and tried to rape her. When Maria said that she would rather die than submit, Alexander began stabbing her with a knife. As she lay in the hospital, she forgave Alexander before she died. Her death didn’t end her forgivness, however. Alexander was captured and sentenced to thirty years. He was unrepentant until he had a dream that he was in a garden. Maria was there and gave him flowers. When he woke, he was a changed man, repenting of his crime and living a reformed life. When he was released after 27 years he went directly to Maria’s mother to beg her forgiveness, which she gave. “If my daughter can forgive him, who am I to withold forgiveness,” she said. When Maria was declared a saint in 1950, Alexander was there in the St. Peter’s crowd to celebrate her canonization. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950 for her purity as model for youth. She is called a martyr because she fought against Alexander’s attempts at sexual assault. However, the most important aspect of her story is her forgiveness of her attacker — her concern for her enemy extending even beyond death. Her feast day is July 6. St. Maria Goretti is the patroness of youth and the victims of rape.

And … The saints are the sinners who keep on trying. Robert Louis Stevenson.

The “I want to be like Jesus” Rosary

Rosary...

Every Christian wants to be like Jesus. He is our Goal. To be like Him, to be with Him. Sometimes we look at ourselves and see how far away we are from our Goal. Sometimes it helps to remember the things we have in common with Jesus, even if they’re just little things. Knowing we have things in common with Him may not make us any more like Him but it does help make Him seem not so far away. He doesn’t want to be far away. He came here, lived with us, walked with us, ate with us, to be close to us. And we can be as close to Him now as our hearts will let us.

I want to be like Jesus …

1st Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation. When it was known that I was on my way into the world there was an announcement too. I am like Jesus.

2nd Joyful Mystery, the Visitation. My mother went visiting, sharing me with others before I was ever born. I am like Jesus.

3rd Joyful Mystery, the Nativity. When I was born folks came to see me, and they were glad to see me. I am like Jesus.

4th Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. After I was born my parents were thankful to God for me. I am like Jesus.

5th Joyful Mystery, the Finding in the Temple. When I was little I’d hide away and no one would know where I was. I am like Jesus.

1st Sorrowful Mystery, the Agony in the Garden. I’ve prayed when my heart was heavy and felt like it was about to break. I am like Jesus.

2nd Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging. I’ve been hurt by people. I am like Jesus.

3rd Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. People have made fun of me and misused me. I am like Jesus.

4th Sorrowful Mystery, Carrying the Cross. I’ve fallen more than once under a burden to heavy for me to bear alone and God has sent me help. I am like Jesus.

5th Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. I’ll die someday and I’ve had my heart-broken. I am like Jesus.

1st. Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection. When the priest baptized me I was born new in Jesus, raised up from the death of my sin, my own resurrection. I am like Jesus.

2nd Glorious Mystery, the Ascension. I am with Jesus in His Heart right now, there where He is, so in a way He has already taken me to Heaven. I am like Jesus.

3rd Glorious Mystery, the Decent of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descended on Jesus, on His Church, and on me too when I was confirmed. I am like Jesus.

4th Glorious Mystery, the Assumption. Jesus’ Mother is in Heaven and she is my Mother so my Mother is in Heaven too. I am like Jesus.

5th Glorious Mystery, the Coronation. Jesus made our Mother Queen and that means she is His Queen and my Queen, she is our Queen. I am like Jesus.

I am human, God is my Father, Mary is my Mother, the Saints (living and dead) are my family, Christ’s Church is His Body and I am a part of all this. I want to be like Jesus. And in being like Jesus I need to remember those things we already have in common and prayerfully work on the rest.

Where do we find social justice? … Friday, July19

Pope John Paul II (the Great)

Pope John Paul II (the Great).

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. “Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.” Pope John Paul II. The crowning of Jesus was meant to accomplish a certain thing. Some think that Pilate, in seeing Christ robed in purple and crowned with thorns, thought that by showing Him to the angry mob he would be able to placate them with this, His sorrowful condition, and so be able to save Him. If this is true, and there are other views, but IF this is true then it was social justice that Pilate sought for Jesus, albeit in a perverse way. Justice via violence. Isn’t social justice, for the masses or the individual, often pursued in a similar way today? Demonstrators the world over work for the common good by hurling rocks and bottles while others respond with tear gas and tanks. Buts it’s all for a good cause, isn’t it? In the name of “human rights” and the “freedom” of the individual to make their own choices we crown unborn babies, don’t we? And for those same reasons we allow the mentally ill to live on the streets, don’t we? After all, it’s easier than orphanages or mental hospitals, isn’t it? Cheaper too, by worldly standards. Everyone has an opinion and the right to theirs (it’s called “free will”), and this opinion may be wrong, but if its real social justice that we want in life shouldn’t it be sought from the Giver of Life and not Pilate or the angry crowd? Didn’t they kill True Freedom, which is what they thought to create, 2,000 years ago by seeking freedom in the wrong way and in the wrong place? And in our daily living THIS day we will show the world what? A better way? Or a new crown of thorns parading as freedom and justice?

Today …

St. Macrina the Younger

Macrina the Younger was the granddaughter of Macrina the Elder and sister of St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Peter of Sebastea. She was well-educated, especially in scripture. She was engaged to be married when she was twelve, but when her fiance died, she decided to dedicate her life to God. On the death of her father, she and her mother retired to the family estate in Pontus and lived a life of prayer and contemplation in a community they formed there. Macrina became head of the group when her mother died and lived in Pontus until her death.

Consider … In reference to social justice and, come to think of it, life in general, there is this from Pope John Paul II to remember: ” Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn’t misuse it.” 😉

Is crowning excusable? … Friday, June 14

English: A crown of thorns in the stores of Be...

Jesus was crowned with thorns and the crowd was pleased. Why? Because being caught up in the moment they believed the gossip.

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. “An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded.”
Pope John Paul II.

They used a mock trial and manipulated a politician, Pilate, to get what they wanted. On the surface, if a person didn’t dig to deep, the thing almost looked righteous. To a stranger it would have probably looked like a criminal getting what he had coming to him. It’s easy to rationalize and justify. That’s all an excuse is really. A rationalization and a justification, a perverse mental exercise that lets us get away with murder. Or crowning someone who “deserves” it. Jesus did and does deserve a crown, just not this one. How many times do we make excuses so that we can “crown” somebody who doesn’t deserve it? We pass along “useful, needed information”. That’s what the people did with Pilate. They let him know what they thought he needed to know. They just left out certain details. That’s not a lie, is it? Or is it? Well, what ever else it is or isn’t it IS gossip. Lots of innocent people get crowned by gossip. Many of the people in the crowd who were unaware of the facts and could’ve checked but didn’t (its easy to get caught up in the moment), believed the gossip. Gossip poisons the minds of those who don’t know better and, in a way, they get a crowning all their own because the gossip and the gossiper feeds them a poisonous lie. And to them this mock crowning probably seemed justified. Just some criminal getting his just deserts. And when we listen to what the crowd says and give assent to it, who do we crown? Is the crowning, via rationalization and the justification that goes hand in hand with it, excusable? What do we do to ourselves and others? Who gets “crowned” really?

Today …

St. Anastasius XVII

And so … “The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next.  The power of the rosary is beyond description.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Enough is never enough … Tuesday, May 28

English: Jesus Christ crowned with thorns.

Jesus Christ crowned with thorns. But it wasn’t enough.

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. “Then he handed Him over to be crucified. And so they took Jesus and led Him away.” John 19:26. Have you ever noticed that, so far as the world is concerned, enough is never enough? Jesus has just been crowned with thorns after having been beaten. He has just suffered through a mock trial that broke nearly every, if not every, Jewish law pertaining to crime and punishment. And during all of this He had been mocked and derided by His own people and the Romans. For someone not guilty, for someone Who had done nothing but good, for someone Who had, at worst, made enemies amongst the self-righteous, you’d think all of this, Him standing before them beaten and wearing a crown of thorns, would be enough. But the world doesn’t work that way. There is never enough gold or power or bombs or drugs or sex or alcohol or murdered babies or fill-in-the-blank. And that’s because sin is all about “me” and “me” is all about what “I” want and “I” always want MORE. Self, self-centered, self- absorbed, self-interest, self-serving, anything and everything but self-control. For the world enough is never enough. Offer this decade of the Rosary that excess stop, and that thorns be plucked OUT rather than shoved IN.

Today … Blessed Robert Johnson was an English martyr. Born in Shropshire, England, he was a servant before he went to study at Rome and Douai, France, receiving ordination in 1576. Returning to the English mission, he served in the area of London for four years, until his arrest. Robert was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn with Blesseds Thomas Ford and John Short. Robert was beatified in 1886. If enough wasn’t enough to satisfy the world with Jesus none of us, as His followers, needs to expect anything less. Just ask Blessed Robert.

Quote … “Politics is a noble activity. We should revalue it, practise it with vocation and a dedication that requires testimony, martyrdom, that is to die for the common good.” Pope Francis I

Of thorns and laurel … Friday, May 10

Thorns

Thorns. An uncomfortable, and inescapable, choice that is ours and ours alone. Daily.

A Rosary Meditation … The Third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. ” ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ And the chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’ ” John 19:15. They made their choice, didn’t they? How many times, when confronted by our King, crowned, as He was, with thorns, do we choose the world instead of Him? These people, the ones we read about here, were content, no, they were literally hell-bent on following the world rather than the Christ. Lots of times people pick the world and its ways instead of God and His. A good example is following the government because a thing is “legal” as though legality makes morality. But it doesn’t, does it? You can legalize all sorts of things. Abortion, homosexual “marriage”, euthanasia, “eminent domain”, and more. Does enacting a human law change God’s law? Does choosing the world and its legalities (it was “legal” to crucify Jesus) change the eternal reality? Hardly. But if we don’t think ahead, and judgement is ahead, we stand in jeopardy, we risk condemnation, we risk eternity. And “what ifs” and “buts” will never make a difference in eternity. Rationalizations are excuses, pure and simple. At the judgement? There will be no place for excuses. It’s true that there are a few grey areas in life. This isn’t one. At some point we all have to choose Christ or Caesar. They both wear crowns, one of thorns, one of laurel. The thorns are uncomfortable. The choice can be too.

Today … St. William of Pontoise was an English hermit. He resided at Pontoise, in France, having gone there to take up the eremitical life. His hermitage became popular in the region. He may have been a Benedictine at St. Martin’s Abbey.  Living a life of solitude can no doubt be tedious. People probably think that because a hermit is removed from the world that their choices are simple, straightforward, and relatively easy. But living apart doesn’t really separate one from the world. There is no place on earth that a person can go where the world stops calling. You can’t escape the world while still living in it, anywhere in it. So if we think we can escape making the choice we thought about above, well, forget it. We all carry our own Caesar with us.

Quote … “But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15.