The Mystery of the Crown of Thorns
by A Passionist Father
Preserving Christian Publications, Inc.
Beads of the Crown of Thorns
"The Crown of Thorns is a Diadem of Love."
Though we are not with exact accuracy informed of the real number of thorns that pierced the adorable head of our suffering Lord. yet a pious tradition mentions that they were seventy-two. The truly learned and pious Suarez states that such is the opinion of several Christian writers. From the information that we receive from devout and learned Catholic authors, the Crown of Thorns may have contained more, but not less of these thorns. St. Bernard and St. Anselm affirm that thousands of these sharp thorns pierced our Savior's adorable Head.
The beads of the Crown of Thorns are prepared on the supposition that they were seventy-two. Hence they are composed of seven decades. The seven usual mysteries for consideration during the recital of the beads are entirely taken from the Gospel, and give the history of the crowning of our dear Lord with thorns. The recitation of these beads is begun in the usual manner, with the addition of two short versicles specifying its object. After announcing the subject for pious reflection, during the respective decade, the Pater Noster and Ave Maria are recited once, then the doxology or Gloria Patri is repeated ten times.
Thus these beads are composed of seven Our Fathers and as many Hail Marys intended to commemorate and honor the seven dolors of the most holy Mother of our Lord, who had a very large share of internal sufferings in the Passion and death of her Divine Son. The seventy Glorias contained in the seven decades, with one at the beginning and another at the end of the Rosary, after the Pater Noster and Ave Maria for the Pope, give seventy-two Glorias in memory of the wounds in the adorable head of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We wish explicitly to state that by this form of prayer it is not intended to fix the number of wounds in the head of our Lord, crowned with thorns, but only to honor and thank Him for His sufferings in the best practical way that we know. The beads of the Crown of Thorns will close with a suitable prayer translated from the Office of the Crown of Thorns approved by the Church. The beads of the ordinary Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary may be used instead of those of the Crown of Thorns, until a pair of these can be procured. The only difference will be the addition of two extra decades, and reciting the Gloria Patri in place of the Ave Maria. We give now the detailed form and mysteries of the beads of the Crown of Thorns.
Manner of Reciting the Beads of the Crown of Thorns:
let us adore Jesus Christ,
Let us consider that Pilate, to satisfy the people, released unto them Barabbas, and after having scourged Jesus, our Lord, delivered Him up to be crucified. [Mk. 15: 15]
venerate, O Lord, thy Crown
Let us consider how the Pagan soldiers led Jesus into the court of the Governor's palace, and called together the whole band. [Mk. 15: 16]
Let us consider how the soldiers, having stripped Jesus, put a scarlet cloak about him. [Mt. 27: 28]
Let us consider how those cruel executioners, platting a crown of thorns, put it on the head of Jesus, and a reed in his right hand. [Mt. 27: 39]
Let us consider how those malicious men, spitting upon the face of our Lord, took the reed from His hand, and with it struck His adorable head. [Mt. 27: 30]
Let us consider how those impious men, bending the knee before Jesus, our Lord, mocked Him, saying: Hail, King of the Jews. [Mt. 27: 29]
Let us consider, in this last decade, how our Lord, Jesus Christ, bearing the Crown of Thorns and the purple garment, was led before the people, and Pilate said to the Jews: Behold the Man. [Jn. 19: 5]
O Lord, have sown the thorns
platted a crown of thorns,
In reciting these beads we may have the following intentions: First decade, to promote this devotion; Second decade for our parents or immediate superiors: Third decade, for our temporal rulers; Fourth decade, for the conversion of all sinners and infidels; Fifth decade, for our pastor or confessor; Sixth decade, for our bishop; Seventh decade, for the Pope.