Jesus Crowned with Thorns

Source: THE SCHOOL OF JESUS CRUCIFIED, Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus,
TAN BOOKS, with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1895


THE soldiers, having scourged Jesus, are inspired by the devil with a new method of torturing Him. They take a bundle of long, sharp, strong thorns, and having woven them into a crown, place it on His head, thus constituting Him the King of ignominy and suffering.

1. The inexpressible agony inflicted by this torture.

   If a single thorn were to pierce your head, what exquisite pain would it not cause? But if it were ever so slightly pressed, the anguish would become quite insupportable. The sacred Head of Jesus is encircled with a whole wreath of long sharp thorns which pierce it on every side. Oh, what torture must our suffering Redeemer now experience. Behold what your impure thoughts, guilty pleasures, and sinful desires have cost Jesus! Behold by what exquisite sufferings Jesus has expiated your ambitious designs, your vanity, and your pride, and at how dear a rate he has purchased for you the graces of humility, patience and contempt of the world! The barbarous soldiers, eager to inflict all possible torture upon our patient Saviour, violently press down the crown upon His brow, by repeated blows, so that the sharp thorns wound and pierce the most delicate parts of that adorable Head. My soul, contemplate this King of Sorrows, and behold the streams of blood flowing from every part of His wounded Head, disfiguring and discoloring His amiable countenance. Oh, how much blood has thy salvation cost Jesus! Compassionate thy suffering Redeemer, and recognize the fruit of thy hateful sins in those thorns, those wounds, and those streams of blood. Each time that thou hast deliberately entertained evil thoughts, so often hast thou crowned the sacred Head of Jesus with sharp thorns. Is it possible that thou canst ever more indulge in vain, blasphemous, and impure thoughts, or in desires of earthly grandeur, after reflecting upon Jesus crowned with thorns?

2. The disgraceful character of this torture.

   The enemies of Jesus Christ seem to take peculiar satisfaction in making Him a mock King, in ridiculing His sufferings, and in subjecting Him to every species of degradation and insult. They furiously tear off His garments, and clothe Him in a ragged purple mantle. This outrage is a source of exquisite suffering to Jesus, for the tearing off His garments re-opens all the wounds which have been so lately inflicted by His flagellation, so that fresh blood flows from the lacerated limbs. Oh, how much have the pleasures of our sinful flesh, the delicacy of our bodies, the luxury and vanity of our clothing, cost our sweet Jesus!

     They place in His hand a reed as a scepter, to constitute Him a mock King, a King of a theater! Jesus refuses it not, but receives and holds it in His hand, rejoicing by so great a dishonor to merit for you graces of strength and perseverance in virtue, and to purchase for you a heavenly kingdom. In this state Jesus appears to the insolent soldiery a proper subject for mockery, and they proceed to ridicule Him in a manner worthy of their cruelty. They all march before Him, saluting Him in the most derisive terms King of the Jews. They deride Him as a wretched impostor, adding shameful insults and reproaches to the most humiliating expressions of scorn and ridicule; they spit in His face, give him blows, and, taking the reed out of His hand, strike the crown of thorns with it so violently as to enlarge every wound, and cause Him the most exquisite pain. They vie with each other in deriding and insulting Him, and in rendering His sufferings yet more cruel and ignominious. Oh, how ingenious is human cruelty in torturing Jesus! But, in the meantime, His most holy Soul, though overwhelmed with the weight of so much ignominy and suffering, rejoices in offering to His Eternal Father the sacrifice of humiliations so profound, in reparation of the outrages offered to His Majesty by our sins. Bow down in adoration before this Divine King, return Him thanks for His infinite charity, and promise that you will love Him alone for the remainder of your life.

3. The patience of Jesus.

Amid His bitterest sufferings and most excessive humiliations, Jesus never once opens His mouth to complain. A frightful crown of thorns pierces His head on every side, and causes Him the acutest pain, yet he makes not the slightest complaint of the cruelty of His enemies. What do you say to this example of divine and superhuman patience, O you who are ever seeking after worldly pleasures and sensual gratifications, and who cannot endure even the slight thorn of some small inconvenience or trifling pain? You ought indeed to feel ashamed of living in luxury, when you behold your King, your Creator, and your God crowned with sorrow and ignominy. Do you calculate upon entering Heaven crowned with the roses of pleasure instead of the thorns of mortification, suffering, and penance? Deceptive hope! Jesus Christ beholds Himself abandoned by all in the power of His cruel enemies, outraged, defied with spittle, buffeted, and smitten, yet He maintains peace of soul, and calmness of demeanor, and makes not the slightest gesture of anger or impatience. And you, wretched worm of the earth, unworthy sinner---you have not yet learned to submit in peace and silence to an insult, injury, or wrong done you by your neighbors! Is it possible that the sight of a God thus loaded with ignominy and suffering, and yet so patient and so humble, should not be sufficient to teach you patience and humility? If you do not imitate the example of Jesus Christ, you will not partake of His glory.

The Fruit

      On all those occasions when it is your lot to suffer some inconvenience, annoyance, or illness, or any mortification of your senses and inclinations, imagine that Jesus offers you one of His thorns, and willingly accept and submit to it for love of Him. In time of temptation, and when assailed by evil thoughts, remember Jesus crowned with thorns, cast your eyes mentally upon His pierced head, and resolve that you will never renew His sufferings.


     A soul that loves Christ Crucified is ingenious in discovering ways of suffering in imitation of Him. When Saint Paul of the Cross was walking without shoes or stockings through wild and stony paths, sharp thorns would often enter his feet, and he would allow them to run in deeply, being well satisfied to suffer acute pain for the love of his Crucified Lord. Sometimes one of his companions would perceive what had happened, and, being anxious to relieve his pain, would express sorrow for it, and offer to extract the thorn. But then the servant of God would answer that what he suffered was nothing, since Jesus his Redeemer had permitted so many sharp thorns to transfix His most sacred Head.



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