Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Feast of the Crown of Thorns

In an English version of the 1962 missal, this Friday, the First Friday in Lent, is the Feast of the Sacred Crown of Thorns. This struck me as a time to meditate on the paradox of Christ's Crown of Thorns and His Earned Crown of Glory.

The Gradual reads, "A golden crown upon his head, signed with the emblems of holiness, of glory and honour and the might of his deeds." And, "With abundant blessing thou has met him on his way, thou has set a jewelled crown upon his head."

The two quotes are from Ecclesiasticus 45:14 in reference to Moses and the second part is from Psalm 20, with relation to King David, both men are types of Christ.

In the Lesson, or Epistle, the reading is from the Canticle of Canticles, reminding us that Solomon, as the translation notes, was given his crown by his mother on his day of betrothal. How fantastic and what a symbol of us joining in the Bridal Love of Christ in heaven, being given whatever crown we have won by Our Lady Mary.

All of this rich imagery is counteracted by the sharp Gospel of Christ in front of Pilate, wearing the mock and painful Crown of Thorns. Pilate, in John 19:1-5, says to the crowd, "I am bringing him out to you, to show that I cannot find any fault in him." We have fault, and yet we are invited into this suffering.

As a writer, who writes poetry, plays, children's stories as well as a blog, I find that the imagery here appeals to one who is creative, and in that sense, I am writing for all those in the Guild here. Why? We live out our writing. We do not put on paper or on the Net thoughts and experiences which are merely cerebral. We write what we are, and many times, we are criticized and even pilloried for comments or thoughts. You should see some of the comments I do not let out of moderation!

We live in less than comfortable means in order to write, our calling, and we wear suffering like a crown, hidden from all, but obvious to ourselves and perhaps, to those near to us.

Why? Christ calls us to duty, as the Liturgy states, "A crown of tribulation blossomed into a crown of glory, and a garland of joy," and we are reminded that the here and now is not the time for rejoicing.

One of the huge problems of so many Catholics both in America and in England is that they think they need to be rejoicing all the time.

No, and as one of my Benedictine mentors shared with me, "Rejoicing belongs to the next life." False joy is self-deceit. And, a modicum of seriousness about the suffering of today is more realistic than false rejoicing.

I think of St. Therese, the Little Flower, on this Ash Wednesday, and anticipate Friday's feast. This crown of thorns is our choice to refuse or accept, in what manner God give us. She wrote of "unfelt joy", which means that in wearing her crown of thorns of intense physical suffering, she was anticipating her eventual crown of glory.

Happy Lent, but not too happy!

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