Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Mystery of the Crown of Thorns by a Passionist Father part 7.


In order to form some faint idea of the excessive sufferings endured by our Lord at his crown of thorns, we should reflect that his bodily constitution was extremely refined, and most sensitive to every kind of physical suffering. This is what we shall have to do before proceeding to the contemplation of the Crown of Thorns.

1. Let us consider then, in the first place, the difference between a person seriously in earnest, and firmly determined to obtain an important end, and another very lukewarm about it. This latter will be slow and careless in the choice and application of the means. But the former will, as soon as possible, select the fittest instruments, and apply them in practice, at the earliest opportunity, with the utmost vigor.

Now it is a fundamental dogma of Christianity that the eternal Son of God became man to satisfy divine justice offended by the sins of man, and thus redeem and save mankind. This merciful object of Our Savior's Incarnation was promised by God in the Old Testament, foretold by His holy prophets, and lastly announced by His holy angels. The Angel Gabriel said to St. Joseph, the virginal spouse of the holy and immaculate Virgin Mother of our Lord; "Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Mt. 1:21) This was the end of Jesus' mission upon earth, "For God sent his Son a propitiation for our sins," St. John says. (1 Jn. 4:10) "Our Lord Jesus Christ (St. Paul teaches) gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present wicked world." (Gal. 1:4) Behold here, then, the object of our merciful Redeemer's Incarnation. Jesus became man to satisfy the justice of God, offended by the sins of man, and thus to redeem and save mankind.

Now this propitiation with God, this deliverance from sin, this salvation from eternal misery, had to be effected through the bodily sufferings of Jesus, by the shedding of his sacred blood, and through his actual death upon the cross. This is another article of the Christian faith; hence St. Paul says: "Whereas you were some time alienated, and enemies in mind in evil work, yet now he, Jesus, hath reconciled in the body of his flesh through death to present you holy and unspotted and blameless before him." (Col. 1:21-22) "Jesus loved us (St. John says) and washed us from our sins, in his blood." (Apoc. 1:5) "He himself bore our sins in his body,... by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:24) Devout reader, fix well your attention upon these words of divine inspiration. Consider the end of our Savior's Incarnation. This was fully to atone for all the sins of mankind. Now the means and instrument which our Lord adopted and used for the perfect attainment of this sublime end, was the assumption of a real human body and true created human soul, in order that he might suffer and die, and through his sufferings and death satisfy divine justice for our sin, and thus redeem and save mankind. "He himself bore our sins in his body,... by whose stripes you were healed."

It is evident to any ordinary intelligence, and besides daily experience shows, that the more refined the human body, or any member or organ of it is, the more keenly sensitive it becomes to every kind of physical pain. Therefore, out of respect for the wisdom and earnest sincerity of our divine Lord and Savior, we must conclude that the body assumed by him in his Incarnation must have been exceedingly refined and consequently most keenly sensitive to all kinds of suffering..

2. From these premises we learn another mystery. It is this: Jesus Christ, who styles himself the Son of Man, was the only child ever born upon earth for suffering. Suffering is the effect of sin; hence, as man was not and could not be created for sin, so he could not be created for suffering. Man, on the contrary, was created and intended by God for happiness both in time and eternity. It was the curse of sin that brought upon guilty man both suffering and death. Now, because the eternal Son of God became man to atone for the sins of mankind, therefore the immediate object of his Incarnation was to suffer and die a victim of charity for our redemption and salvation. Hence the admirable adaptation of his bodily constitution to the most exquisite sensibility in every kind of physical pain. And, in fact, if we who were not originally created nor intended by God for sufferings, feel them so keenly, we should from our own experience judge how incomparably more acute every kind of pain must have been to our divine Lord, who, by the wisdom and justice of God, was in his human nature created and destined as a victim of immolation upon the altar of suffering and death. This will appear more evident if we proceed to make two additional reflections: one in relation to his sacred body, the other about his most holy soul.

3. It is certain that the more refined the subject of pain is, the more intense suffering becomes. A tender and delicate child feels the same kind and amount of suffering — as cold weather, a severe blow — more keenly than a grown-up, robust person. A delicately-reared lady suffers more, under the same circumstances, than a tough, hard laboring man. The same must be said of different parts of the body. The prick of a pin or of a thorn in a callous hand or foot will scarcely be felt; but the same puncture in the eye, or in some internal vital organ as the brain or the heart, will cause intense agony: because the subject of pain is more refined, and consequently more sensitive to suffering.

Now, the whole body of our divine Savior was most exquisitely refined in its constitution. It was, in fact, so wonderfully refined in every lineament, as to be compared by learned and pious authors to the delicacy of the human eye, or to the keen sensibility of the internal vital organs of an ordinary human body. Devout reader, you may be surprised at this assertion; but be not incredulous, I pray. Please do consider attentively the origin of our Lord's body, and the singular elements of its miraculous formation. Then you will be able to draw your conclusion, and form a definite judgment.

4. Nobility of blood, in the general opinion of mankind, greatly contributes to the delicate refinement of the child's body. For the sake of truth, let us, at least on this serious occasion, lay aside the vulgar prejudices of human pride. Jesus will be pleased with the docility of our Christian humility, and reward it with his heavenly light. Now, then, Christian reader, piously reflect and consider who the Mother of Jesus was in her human pedigree, blessed Mary was the noblest lady in the Jewish nation and in the whole world. She was a descendant from the princely tribe of Juda, and more particularly of the royal family of David.
From her saintly father's side, our Blessed Lady had concentrated in her virginal veins the royal blood of no less than eighteen kings, her direct ancestry. On her holy mother's side, she was a descendant of the supreme Pontiff Aaron. We learn this fact from the holy evangelist St. Luke, who says that "St. Elizabeth, the wife of St. Zachary, a Jewish high priest, was of the daughters (namely a descendant) of Aaron." (Lk. 1:5) And the Blessed Virgin Mary is by the Archangel Gabriel called: "the cousin (or near relation) of Elizabeth." (v. 36) In the person, then, of our most holy Lady we see the union of the highest and noblest pedigree that can be desired by any person on earth. Her virginal body is hallowed by the sacredness of the Jewish priesthood, and ennobled by kingly dignity. Now, if the children of noble and royal parents are remarkable for the refinement of their bodily constitution, we may, if we can, imagine how great must have been the beauty and delicacy of Jesus, the blessed fruit of her virginal womb. Most holy Mary is the beautiful Lily of Israel, and the fragrant Rose of Juda, from whom Jesus, the Flower of humanity, sprang. "And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of this root, and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him." (Is. 11:1)

Moreover, Blessed Mary, our Savior's Mother, was the most chaste and the purest of virgins. Virgins in comparison with the Queen of Virgins are like thorns by the side of a lily. "Sicut lilium inter spinas, sic arnica mea interfdias." (Cant. 2:2) Good God! who can conceive how refined and delicate ought to be the child of such a Virgin Mother? .... But let us proceed.

5. Grace and holiness are the perfection of human nature. As sin, crime, vice, blunt and harden man, so grace, virtue, habitual holiness, soften, embellish and refine him. Now the thrice-blessed Mother of Jesus had never been touched in body or soul by the foul breath of original or actual sin. Mary was an immaculate Virgin Mother. She was young in age at the time of her maternity, but far advanced in virtue. Mary was eminent in sanctity and full of divine grace: Her heart loved God more ardently than did all the saints and angels. By an archangel she was saluted as "blessed among women, and filled with divine grace and love. Hail Mary, full of grace." (Lk. 1:28)

Mary heard this angelic salutation before a word was uttered to her about the intended Incarnation of the Son of God. This evidently shows that Blessed Mary was replenished with grace, burning with God's love, eminent in sanctity, even before receiving in her immaculate virginal bosom the Author of all grace, the God of holiness. But to what degree of eminence
will this fullness of Mary's grace and sanctity be raised during the nine happy months of her most intimate maternal union with the incarnate Son of God; Good God! who but Thy divine wisdom can fathom this profound ocean of love and grace, and grace and love? Love every instant expanded the heart of Mary, grace entered immediately to fill up this new capacity. Love every moment drew more closely the immaculate heart of Mary to the divine heart of Jesus; grace linked them together like twins in charity and holiness! O immaculate heart of Mary! O Sacred Heart Of Jesus! you were so similar, you were so very near each other, you were so closely united; most holy hearts! See how the heart of the Son, the fountain of all grace, pours down in the heart of the Mother a constant stream of the water of grace. See how every new flow of grace enlarges the capacity of Mary's soul, and excites her maternal heart to more intense love for her unborn child, Jesus. See how the heart of Jesus, the furnace of divine charity, redoubles every instant the flames of their reciprocal love. "My beloved unto me, and I unto him." (Cant. 1:12) Thus kept on constantly advancing this wonderful process of grace, love and refinement, in the heavenly forge of Mary's virginal womb, until the hour arrived when the angelic choirs, in an ecstasy of admiration sang at the cave of Bethlehem, "Glory to God on high." The angels saw the Infant Son of Mary, and, whilst adoring him in her arms, they admired the beauty, the perfect symmetry, the exquisite refinement, and most delicate complexion of his little human body. Considering, then, our Redeemer's conception and birth from an immaculate, most holy Virgin Mother of the royal house of David, we should conclude that his body ought to have been exceedingly delicate in constitution, and consequently extremely sensitive to every kind of physical pain.

6. We have, however, to consider more important and more conclusive arguments. Even an immaculate virgin mother must have a spouse in order to conceive a divine Son. We must now pass to examine the qualifications of this spouse of Mary and true Father of Jesus. We read, in the first chapter of St. Luke's gospel, that "the Angel Gabriel.was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man, whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the name of the virgin was Mary." (Lk. 1:27)

Observe, devout reader, how carefully the inspired evangelist, twice in a single verse, calls our attention to the fact that, though our Blessed Lady was married to St. Joseph, nevertheless she was a most pure virgin.

Mary and Joseph, on the first day of their holy wedding, made by common consent a solemn vow to God of perpetual virginity. A short time after their marriage, God sent to this most holy Virgin the Angel Gabriel. The angelic messenger, after saluting her with words never before heard by mortal ears, announced to Mary that she had been chosen by God to be the Mother of the promised Messias. At these words of the angel, Mary's profound humility and her high esteem for virginal purity were alarmed. She immediately said to the angel: "How shall this be done, for I know not man?" The answer of the heavenly messenger will now teach us who the Father of Jesus is. "The Holy Ghost," the angel said to Mary, "the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most Holy shall overshadow thee. And therefore the Holy One, who shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God." (Lk. 1:35) Jesus, then, is the Son of God, not only in his eternal and divine, but also in his temporal and human generation. Hence in his humanity our blessed Lord has a most holy and immaculate virgin for his Mother, and the Holy Ghost as a substitute for his Father. Let now human reason, purified and enlightened by Christian faith and piety, conclude how supremely refined must have been the body of Jesus, our Lord, formed by the miraculous operation of the Most Holy Spirit, conceived and born of a most pure, most holy, immaculate Mother!... The angelic doctor, St. Thomas, teaches that what is done by God through a miracle is always more perfect than art or nature can make it. In the conception and birth of Jesus there is a chain of the most wonderful prodigies ever wrought by God in heaven and upon earth. How sublimely perfect, therefore, the humanity of Jesus must be, which has been the subject of all these astonishing miracles from the first moment of its existence! O most sacred body of Jesus! I admire, I adore thee. O God of justice! is it this body that has to be scourged, crowned with thorns, and fastened with nails to a cross? O most loving Mother of Jesus! you were so kind, so gentle, so tenderly careful of the body of your most beautiful and innocent Son! But he is now going to be crucified.

7. Whilst the executioners are preparing for this bloody deed, let us keep ourselves recollected, and make two more reflections about the share which the soul of Jesus had in the refinement of his body, and in increasing the intensity of his suffering at the crucifixion.
Christian philosophy has discovered in the economy of this universe the grand and sublime principle of assimilation. God is the beginning and last end of all being. He is the Model and the Author of all things. All creatures bear the impress of God's image. Created intelligences, or the angels nearer to God, partake more abundantly of His divine attributes, and through these they both enlighten and draw towards God, as to the common center, inferior angels and human souls. The angelic doctor says: "The image of God is more perfect in the angels than in the human soul, and in the higher angels this divine image is brighter than in the inferior angels. It is likewise more perfect in man than in woman." (Thorn, q. dist. xvi. 9, i, a. 3.) Now, the human soul is united to a material body. The human body is a microcosm, or the compendium of material creation. Hence the soul, by informing the body, by infusing life into it, by acting upon it and through it, refines its carnal nature, assimilates it to itself, and, in a certain sense, it spiritualizes the body. This admirable process has been going on continually upon earth, among countless millions of men, during almost six thousand years. We may conclude from this what immense work of assimilation has silently, but effectively, been performed by human souls in this material world. The human soul, operating upon the body, refining it and, as it were, spiritualizing it, indirectly operates upon, refines, and spiritualizes all material creation. Finally, the bodies of the elect, being exalted and sublimated by spiritual grace during life, and by glory at the general resurrection; all material creation, in and through all these countless millions of glorified bodies, will be assimilated as much as possible to God, and united to Him in glory through Jesus Christ. Thus Jesus Christ is truly "the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of all things." (Apoc. 1:8)

We learn this beautiful, grand and sublime philosophy from St. Paul, who says: "It is sown an animal body, it shall rise a spiritual body. If there be an animal body, there is also a spiritual body.... It is sown in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, ti shall rise in glory; it is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power.... As we have borne the image of the earthly man, Adam, we will also bear the image of the heavenly man, Jesus." (1 Cor 15:42)

8. The human soul proceeds in this divine-like work of assimilation and spiritualization of the body through its intelligence and affections. Hence, the higher and more active is its intellectual life and action, and the purer, holier, and more intense are its affections upon and through the vital and nobler organs of the body, the sooner the body will be refined and assimilated to the soul, and consequently rendered more keenly sensitive to every kind of physical pain during our mortal life upon earth.

These principles will enable us to give a reason for the faith that is in us about the Passion of our divine Lord, which is the grandest and most sublime work of God's wisdom and power. The ordinary way of superficially viewing the Passion of our Savior detracts from its dignity, and cannot produce much fruit of virtue in Christian souls. Consider, attentively, what has been stated above, and it will help you, dear reader, to understand more clearly, and appreciate more justly, the intensity and high value of our Redeemer's sufferings. We will now pass to consider the relation which the body of Jesus bears towards the soul.

9. We begin with an admirable figure which we find in the book of Exodus. God commanded Moses to prepare the Ark of the Covenant for the reception of the two tables of the Decalogue. He described every detail about its length, breadth, and height. He ordered that it should be framed with precious and incorruptible setim-wood, and overlaid within and without with the purest gold. (Exod. 25:10) Now, if God so strongly insisted upon having so rich and beautiful an ark prepared for the reception of the two material tables of the law, what body will He prepare for the reception of the spiritual and immortal soul of His divine Son, Jesus?... The soul of Jesus was the greatest, the noblest, the holiest, the most intelligent spirit ever created, or which will ever be created by God. Such a superior soul was strictly due to blessed Jesus' high dignity and mediatorial office. He was the beginning, the end, and the perfection of all creation. Jesus was the first and the fairest Flower of humanity. He was the first-born of the elect of God. He was constituted the Head of the Church, the Redeemer and Savior of men. Jesus was the supreme Monarch of heaven and earth, the first Lawgiver of the world, the universal Judge of mankind. Very extraordinary gifts and graces, virtues and wisdom were granted by God to the youthful King Solomon, to the end that he might be able to govern wisely, for some years, a few million men within his small kingdom. (3 Kings 3:5)
But what gifts and graces, what intelligence and wisdom, what virtue and power should have been communicated by God to the soul of Jesus, the King of kings, and sovereign Lord of men and angels? The mission of Jesus upon earth was not, like that of Solomon, confined to Palestine. Hence, on a certain occasion, our Lord said to the Jews: "The Queen of the South came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon is here." (Mt. 12:42) "In him (St. Paul says) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Col. 11:3) The eternal Son of God came upon earth, became man to regenerate and elevate all nature, to establish a universal and everlasting empire over all souls and spirits, to teach the most sublime doctrines and profound dogmas to all men, to subdue to his faith and love all human intellects and wills, and, finally, to elicit the most sincere admiration, the most enthusiastic love, and the heartiest homage and profoundest adoration from the highest and holiest intelligences of men and angels during an endless eternity. He assumed a true human soul. Now, such soul must surely have been enriched and adorned with the best gifts and graces of God. This, thanks be to God, was the fact with the soul of Jesus. The holy prophet Isaias says: "There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse." This root of Jesse is the most holy Virgin Mary. "And a flower shall rise up out of this root." Behold here the beauty and refined delicacy of our Savior's body. The prophet continues: "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness: and he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord." (Is. 11:2) Behold the blessed soul of Jesus filled with the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Now, if God commanded Moses to prepare the ark of the old covenant
for the reception of the material tables of the law, and this ark had to be
framed with setim-wood, overlaid within and without with the purest gold,
what kind of body will be prepared by the power of the Most High, through
the operation of the Holy Ghost, for the reception of the great and most
holy soul of Jesus? For a soul endowed with so many extraordinary gifts
of nature and of grace, for a soul raised to the most sublime dignity, authority
and power, the most perfectly organized and refined body will certainly
be prepared by God. Such was indeed, the sacred body of our divine Lord.
"Therefore, coming into the world, he saith: Sacrifice and oblation, Thou,
O Father, wouldst not, but a body thou hast fitted to me." (Heb. 10:5)
10. But we should carefully observe the essential difference intended
to exist between the tables of the Decalogue laid in the ark, and the soul
of Jesus infused in his body. These two tables were two well-polished but
material stones. The soul of Jesus was a most pure spirit. These two stones
lay down heavily within the ark and could not naturally have the least
physical influence upon it. They could neither communicate the life of
vegetation to the wood, nor increase the intrinsic value of the gold.

But the soul of Jesus was the form of his body pervading every organ, every limb and member, infusing life through every vein and artery, communicating motion to every nerve and muscle; thinking in the brain, loving in the heart, hearing through the ears, seeing through the eyes, speaking with its tongue, living with its life, thoroughly identified with Jesus, God and man.

During thirty-three years and more, the blessed soul of Jesus acted, without the least difficulty or interruption, upon this most perfectly organized body. Ordinary children do not arrive at the use of reason until they are seven or eight years of age. The soul of Jesus had the most perfect use of reason from its first union with the body. Considering the vast amount of time we squander away in thoughtless evagations of the mind, in material pursuits, with the soul buried in the earth in sensual gratifications of the body, with the soul steeped in flesh, eating, drinking and sleeping, we must come to the humiliating conclusion that we pass the greater portion of our years without any wholesome exercise of our reasoning faculties. This is at least the general conduct of the vast majority of mankind.
But very different from this was the life of our divine Lord. Night and day, and day and night, his soul was constantly in the full exercise of its mental faculties. In the Gospel we find one instance only in which Jesus seemed to be sleeping. But even then his heart was watching: "I sleep, but my heart watcheth" — "Ego dormio, et cor meum vigilat." (Cant. 5:2) Whilst Jesus appears sleeping, he watches the conduct of his apostles during the storm, and promptly chides them for their want of confidence in him. (Mt. 8:24) "Behold, he shall neither slumber nor sleep, that keepeth Israel." (Ps. 70:4)

During the three years of his apostolic life he passed the days in traveling and preaching, in instructing and working miracles —going about doing good to every one. At night he retired to the mountain, and persevered watching and praying until the following morning, when he reassumed his apostolic labors. As the soul of our blessed Lord was, from the moment of his Incarnation, in perpetual active and affective union with the Divinity, so it was in constant action upon the noblest organs of his most sacred body. This action was two-fold: active and affective. The mind of our Lord was constantly exercising its intellectual faculties, his heart was burning with divine-human love. Jesus was perpetually thinking of God, and loving Him with all the fervor of his inflamed heart. In every instant of his human existence, the soul of our Savior was worshipping the Godhead for itself and for us; he was studying how to promote his Father's greatest glory, and continually doing His adorable will in every action and motion of his life, and in every breath and pulsation of his heart. Not a single action was performed by our blessed Redeemer, not a word was uttered by him, not a step was ever taken without actually referring it to the greater honor and glory of his heavenly Father. In every action of his life the soul of Jesus aimed at the highest degree of perfection. In short, the mind and heart of our Lord were constantly burning with the most ardent love of God. He truly loved God with his whole mind and heart, soul and strength, and for the same reason he loved men as a Man-God alone can love his most cherished creatures. This exercise of divine charity was in constant operation with Jesus, in his human nature, composed of a most exquisite body and and a most holy and most intelligent soul. We remarked above that intelligence and holiness refine the human body. We may now imagine, if we can, to what sublime degree of refinement the body of our divine Lord must have been raised during the thirty-three years of his most holy life upon earth.

10. Before we conclude, we have to make another most important reflection in relation to the body of our Lord, which is suggested to us by the two mysterious tables of the Decalogue in the ancient Ark of the Covenant. One of these tables contained the first three commandments that have immediate relation to God. The other had inscribed upon it the seven commandments relative to man. This was a most beautiful figure of our Savior's Incarnation. A few words of explanation will make it very clear. The living ark of the body of Jesus was prepared by God, and intended by him to receive a human soul enriched and adorned with the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. This admirable soul of Jesus is represented and prefigured by the second table of the Decalogue enclosed within the Ark of the Covenant, upon which table the seven commandments were inscribed by the finger of God.
The first table, which relates immediately to God, represented and prefigured the divine Person of the Eternal Word made flesh, dwelling in that privileged body, the visible living ark of the new covenant of grace. Upon this table the first three of the divine commandments were inscribed, which are the foundation of the whole Decalogue; and of every law. Now, observe the admirable analogy between the figure and the reality. The sacred body of Jesus, the living ark of the new covenant of faith, grace and love, in receiving at the Incarnation the eternal Word of God, received at the same time, as Catholic theology teaches, all the three persons of the most adorable Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Because, where the Son is, so likewise the Father and the Holy Ghost must be. For the Trinity of persons is inseparably united in one divine nature. Hence, St. John says: "There are three that give testimony in Heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." (1 Jn. 5:7) "Believe you not (our Savior says), believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?" (Jn. 14:10) "land the Father are one." (Jn 10:10) Behold now what is contained in the sacred body of Jesus! First, a most holy, most noble and most intelligent soul: a soul that informs it, as philosophers say, pervades it through every pore, gives life to it, animates it, acts in it and through it. In the second place, the soul of Jesus is the immediate link of the hypostatic union of the eternal Word of God with this particular body of our assumed humanity. St. Bernard says: "The eternal Word, the created soul of Jesus, and his most holy body, are united indissolubly in one person." (St. Ber. serm. 2, in Nativ. Domini.) Finally, to the second person of the eternal Word, as faith teaches, the Father and the Holy Ghost are linked by the eternal, everlasting union of the divine nature. Hence, "in Jesus Christ," as St. Paul says, "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead corporally." (Col. 2:9) The body of Jesus Christ is the true living temple of God, the living tabernacle of the most holy Trinity, the animated ark of the new covenant of grace, the seat of divine wisdom, the throne of holiness, majesty, authority and power. In this most sacred body of Jesus "are hidden all the treasures of grace, wisdom, and knowledge." (Col. 2:3)

If God required that the Ark of the Covenant should be framed with incorruptible setim wood, and overlaid within and without with the purest gold, what body will God have prepared for the soul of His divine Son? This body was to be the immediate instrument of our redemption, sanc-tification and salvation. Through his body Jesus was to glorify God more than by the creation of the whole universe. Through this glorified body Jesus will, during a blessed eternity, give more honor and glory to the most holy Trinity than all the angels and saints of heaven united. After having attentively considered all these solemn truths, every intelligent Christian must wonder how the body of Jesus could have remained during thirty-three years a natural body of flesh, without being transformed into a glorified
state, as it was for a short time on Mount Thabor. But our divine Lord and Master solved this mystery when he said, "Ought not Christ to have suffered all these things," the scourge, the Crown of Thorns, the crucifixion, "and so enter into his glory?" (Lk. 24:26)

What horror would the Jewish people have felt had they seen a number of their Pagan enemies break in pieces the sacred Ark of the Covenant, and trample them under their impious feet.... Christian reader! we are now going to witness the most holy, most beautiful, most delicate body of Jesus cruelly tortured by a horrible Crown of Thorns. This most holy temple of God will be disfigured by cruel hands. This living tabernacle of the most holy Trinity will be sacrilegiously profaned by impious men. The sacred feet, the most holy hands of Jesus will be barbarously gashed by rough nails, and his most loving heart will be transfixed with a lance. Let us devoutly draw near Jesus, and witness the most horrible crime committed by man's wickedness.