If you contemplate attentively a representation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, yon will notice that It is encircled with a crown of thorns; thus was It depicted in the apparition to Margaret Mary Alacoque. On the day of our Lord’s bitter passion, the soldiers platted a crown of thorns and pressed it with violence on His sacred head. This was, without doubt, one of the most insulting and cruel tortures which the Redeemer had to suffer in His passion. But we may well believe that these torments sprang from the Heart of Jesus, and fell back again upon It with crushing weight; for the heart is the seat of suffering as of love. The crown of thorns lacerated His Heart before piercing His sacred head. "And these thorns," says a pious writer, "were our innumerable sins, whose fearful punishment He had taken on Himself; the ingratitude of mankind who would despise His tender ness; the multitudes of those who would be lost in spite of His efforts to save them." Ah, yes, all the sins and crimes of the whole world are so many sharp thorns, which pierce and tear that adorable Heart. Nevertheless, Jesus accepts, with resignation, this bleeding crown for love of us. Oh, how dear to us should be this Sacred Heart, thus crowned with a royal diadem, placed on the altar of the cross, and consumed as a perpetual victim by the sacred fire of His love! How far more eloquently than a crown of roses does this crown of thorns speak to our hearts, and teach us to understand the burning charity of the Heart of Jesus! Oh, with what transports of love should we not cry out: "Heart of Jesus, pierced with thorns, have mercy on us." Cor Jesu, spinis transfixum, miserere mei.
Christians, Jesus would teach us by this mystery, that devotion to His Sacred Heart is not a devotion of sentiment, but a practical devotion which should produce in us a love of the cross and of suffering; for, as St. Bernard says: "Is it not shameful to be a delicate member of a head crowned with thorns?" Is it not a revolting contrast to see the Saint of saints in agony, and we revelling in pleasures? Jesus delivering up His head and His Sacred Heart to thorns, and we devoting ourselves to the delights and joys of this world? This mystery teaches us also humility; for the ignominious crown which Jesus wore, is the condemnation of the diadem of pride and ambition which excites our desires. He wished to show us how He loves humble souls who do good in secret, and seek not the eyes of creatures and human glory; for them the practice of virtue is sufficient. my beloved Jesus! Jesus crowned with thorns, imprint deeply in my heart and soul these great and saving truths.
On the Feast of the Assumption, many hundred years ago, a celebrated queen said to her two daughters; "Put on your most beautiful dresses and your crowns of gold, and let us go down together to the town, and hear Mass at the Church of Our Lady." The two princesses dressed themselves as their mother had ordered, and entering the church they knelt down opposite a crucifix. At the sight of the figure of her Savior, naked, bleeding and dying, the youngest princess took off her crown and all her ornaments and prostrated herself on the pavement of the church. Her mother, surprised at her conduct, was about to express her disapproval, when the young girl, with a touching accent, addressed her thus: "Behold, before my eyes, my king and my God, the sweet and merciful Jesus, who is crowned with sharp thorns, naked and bleeding, and shall I, a wretched sinner, remain before Him wearing a crown of gold and precious stones? My diadem would be a mockery in the presence of His." And she wept bitterly; for the love of the heart of Jesus had already wounded her tender heart. The young princess grew up, choosing always the crown of thorns offered by Jesus in preference to that of gold and jewels held out by the world, and, in after life, she became St. Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary. Learn from this story, O Christians, that in order to deserve the crown of glory in heaven, you must here on earth wear the crown of thorns; the one must precede the other.
O Jesus crowned with thorns! from hence forth I will accept, with patience, all the in terior and exterior sufferings which it may please Thee to send me. Nature may rebel, and I may, perhaps, say like Thee, in the Garden of Olives: "Father, let this chalice pass from me." But love will quickly make me add; "Not my will, my God, but Thine be done." Amen.
Prepare yourself to make a thorough confession. Examine your conscience well and do not rush. Then make your confession as soon as possible.