Friday, February 09, 2007

My crown of thorns

When I was received into the Catholic Church twelve years ago, my dear friend Jack gave me an incredible gift: a crown of thorns. This is not a miniature replica, nor a harmless likeness. It is a real, piercing, terrible, beautiful crown of thorns.

Every year, during Lent, it is prominently displayed in our home. It does wonders for my tiny Lenten sacrifices. A brief, but penetrating gaze upon the thorns penetrates my thoughts, my soul, my desires. It keeps my little offerings in perspective.

The sight of the crown that our King endured keeps me close in thought to Him, the Man Who gave everything for me, the One Who loves me no matter how weak I am, or how petty or selfish. No matter how much I may stray or grow lukewarm, He is there. He is faithful, waiting for the one He loves to return that love and fidelity. All. The. Time.

And that's what Lent is, for me ... a rekindling of the greatest love affair of my life. And, when I am tempted to think that my little Lenten sacrifices are too much, or too hard, I gaze upon that crown of thorns.

And I know that nothing is too much. He showed us what it means to give everything. The least I can do is feel the sting of my small sacrifices.


Places to find a crown of thorns:

Holy Land Imports
Rosary Workshop
Jerusalem Export House


Kristen Laurence said...

This is beautiful, Karen (the crown AND your words. I've never seen anything like it. Thank you for sharing.

Jill said...

This is the type of thing I would have looked at through 'Protestant eyes' and thought, "You Catholics focus so much on suffering and the death of Jesus." I don't claim to have accumulated all that much wisdom in the (almost) five years that I've been Catholic. But, now I see this and I think it's such a beautiful reminder of...everything. What a good gift idea for a new Catholic. Thanks for sharing.

Karen E. said...

Thank you, Kristen and Jill.

I know just what you mean, Jill. The other thing that was missing for me when I had "Protestant eyes" was that although, yes, there is the focus on the suffering, there is also *a time for everything.* Through the liturgical year, we focus on different things -- so, although our eyes are on the crown of thorns and the cross during Lent, when Easter arrives, our eyes are fixed on the glorious crown of Jesus's true Kingship, and on the glory of the Resurrection.

So, after those 40 days of focusing on the sacrifice, we turn to the fruits of His sacrifice, and we have a big, 50-day party. :-)