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
Jerusalem Export House