Behold the man!
The fourth outpouring: Jesus sheds blood in the crowning of thorns
Posted by Luisapiccarreta official.org website
From the Gospel according to John (Jn 19:2-5)
And the soldiers plaiting a crown of thorns put it upon his head; and they put on him a purple garment. They came to him, and said “Hail, king of the Jews”, and they gave Him blows! Pilate went out again and said to them, “Behold, I bring him forth, that you may know that I find no fault in him”. So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”.
The wounds inflicted by the blows of the scourging were not enough. Now the soldiers call in the rest of the troop and begin to mock Jesus. They weave a crown of thorns and with a rod beat the thorns so that they penetrate deep into His flesh. His face slowly becomes a mask of blood. They slap Him and cover His face with spittle. They kneel before Him to mock Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and laugh out loud without showing any respect.
It is clear that they are so blinded by pride to the point of not noticing that before them stood their God; but they do not even see the man! They are so full of conceit that they are not aware that a man like them is before their eyes. When one gets to the point of mistreating his brother and finds enjoyment in it, then one has truly hit the bottom of his humanity! Power has this drawback: the more it is exercised, the more it perverts and becomes inhuman, more similar to a beast than the truth that abides in us.
Jesus looks at those soldiers, one by one, and in His eyes there is not the slightest trace of judgment or resentment. His face is stained with blood, marked by the grimaces of pain, but His eyes are clear and serene. The faces of the soldiers instead are contracted, their eyes are dull, their breathing is labored and they grind their teeth like wild beasts. They do not seem to withstand that peace that is felt in the presence of Jesus. One by one the injuries and insults multiply.
On February 19, 1900, in describing one of her visions, Luisa sees many people moving about who do nothing but weave crowns of thorns, so much so that while she was careful to remove them from Jesus’ head, another and more painful crown would be sunk into His head.
Luisa compares these thorns that wound Jesus’ head to the pride of our times. The greatest misfortune is to lose one’s head, because by losing the head with the brain, all the other members become incapacitated or enemies of oneself and of others. And so it happens that the person opens the door to all the other vices.
In another passage of September 9, 1901, Luisa asks Jesus to take His thorns and to sink them into her head to relieve His suffering. Jesus tells her that when she suffers the pains of His thorns, He feels relieved and freed from those pains. When she humbles herself and feels unworthy to suffer them she atones for the sins of pride that are committed in the world.
By suffering Luisa wants to give the glory to God that all men should give, were there no sin of pride. And in suffering Luisa also wishes to ask for many graces for all creatures so that this sin will be destroyed.
The soldiers bring Jesus back to Pilate. He orders them to take Jesus to a spot where all the people can see Him, and showing Him in this terrible state, he shouts loudly: “Behold the Man!”. The whole crowd at that moment should have grown silent and been moved by all the love, which like a fragrant perfume, issued from the wounds of Jesus’ crowned head. Instead, the screams reach even to the heavens; a hellish pit had replaced that mob. Behold the men!
Jesus looks at them and His heart cries tears of blood. Before Him is not only a crowd of people who shout out in scorn but also the fate of every single human being that Jesus wants to set free. They are “blood of my Blood,” and for love of them the Son of God became flesh. Jesus became incarnate in each one of them, and their blood is His own blood, but a blood that must be purified. And like the heart that contracts and decontracts in a diastolic movement to receive incoming blood carrying waste products from the tissues, so Jesus remains silent and spreads out His arms of mercy to receive all the sin that comes from the fabric of our individual lives.
In ‘The Hours of the Passion’, there is a very beautiful and interesting passage where Luisa experiences the moment “Behold the Man!”.Sheunder stands that not only is the death sentence of Jesus ratified by the people but above all also man’s salvation by means of the Redemption.
“Jesus, my Love, let me hold You, because I see that not able to stand under the weight of so many pains, You stagger. Ah! At this solemn moment Your fate is sealed –at Pilate’s words a profound silence fills the Heavens, the earth and hell! And then, in one single voice I hear the cry of all: “Crucify him, crucify him; we want him dead no matter what!”.
My Life, Jesus, I see that You tremble … the cry of death descends into Your Heart, and in these voices you hear Your own dear Father’s voice saying, “My son, I want You dead, and dead crucified!”.You also hear Your Mama, though transfixed and desolate, who echoes Your dear Father: “Son, I want You dead!”.The Angels, the Saints and hell itself –all in one voice cry “Crucify him, crucify him”. And so there is no soul that wants you alive … and Alas! Alas! To my greatest shame, pain and horror, I too feel compelled by a supreme force to cry out “Crucify him!”.
My Jesus, forgive me if I too, a miserable sinful soul, want you dead! … But I beg You not to let me die alone, but with You.
And my tormented Jesus, moved by my pain says to me: “My child, cling to my Heart and take part in My pains and my reparations. The moment is solemn .The moment has come to decide for My death or for the death of all creatures. At this instant, two currents pour into My Heart; in one enter the souls who want me dead because they want to find life through Me. And by My accepting to die, they are freed from eternal damnation and the gates of Heaven open to receive them. In the other current enter those souls who want Me to die out of hate and to seal their death sentence; My Heart is torn and feels the death of each one and the pains of hell! Ah! My Heart cannot bear these bitter pains. I feel death at every heartbeat and with every breath, and I go repeating: How much blood will be shed in vain! So much suffering will be useless for so many! Ah, daughter, bear me up for I cannot take any more. Take part in My sufferings; let your life be a continuous offering to save souls and to sweeten My pains which are so excruciating!”» (Hour XVII, from9:00 to 10:00 a.m.).
While all the people shout “Crucify him!”, Jesus thinks back on the time when He spoke to them from the top of a mountain, as He does now from the height of the balcony without anyone being able to understand the secrets that His silence is whispering to their hearts. “Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in Heaven”. The words of life that Jesus spoke so freely up to a few days before now become manifest in these last acts of love. “Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven”. That praetorium Is Jesus’ stand, and Jesus is the light of the world. Now, it is very clear what He meant that day on the mountain: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven”.
Facing that hellish pit Jesus thinks of the Father and looks toward the heavens and dreams of a paradise for each one of us. He is giving His life for us, for His friends; this is the only thing that matters to Him. With tearful eyes we understand the freedom that He found in wanting to die to give life to those He loves. And Jesus asks us to do the same, because it is in giving one’s life for our friends that we are free, and it is in forgiving our enemies that the millstone of pride is thrown into the tomb.
Jesus looks at us, and it is as if He were telling us not to trust our thinking more than His words. He knows that it seems absurd for us to do as He asks us, but He also knows that we desire to do as He has done for us. That is why He gave us an example and why He chose to give His life for us.
But why was Jesus crowned with thorns? Of course, for those who condemned Him it was a means to mock Him, but for Jesus it was an instrument for teaching us many things about our lives.
Jesus tells Luisa on October 12, 1903, that the crowning of thorns is almost incomprehensible to the human mind because His head wanted to be honored with a specific and special portion, not general, of suffering and bloodshed of its own, almost competing with the body. The reason being that the head is what unites the whole body and soul and is the essential part of the whole man; so much so that if the body sins or does good, it is the head that directs, because the body is only an instrument. Thus Jesus’ head, needing to restore command and dominion to the human mind and merit that new heavens of graces and new worlds of truth should enter it, and to oppose new hells of sins which men bring upon themselves becoming cowardly slaves of vile passions wanted to crown with glory the entire human family with honor and dignity, firstly by crowning and honoring His Humanity, albeit with a painful crown of thorns, symbol of the immortal crown that was taken away by sin and that was being given back to creatures. Besides this, the crown of thorns means that there is no glory and honor without thorns, that there can never be any rule over passions and no possession of virtue without feeling pricked down into the flesh and the spirit, and that to truly reign means to govern oneself through the pricks of mortification and sacrifice. Furthermore, these thorns mean that the true and only King is Jesus, and only a person who makes Jesus King of his heart enjoys peace and happiness. In turn, Jesus makes him king of his own kingdom. All those streams of blood flowing from His head are many rivulets that bind the human intelligences to the knowledge of God’s sovereignty over them.
Sobbing with emotion we understand that the life to which the Lord calls us is another. To be His disciples is much more than what we can imagine. In His loving silence we recognize the secret to freedom and choose to follow Him, as far as He wishes, even to the gates of Paradise. Then crossing over its threshold we enter with Him and everyone into eternity. These are the men and women we want to be!