Friday after Ash Wednesday
THE CROWN OF THORNS
Go forth, ye daughters of Sion, and see king Solomon in the diadem, wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the joy of his heart.–Cant. iii. n.
This is the voice of the Church inviting the souls of the faithful to behold the marvellous beauty of her spouse. For the daughters of Sion, who are they but the daughters of Jerusalem, holy souls, the citizens of that city which is above,
who with the angels enjoy the peace that knows no end, and, in consequence, look upon the glory of the Lord?
I. Go forth , shake off the disturbing commerce of this world so that, with minds set free, you may be able to contemplate him whom you love. And see king Solomon, the true peacemaker, that is to say, Christ Our Lord.
In the diadem wherewith his mother crowned him, as though the Church said, “Look on Christ garbed with flesh for us, the flesh He took from the flesh of his mother.” For it is his flesh that is here called a diadem, the flesh which Christ assumed for us, the flesh in which he died and destroyed the reign of death, the flesh in which, rising once again, he brought to us the hope of resurrection.
This is the diadem of which St. Paul speaks, “We see Jesus for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour” (Heb. ii. 9). His mother is spoken of as crowning him because Mary the Virgin it was who from from her own flesh gave him flesh.
In the day of his espousals, that is, in the hour of his Incarnation, when he took to himself the Church not having spot or wrinkle (Eph. v. 27), the hour again when God was joined with man. And in the day of the joy of his heart. For the joy and the gaiety of Christ is for the human race salvation and redemption. And coming home, he calls together his friends and neighbours saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost (Luke xv. 6).
2. We can however refer the whole of this text simply and literally to the Passion of Christ. For Solomon, foreseeing through the centuries the Passion of Christ, was uttering a warning for the daughters of Sion, that is, for the Jewish people.
Go forth and see king Solomon, that is, Christ, in his diadem, that is to say, the crown of thorns with which his mother the Synagogue has crowned him; in the day of his espousals, the day when he joined to himself the Church ; and in the day of the joy of his heart, the day in which he rejoiced that by his Passion he was delivering the world from the power of the devil. Go forth, therefore, and leave behind the darkness of unbelief, and see, under stand with your minds that he who suffers as man is really God.
Go forth, beyond the gates of your city, that you may see him, on Mount Calvary, crucified. (In Cant. 3 .)
Meditations and Readings for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas, Translated by Father Philip Hughes (London, Sheed and Ward, 1937)