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Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Look at this image.  Where does your attention go right away? Now look more closely, noticing the sharp thorns as they capture the light.  See the contrast between blue sky, greenery and branches.  What does this image enable you to think or feel?

Reflect. According to the Passion Narratives of the Gospels, Jesus suffered immense physical pain before the crucifixion. Consider the problem of suffering and evil in today’s world, and how you have felt when trying to understand it, or explain it to another, say a small child.  As the sharp thorns pierced Jesus, so do the sins of this world pierce us: hatred, racism, poverty, hunger, disease.  Become aware of what causes you personal pain in the ways of the world.

Act.  Find a way to identify with, and alleviate, the suffering of another, knowing that just as it did for Jesus, so will it reveal glory to us.  What specifically will you do?

Thanks for taking part in New and Contrite Hearts. Your comments are very welcome—let others know what you saw and experienced. Until next time, may you have a most blessed Lent.

Music: “Ambient Sonata”  /Album:  Ambient Sonata  /Artist: Dee Yan-Key

Image:   “Crown of Thorns” /Place: Garden of Gethsemane, The Holy Land  /Photographer: Jon Shematek