Brother Frank Sharma, ocd: the One whom they have pierced

Crowned With Thorns by Brother Frank Sharma, OCD

There was much darkness over the earth, lightning, thunder and rain. The fading sun had covered its face with a dark veil of clouds and Mother Earth had just calmed down after a violent mourning dance.

My eyes were captivated by a little gathering of people on a hilltop. Many were coming down, with weeping, sadness, happiness, and even with cruel faces;  they looked as if they had soaked themselves in blood.

Curiosity dragged my exhausted soul to the hilltop. With each step my faded vision became clearer, and I beheld a lifeless figure hanging on a tree between the heavens and the earth, arms stretched and nailed, and so were the feet. I drew closer to the tree with stumbling steps. His whole body was nothing but one wound with a face disfigured and fallen to the chest, with total poverty, total surrender and total giving.

Yet such majesty and splendor in that lifeless face made those who looked at it tremble! There was more longing than pain in that face; yes, it suffered and died of longing. His hair was wet and mixed with blood and mud, tangled on the long sharp thorns that adorned his head.

The descending sun decided to withdraw its dark veil, making me turn my face from its blinding light. My sight fell upon a woman, a woman of surpassing majesty, standing firm beneath the tree, strengthening a young man who seemed to strengthen her. Her face much brighter than the sun, and her eyes sparkled clearer than crystal.

Her gaze was firmly fixed upon the tree. Tears upon her cheeks glittered like diamonds struck by the bright rays of the sun. Suddenly something cold fell on my eyes, washing away the dust that faded my vision. Wiping it with my hand I saw blood mingled with water. I Looked up and saw a lance coming out of the heart of the lifeless One.

“My God, My Lord!” My whole being trembled, my legs lost their remaining strength, and for a moment my heart stopped. “My God, My Lord!” I had just looked at the One whom they had pierced!

I remained prostrated with my face buried in my hands when I felt strong hands lifting me up, but I had no courage to raise my eyes. The hands touched my face and turned it toward the young man at the side of the Woman beneath the Cross.

His beloved disciple, asked me, “Why did you take so long. Where were you all this time?” I remained speechless; my throat was blocked with sobs. He continued, “Do not worry child, everything will be alright. He was waiting for you, and knowing that you would be here, He left someone for you with me.” I looked at him perplexed. He grabbed my arm and led me to the Woman beneath the Cross.

She spoke to me saying, “Little one, look at Him; He is hanging there for you, look at Him.” I slowly raised my eyes to the Cross, resting my head upon her heart. She continued, “Look at that face, which Moses once longed to see but was refused. Now He longs to see yours.

Just before He offered His life, He asked for you; He thirsted for you. Look at those sacred feet, which walked miles and miles from one place to another hoping to meet you. See those hands that touched, healed and comforted countless souls. With each touch, His eyes were searching for you, my little one.”

I had nothing to say; not a word came from my mouth. With each word that came from the Mother, a deep sorrow penetrated my soul, yet I was comforted by the peace I gained from her heart.

She spoke again, breaking the minutes of silence. “At the garden of Gethsemane, when He was crushed in agony, He thought of you. At the pillar when He was scourged, at each blow on His cheek, He thought of you. When He fell under the weight of the Cross with no strength, He gained it back when He thought of you. Even when I met Him on the way of the Cross, when His eyes met mine, they searched for you. On the Cross, He waited for you for three hours. I saw and heard His cry of thirst for you. My little one, He knew that you would come, and that is why before commending His Spirit to His Father, He left me here for you.”

I no longer could hold my sorrow and I cried out, “Why, Oh why my Mother did He think of me? Why would He think of this poor wretch who was the cause of all His pain?” She spoke again, “O little one, the thought of you gave Him the strength all the way through, because His love for you surpassed all the  horrors of His Passion.”

I cried out saying, “How could He love me Mother, for I caused Him unutterable pain! In all His wounds I see my sins. In every scratch and tear in His body I see my impurity. My pride has crowned Him with thorns, my lack of love for Him and my neighbor has pierced His adorable Heart. Mother, I gave Him those ugly wounds, I killed your Son; I killed Life Itself!

Oh Mother why, why do you still love me? I pierced your heart with a sword. Why do you still love me?” At this, she held me even closer and with an ever gentle voice I heard her say “In every wound that seems ugly to you, I see the jewels of love, the treasury of His love exposed. My little one, love makes everything easier.”

I sobbed and said to her, “Mother I have failed, I have failed to love Him. I ran away from him, I refused to help Him carry the cross; I pushed Him away when He wanted to embrace me, in fear of His crown of thorns. Oh Mother forgive me and beg Him pardon for me, for to you He refuses nothing.”

At this she said, “My little one, He already has forgiven you. Look, He left His Heart open for you. Enter in at any moment you desire.”

I looked up, and the sun’s fading brightness still lit everything around. I looked upon the face of my Mother on whose heart I was resting. I said, “Mother I beg you, do not forget this ungrateful child, though I had forgotten Him.”

She looked into my eyes with a gaze that penetrated into my soul, and smiled, giving me an assurance of her prayers. Oh, such beauty, such love, such hope and joy in those tearful eyes! Would I not die a thousand deaths to gaze upon such splendor?

I heard the beloved disciple say, “Child, the sun has gone down, but it will rise again.” With those words, I rested my head again upon her  Immaculate Heart. We, the disciple and I, remained there under the mantel of Our Mother, with our eyes fixed upon the One Whom they have pierced.

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