Christ Crowned by Carl Heinrich Bloch
They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. Numbers 21:4-9
I was pondering the first reading from today March 31, 2020, known as the serpent on the staff. Of course we all know this is a prefigurement of Christ on the Cross. And it got me thinking about the situation with the Corona Virus or Covid19 today. In this story we see the Israelites rebelling against God and it is that rebellion that brings their demise. The Lord saves them by having them stare at the very thing that bit them. I believe we are in a similar situation. Time and again the further we remove ourselves from God, the more we bring down destruction upon ourselves and even the innocent get lost.
As I was pondering this, it occured to me that what saved them can save us too. An action asked of them by God. In Moses’ obedience to God the people were saved. It is in our obedience that Christ saves us too. In obedience to the will of God, the Saints have always meditated on His Passion and parts of His Passion. It is in His Passion and death we get drawn into His heart and understand the depths of His love for us. His love heals. Perhaps if we meditate on the part of His passion where He endured a crown, like we are now, His Crown of Thorns, and look at it He will draw us closer and we will know who saves us. I began to search to see if there was a devotion to the Crown of Thorns, a devotion that could perhaps, by our meditating upon it, save us from this wretched disease by drawing us closer to Him.
It turns out there is a devotion to the Crown of Thorns. A devotion written in 1876 by a Passionist Father. I decided with the help of my friend Ashley Blackburn to write a prayer in the hopes that the Lord would hear our pleas.
A Prayer against Corona Virus Disease to be said while meditating on the Crown of Thorns.
O Lord Jesus, hear us as we cry out to you. We have turned away from your Holy Face. We have separated ourselves from You by sinning against you. Just as the Israelites complained against God in the desert and were bitten by the seraph serpents, we ask you save us as they were saved.
Lord, we are being plagued by the Coronavirus, the “crown” disease that steals our breath; the very breath that you gave us and that sustains our life. O Lord Jesus Christ, you suffered the Crown of Thorns during your passion and death on the cross, we implore you to protect and heal anyone who looks upon your Crown of Thorns so that they may be made pure of heart. May your Suffering Crown be lifted up at this time, may your Holy Spirit come into our hearts to convict us of our sins, so that we may, with contrite hearts, seek your forgiveness and mercy. Restore us to a place of piety. Hide not your merciful heart from us.
Heavenly Father, renew our spirit and fill us with the breath of your Holy Spirit. Help us belong to what is above. We ask that anyone who meditates upon your Crown of Thorns and looks upon the suffering you endured for us be protected and healed from the effects of this disease and be reconciled to your most Sacred Heart. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.