It came to me today in praying the Third Sorrowful Mystery, The Crowning with Thorns, that Jesus must have been intensely praying the entire time of His Passion, as I recalled this scene from my favorite Jesus movie:
How else could He have endured the unimaginable pain inflicted on Him with the even more pressing weight of all of the sins ever committed and ever to be committed that was placed on Him? What started on His knees in the Garden of Gethsemane surely must not have ceased until He uttered His final breath on the cross. In fact, Christ lives Scripture by forgiving His persecutors from the tree (Lk 23:34 and Acts 10:39) and quotes Scripture in His last moments, recognizing that what feels like a “God-forsaken” situation
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? (Ps 22:2 and Mt 27:46)
really ends with
The generation to come will be told of the Lord,
that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn
the deliverance you have brought. (Ps 22:32)
This image and insight came to mind because of the inaudible groan that comes from Jesus in the video clip above as the thorns are pressed into His skull (scroll down to ‘Effects of the crown of thorns” here for the horrific details of what this must have done to His senses).
This reminded me of this passage from Romans:
In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. (8:26-27)
Now, of course, Jesus not only knew how to pray but taught His apostles (and us) how to pray. But He was in a time of great physical and mental strain where He must have called on His Holy Spirit for strength, even when no words came. So He provides an example for us in our tribulations, on how to unite ourselves to His sufferings when words, or even cohesive thoughts, do not come.
Jesus, King with a crown of thorns, help us in our trials.