In C.S Lewis’ The Great Divorce, the narrator finds himself traveling on a bus through hell to the foothills of heaven. In one chapter, the narrator describes a scene in which one of the travelers is approached by an angel. This particular traveler has a little red lizard on his shoulder, whose whisperings prevents the man from traveling any further. An angel appears and ask the man if he can kill the lizard, which represents sin. The man is horrified and refuses to let the angel kill the lizard. As the angel continues to ask him, the man eventually says that he can kill it another day. When pressed further, the man expresses that he is worried that he will also die if the lizard is killed.
We might look at the fear that lead to the third Sorrowful Mystery as similar to the fear found in this passage of The Great Divorce.
In John 19:15-16, the chief priests saw Jesus as a threat because they thought Jesus came to challenge their position; to abolish their government, to destroy the life they had always known. Even though He told them that His kingdom was not of this world, they ridiculed Him with purple robes and a bitter crown, maliciously hailing Him as King of the Jews. They misunderstood and mocked His true Kingship.
As a Christian, I hope I never mock the Kingship of Christ, but perhaps I still misunderstand it at times. When going through a purgation, I don’t always recognize the loving and merciful nature of His Kingship. I sometimes get annoyed at the pain that comes with the shift of focus, from my desires to Christ’s desires for me. At times, I even find myself getting angry when Christ shakes up my complacency with things that I should never have become complacent with in the first place. I should not be content with sinning, and yet I find myself falling over and over again into the same bad habits and patterns. When Christ comes to help me fight against them, I must admit that sometimes I continue to hold on to them for dear life like the man did his little whispering lizard, unsure of how I could live without them or afraid of the life that will follow.
When I am faced with the temptation to give into sin, I ask myself “Shall I crucify your king?” In those moments do I bravely stand up and give my life for Him, or do I instead shout “I have no king but Pride” or “I have no king but Greed” or maybe even “I have no king but Resentment?” Do I allow Christ to work into my life the way He wants to as a Loving and Merciful King? Or do I struggle against Him for fear of the unknown?
I don’t want to crown Him with the thorns of my sin. I want to allow him to turn those thorns into roses. I want throw those roses at His feet when He takes His place in my heart to as the Rightful King.
Reflect: Imagine Christ in his Kingship. What does He look like? What does He say to you?
Reflect: What are you holding on to that is preventing you from acknowledging Christ’s Kingship?
Act: Pick the virtue you need to grown in the most and come up with little ways to practice this virtue everyday. For example, if you struggle with forgiving another person, say a Hail Mary for their intentions. Or if you struggle with lust, find ways in which you can serve your significant other or your brothers in Christ. Every time you are faced with temptation, try to invite Christ to come into your heart and reign as King.