Saturday, September 1, 2012

Meditation on the Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar

Today, September 1, is the First Saturday of the Month. The First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was first mentioned by Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917. After showing the three children a vision of hell she said, "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace... I shall come to ask for... the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays..." The First Saturday devotion is as follows:
It consists in going to Confession, receiving Communion, reciting five decades of the Rosary and meditating for a quarter of an hour on the mysteries of the Rosary on the first Saturday of five consecutive months. The Confession may be made during the eight days preceding or following the first Saturday of each month, provided that Holy Communion be received in the state of grace. Should one forget to form the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it may be formed at the next Confession, occasion to go to confession being taken at the first opportunity.
Jesus in the Garden
Today I wish to share my meditation on the Second Sorrowful Mystery:  the scourging of our Lord at the pillar.  This mystery of the Rosary has to do with the Passion of our Lord and how he suffered in reparation for our sins.  The Passion started of course, in the Garden of Gesthesame the previous night when our Lord endured untold agony as He prepared to take the sins of the world - past, present and future - onto himself as our perfect and complete Sacrifice to the Father. 

Shortly thereafter he was betrayed by Judas and taken prisoner by the Romans, who beat, mocked and spit upon him.  He was taken to the High Priest's house, where he was tried in a mock, totally illegal trial and found guilty of blasphemy against God.  They then took Jesus to Pilate, who wanted nothing to do with the execution of Jesus.  Pilate sent Jesus to Herod, as we are told in Luke 23:7-11:
Jesus before Herod Antipas
And when he [Pilate] understood that he [Jesus] was of Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him away to Herod, who was also himself at Jerusalem, in those days. And Herod, seeing Jesus, was very glad; for he was desirous of a long time to see him, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to see some sign wrought by him.  And he questioned him in many words. But he answered him nothing.  And the chief priests and the scribes stood by, earnestly accusing him.  And Herod with his army set him at nought, and mocked him, putting on him a white garment, and sent him back to Pilate.
Pilate, not happy that he now had to make a decision of what to do with Jesus, thought up the "brilliant" plan of scourging Jesus, hoping that the people would be satisfied with this and give up the idea of actually crucifying Jesus. 

The Romans had scourging down to a science.  From

Flogging was a legal preliminary to every Roman execution, and only women and Roman senators or soldiers (except in eases of desertion) were exempt. The usual instrument was a short whip (flagellum) with several single or braided leather thongs of variable lengths, in which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied at intervals. Occasionally, staves also were used.  For scourging, the man was stripped of his clothing, and his hands were tied to an upright post. The back, buttocks, and legs were flogged either by two soldiers (lictors) or by one who alternated positions. The severity of the scourging depended on the disposition of the lictors and was intended to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse or death.  After the scourging, the soldiers often taunted their victim.
Roman whips used on Jesus
Medical Aspects of Scourging
As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim's back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and Subcutaneous tissues. Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock.  The extent of blood loss may well have determined how long the victim would survive on the cross.
My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer
had plowed long furrows. (Ps. 129:3)
Scourging of Jesus
At the Praetorium, Jesus was severely whipped. (Although the severity of the scourging is not discussed in the four gospel accounts, it is implied in one of the epistles [1Peter 2:24]. A detailed word study of the ancient Greek text for this verse indicates that the scourging of Jesus was particularly harsh. It is not known whether the number of lashes was limited to 39, in accordance with Jewish law. The Roman soldiers, amused that this weakened man had claimed to be a king, began to mock him by placing a robe on his shoulders, a crown of thorns on his head, and a wooden staff as a scepter in his right hand. Next, they spat on Jesus and struck him on the head with the wooden staff. Moreover, when the soldiers tore the robe from Jesus' back, they probably reopened the scourging wounds.

Our Lord, the most innocent and the only perfect human being who ever lived, the One who created the Universe, suffered one of the most brutal beatings ever invented by man, with every inch of his precious Body covered in cuts, lacerations and bruises.  He did this all in reparation for our sins, offering it up to His Father and asking forgiveness for us. 

From Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli:
WHEN A CONSIDERABLE length of time [as a half-hour, hour, or an even longer period] is to be spent in prayer, it is advisable to make a meditation on some feature of our Savior's life or passion; the reflections naturally arising from such meditation should then be applied to the particular virtue we are striving to attain.
If, for instance, you need patience, contemplate the mystery of your Savior scourged at the pillar. Consider first the blows and revilements hurled at Him by the soldiers as they brutally drag their innocent victim to the appointed place as ordered. Secondly, consider Him stripped of His garments, exposed to the piercing cold. Thirdly, picture those innocent hands, bound tightly to the pillar. Fourthly, consider His body, torn with whips until His blood moistened the earth. And finally, envision the frequency of the blows, creating new wounds, reopening others on that sacred body.
Dwelling on these or similar details, calculated to inspire in you a love of patience, you should try to feel within your very soul the inexpressible anguish so patiently borne by your Divine Master. Then consider the excruciating agony of His spirit, and the patience and mildness with which that agony was endured by Him Who was ready to suffer even more for God's glory and your welfare.
Behold, then, your Master, covered with blood, desiring nothing more earnestly than your patient acceptance of affliction; and be assured that He implores for you the assistance of the Heavenly Father that you may bear with resignation, not only the cross of the moment, but the crosses to come. Strengthen, therefore, by frequent acts your resolution to suffer, with joy; and, raising your mind to Heaven, give thanks to the Father of mercies, Who didst send His only Son into this world to suffer indescribable torments, and to intercede for you in your necessities.
Conclude your meditation by beseeching Him to grant you the virtue of patience, through the merits and intercession of this beloved Son in Whom He is well pleased.
When life seems to be overwhelming us and we feel powerless against the temptations and trials of this earth, it is good to meditate upon the suffering that our dear Lord offered for us so that we might be united to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and forgiven of the sin that so easily besets us.  The love of Jesus in offering his body for our reparation and to redeem us from hell is beyond our capacity to understand, but to catch just a glimpse of it should be enough to inspire us to say no to the devil and the world and yes to the great God of the Universe.

But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5


1 comment:

  1. this is so beautiful, real and nurturing Sir or Lady......thank you


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