The Passion of the Christ — Part 2 — The Scourging At The Pillar
From the Visions of The Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich
I am completely quoting from a book. Therefore, these works are neither original nor mine. They belong to all of humanity. I quote from the ebook at the following link:
Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Anne Catherine Emmerich was an Augustinian nun recognized as the recipient of many mystic gifts and vision. She is…
There is much in the book in between Part 1 and Part 2. I have omitted some details for the sake of brevity. This next section, however, cannot be omitted.
The Scourging of Jesus
Pilate, the base, pusillanimous judge, had several times repeated the cowardly words: “I find no guilt in Him,therefore will 1 chastise Him and let Him go!” To which the Jews shouted no other response than, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” But Pilate, still hoping to carry out his first resolve not to condemn Jesus to death, commanded Him to be scourged after the manner of the Romans.
Then the executioners, striking and pushing Jesus with their short staves, led Him through the raging multitude on the forum to the whipping pillar, which stood in front of one of the halls that surrounded the great square to the Life of Jesus Christ north of Pilate’s palace and not far from the guardhouse.And now came forward to meet Jesus the executioners’ servants with their whips, rods, and cords, which they threw down near the pillar.
There were six of them, swarthy men all somewhat shorter than Jesus, with coarse, crisp hair, to whom nature had denied a beard other than a thin, short growth like stubble. Their loins were girded and the rest of their clothing consisted of a jacket of leather, or some other wretched stuff, open at the sides, and covering the upper part of the body like a scapular. Their arms were naked, and their feet encased in tattered sandals.
They were vile malefactors from the frontiers of Egypt who, as slaves and culprits, were here employed on buildings and canals. The most wicked, the most abject among them were always chosen for the punishment of criminals in the praetorium.
These barbarous men had often scourged poor offenders to death at this same pillar. There was something beastly, even devilish, in their appearance, and they were half-intoxicated. Although the Lord was offering no resistance whatever, yet they struck Him with their fists and ropes and with frantic rage dragged Him to the pillar, which stood alone and did not serve as a support to
any part of the building.
It was not very high, for a tall man with outstretched arms could reach the top, which was provided with an iron ring. Toward the middle of it on one side were other rings, or hooks. It is impossible to express the barbarity with which those furious hounds outraged Jesus on that short walk to the pillar. They tore from Him Herod’s mantle of derision, and almost threw the poor Saviour to the ground.
Jesus trembled and shuddered before the pillar. With His own hands, swollen and bloody from the tight cords, and in tremulous haste, He laid aside His garments, while the executioners struck and abused Him. He prayed and implored so touchingly and, for one instant, turned His head toward His most afflicted Mother, who was standing with the holy women in a corner of one of the porches around the square, not far from the scourging place.
Turning to the pillar, as if to cover Himself by it, Jesus said: ‘Turn thine eyes from Me!” I know not whether He said these words vocally or mentally, but I saw how Mary took them, for at the same moment, I beheld her turning away and sinking into the arms of the holy women who surrounded her, closely veiled. And now Jesus clasped the pillar in His arms.
The executioners, with horrible imprecations and barbarous pulling, fastened His sacred, upraised hands, by means of a wooden peg, behind the iron ring on top. In thus doing, they so stretched His whole body, that His feet, tightly bound below at the base, scarcely touched the ground. There stood the Holy of Holies, divested of clothing, laden with untold anguish and ignominy, stretched upon the pillar of criminals, while two of the bloodhounds, with sanguinary rage, began to tear with their whips thesacred back from head to foot.
The first rods, or scourges, that they used looked as if made of flexible white wood, or they might have been bunches of ox sinews, or strips of hard, white leather. Our Lord and Saviour, the Son of God, true God and true Man, quivered and writhed like a poor worm under the strokes of the criminals’ rods. He cried in a suppressed voice, and a clear, sweet-sounding wailing, like a loving prayer under excruciating torture, formed a touching accompaniment to the hissing strokes of His tormentors.
Now and then the cries of the populace and the Pharisees mingled with those pitiful, holy, blessed, plaintive tones like frightful peals of thunder from an angry storm cloud. Many voices cried out together: “Away with Him! Crucify Him!” for Pilate was still negotiating with the people. The uproar was so great that, when he wanted to utter a few words, silence had to be enforced by the flourish of a trumpet.
At such moments could be heard the strokes of the rods, the moans of Jesus, the blasphemy of the executioners, and the bleating of the Paschal lambs, which were being washed in the pool near the sheep gate to the east. After this first purification, that they might not again soil themselves, their jaws were muzzled and they were carried by their owners along the clean road to the Temple.
They were then driven around toward the western side, where they were subjected to another ceremonial washing. The helpless bleating of the lambs had in it something indescribably touching. They were the only sounds in unison with the Saviour’s sighs. The Jewish mob kept at some distance, about the breadth of a street, from the place of scourging.
Roman soldiers were standing here and there, but chiefly around the guardhouse. All kinds of loungers were loitering near the pillar itself, some in silence, others with expressions of contempt. I saw many of them suddenly roused to sympathy, and at such moments it seemed as if a sudden ray of light shot from Jesus to them. I saw infamous, scantily clad youths at one side of the guardhouse preparing fresh rods, and others going off to seek thorn branches.
Some executioners of the High Priests went up to the scourgers and slipped them money, and a large jug of thick, red juice was brought to them,
from which they guzzled until they became perfectly furious from intoxication. They had been at work about a quarter of an hour when they ceased to strike, and joined two of the others in drinking. Jesus’ body was
livid, brown, blue, and red, and entirely covered with swollen cuts. His sacred blood was running down on the ground.
He trembled and shuddered. Derision and mockery assailed Him on all sides. The night before had been cold. All the morning until now the sky was overcast, and a shower of hail had for a few moments fallen on the wondering multitude.
Toward noon, however, the sky cleared and the sun shone out. The second pair of scourgers now fell upon Jesus with fresh fury. They made use of different rods, rough, as if set with thorns, and here and there provided with knots and splinters.
Under their furious blows, the swollen welts on Jesus’ sacred body were torn and rent; His blood spurted around so that the arms of His tormentors were sprinkled with it. Jesus moaned and prayed and shuddered in His agony. Just at this time, a numerous band of strangers on camels were riding past the forum. They gazed with fright and horror while some of the bystanders explained to them what was going on. They were travellers, some of whom had received Baptism, and others had been present at Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The shouts and uproar of the populace became still greater in the vicinity of Pilate’s palace.
The last two scourgers struck Jesus with whips consisting of small chains, or straps, fastened to an iron handle, the ends furnished with iron points, or hooks. They tore off whole pieces of skin and flesh from His ribs. Oh, who
can describe the awful barbarity of that spectacle!
But those monsters had not yet satiated their cruelty. They loosened the cords that bound Jesus and turned His back to the pillar and, because He was so exhausted as to be no longer able to stand, they bound Him to it with fine cords passed under His arms across His breast, and below the knees. His hands they fastened to the ring in the middle of the opposite side.
Only blood and wounds, only barbarously mangled flesh could be seen on the most sacred, most venerable Body of the Son of God. Like furious bloodhounds raged the scourgers with their strokes. One held a slender rod in his left hand, and with it struck the face of Jesus.
There was no longer a sound spot on the Lord’s Body. He glanced, with eyes swimming in blood, at His torturers, and suedJesus Scourged for mercy; but they became only the more enraged. He moaned in fainting tones: “Woe! Woe!”.
The terrible scourging had lasted fully three-quarters of an hour when an obscure man, a stranger and relative of that blind Ctesiphon whom Jesus had restored to sight, rushed indignantly to the back of the pil1ar, a sickle shaped knife in his hand, and cried out: “Hold on! Do not beat the innocent Man to death!”
The drunken executioners’ startled for a moment, paused, while with one stroke the stranger quickly cut the cords that bound Jesus. They were all knotted together, and fastened to a great iron nail at the back of the pillar. The man then fled back and disappeared in the crowd. Jesus sank, covered with blood and wounds, at the foot of the pillar and lay unconscious in His own blood.
The executioners left Him lying there and went to drink and call to their villainous companions, who were weaving the crown of thorns.
Jesus quivere in agony as, with bleeding wounds, He lay at the foot of the pillar. I saw just then some bold girls passing by. They paused in silence before Him, holding one another by the hand, and looked at Him in
feminine disgust, which renewed the pain of all His wounds.
He raised His bleeding head, and turned His sorrowful face in pity toward them. They passed on, while the executioners and soldiers laughed and shouted
some scandalous expressions after them.
Several times during the scourging I saw weeping angels around Jesus and, during the whole of that bitter, ignominious punishment that fell upon Him like a shower of hail, I heard Him offering His prayer to His Father for the sins of mankind.
But now, as He lay in His own blood at the foot of the pillar, 1 saw an angel strengthening Him. It seemed as if the angel gave Him a luminous morsel. The executioners again drew near and, pushing Jesus with their feet, bade Him rise, for they had not yet finished with the King.
They struck at Him while He crept after His linen band, which the infamous wretches kicked with shouts of derision from side to side, so that Jesus, in this His dire necessity, had most painfully to crawl around the ground in His own blood like a worm trodden underfoot, in order to reach His girdle and with it cover His lacerated loins.
Then with blows and kicks they forced Him to His tottering feet, but allowed Him no time to put on His robe, which they threw about Him with the sleeves over His shoulders. They hurried Him to the guardhouse by a roundabout way, all along which He wiped the blood from His face with His robe.
They were able to proceed quickly from the place of scourging, because the porches around the building were open toward the forum; one could see through to the covered way under which the robbers and Barabbas lay imprisoned.
As Jesus was led past the seats of the High Priests, the latter cried out: “Away with Him! Away with Him!” and in disgust turned from Him into the inner court of the guardhouse. There were no soldiers in it when Jesus entered, but all kinds of slaves, executioners, and vagrants, the very scum of the populace.
As the mob had become so excited, Pilate had sent to the fortress Antonia for a reinforcement of Roman guards, and these he now ordered to surround the
guardhouse. They were permitted to talk and laugh and ridicule Jesus, though they had to keep their ranks. Pilate wanted thus to restrain the people and keep them in awe. There were upwards of a thousand men assembled.
Mary During The Scourging Of Jesus
I saw the Blessed Virgin, during the scourging of our Redeemer, in a state of uninterrupted ecstasy. She saw and suffered in an indescribable manner all that her Son was enduring. Her punishment, her martyrdom, was as inconceivably great as her most holy love. Low moans frequently burst from her lips, and her eyes were in flamed with weeping.
Mary Heli, her elder and very aged sister, who bore a great resemblance to St. Anne, supported her in her arms. Mary Cleophas, Mary Heli’s daughter, was likewise present, and she too for the most part leaned on her mother’s arm. The other holy women were trembling with sorrow and anxiety. They were pressing with low cries of grief around the Blessed Virgin, as if expecting their own sentence of death.
Mary wore a long robe, almost sky-blue, and over it a long, white, woollen mantle, and a veil of cramy white. Magdalen was very much disturbed, indeed quite distracted by grief; her hair hung loose under her veil. When, after the scourging, Jesus fell at the foot of the pillar, I saw that Claudia Procla, Pilate’s wife, sent to the Mother of God a bundle of large linen cloths.
I do not now know whether she thought that Jesus would be released, and then the Mother of the Lord could bind up His wounds with them, or whether the ompassionate pagan sent the linens for the use to which the Blessed Virgin afterward put them. Mary saw her lacerated Son driven past her by the executioners. With His garment He wiped the blood from His eyes in order to see His Mother.
She raised her hands in agony toward Him and gazed upon His blood stained footprints. Then, as the mob moved over toanother side, I saw the Blessed Virgin and Magdalen approaching the place of scourging.
Surrounded and hidden by the other holy women and some well-disposed people standing by, they cast themselves on their knees and soaked up the sacred Blood of Jesus with the linens until not a trace of it could be found. The holy women were about twenty in number, but I did not see John with them at that time.
Sister Emmerich Shares Jesus’ Agony
It was about nine o’clock in the morning when the scourging was over.
During the whole time of the visions of the Passion just narrated, that is, from the evening of February 18, 1823 (Tuesday after the first Sunday in Lent) until the 8th of March (Saturday before Laetare Sunday), the Venerable Sister Emmerich was in continued ecstasy, sharing in the spiritual and corporal sufferings of the Lord.
She lay absorbed in these contemplations, unconscious of external things, weeping and sobbing like a tortured child. She trembled and shuddered and writhed on her couch, moaning in a low feeble voice, her countenance like that of a dying martyr.
A bloody sweat broke out several times over her breast and back. As a general thing, her floods of perspiration were frequent and so copious as to saturate the bedclothes and even the bed itself. At the same time, she endured such thirst that she might be compared to a person in an arid desert perishing from want of water.
Frequently in the morning her mouth was so parched, her tongue so contracted, that only by signs and inarticulate sounds could she ask for relief. A daily fever either accompanied or followed as a consequence upon alSister Emmerich Shares Jesus’ Agonl these torments, besides which she endured without intermission her usual portion of sympathetic and expiatory pain.
Only after tedious periods of rest was she able to relate her various visions of the Passion, and even then she could give them only in fragments.
In this way and in a state of extreme misery, she had on Saturday the 8th of March related the scourging of Jesus as the contemplation of the preceding night, though it seemed to be before her even during the day.
Toward evening, however, there was an interruption in her contemplations of the Passion. We shall give it here, since it offers a glimpse into the inner life of this most extraordinary person. It will likewise afford the readers of these pages a little rest, for we know from experience that meditation on the Passion, as well as its recital, may exhaust the weak, though they be fully aware that it was all endured for them.
The spiritual and corporeal life of Sister Emmerich was in intimate harmony with the daily interior and exterior life of the Church according to the season. They harmonized even more perfectly than does the sensitive, corporeal life of human beings with the hours of the day, and the seasons of the year, than the sun with the moon, climate with temperature.
It afforded, with perhaps a higher degree of certitude than these, an unchanging, though lowly, evidence of the existence and signification of the mysteries and festivals of the inner and outer life of the Church in her various seasons.
It kept pace so exactly with the ecclesiastical spirit that no sooner was the eve (that is, the vigil) of a feast begun in the Church than Sister Emmerich’s whole state of soul and body was changed interiorly and exteriorly; and the instant the spiritual sun of that festival set, she turned her thoughts to the one next to rise, in order to expose all her prayers and labors of suffering to the dew, the light, the warmth of the special grace attached to this new festival and to set in order her daily task.
Not exactly at the moment when the Catholic evening bells peal out the announcement of the incoming festival, and summon the Faithful to unite in that soul-stirring prayer, “Angelus Domini,” did this change in Sister Emmerich take place. But when a clock, not known to us mortals, struck the hour for commemorating in time some great and eternal mystery, her whole being underwent a change.
If the Church celebrated a sorrowful mystery, Sister Emmerich was truly and literally crushed by sympathetic participation in it, she languished in sufferings both of mind and of body; but the drooping bride of Jesus Christ, as if suddenly refreshed by the dew of a new grace, gained fresh vigor of body and soul when the Church began the celebration of a joyous festival.
She continued in this state until the following evening (her sufferings concealed for the time, as it were) in order that, cheerful and serenely joyous. she might bear testimony to its intrinsic and eternal truth. All this, however, took place not so much by her own will as independently of it.
She acted in this with as little design as does the bee when, from the flower, it prepares the wax and honey for its skillfully constructed comb. The good will of this poor peasant girl from childhood. to be obedient to Jesus and His Church, was well-pleasing in the sight of God, and He recompensed her by enduing her with extraordinary facilities for the practice of obedience.
She could no more resist the attraction to turn to the Church than could the plant help turning to the light, even though it were shut away fSister Emmerich Shares Jesus’ Agonyrom the direct influence of its life-giving beams. Her countenance was veiled in grief or radiant with joy according as that of her Mother, the Church, was sad or joyous.
On Saturday, March 8, 1823, after sunset, when she had with great difficulty related her visions of the scourging of Our Lord, she became quite silent; and the writer of these lines had no other thought than that her soul hadalready entered upon the contemplation of Jesus’ crowning with thorns.
But after some moments of silence, her countenance, upon which rested the weariness, the exhaustion of death, suddenly shone with a lovely, joyous light; and with the confiding air of an innocent child, she exclaimed: “Ah! The dear little boy that is coming to me! Who is he? I’ll ask him.
He is called little Joseph. Oh, how charming he is! He has pushed his way through all the people to come to me. Poor child! He is so friendly, he is aughing. He knows nothing. I am so sorry for him! If he were only not so cold! It is quite cool this early morning. Wait! I will cover thee a little more!” After these words, spoken with so natural an air that one might have been tempted to look around for the child, she took some linen that was lying at hand and with it went through the motions of a compassionate person trying to protect a beloved child from the cold.
The writer watched her attentively, supposing her motions the exterior manifestation of some interior action in prayer, for he had often witnessed in her similar wonders. But no explanation of the meaning of her words and actions was vouchsafed him just then, for a sudden change took place in the Sister’s state.
It was produced by the word “obedience, “ the name of one of the vows which as a religious she had made to the Lord. It was pronounced by a person at her bedside who wished to render her some necessary assistance.
Instantly she recollected herself like an innocent, obedient child roused by its mother from a deep sleep. She caught her rosary up quickly and the little crucifix that she always kept by her, arranged her nightdress, rubbed her eyes, sat up, and, as she was unable to walk or even to stand on her feet, she was carried to a chair. It was the time for her bed to be aired and remade, and so the writer left her.
When on the following morning, Laetare Sunday, he again visited her in order to receive a continuation of the Passion visions, he found her, contrary to expectation, brighter and apparently better than on the preceding day. She said to him: “I have seen nothing more of the scourging.”
To the question as to why she had spoken so much the evening before about “little Joseph,” she answered that she had no remembrance of having spoken about him at al!.
To another remark upon her being today much calmer, more cheerful and free from pain, she replied: “That is always So at Mid-Lent. Today at the Introit of Holy Mass, the Church sings with Isaias: ‘Rejoice, a Jerusalem! and ome together all you that love her. Rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow, that you may exult and be filled from the breasts of your consolation.’
Therefore today is a day of recreation. Today also in the Gospel, the Lord fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes, of which so many fragments remained. Ah, we have reason to rejoice! And I too, early this morning, was fed with the Blessed Sacrament. On this day of Lent. I always feel new strength of body and of sou!.”
The writer glanced at the ecclesiastical calendar of the Diocese of Munster and saw that it was not only Laetare Sunday, but also the Feast of St. Joseph, the foster-father of Our Lord. He was not aware of its being kept on that day in this diocese, since in other places it is celebrated on the 19th of March.
When he mentioned the fact to Sister Emmerich, he added that perhaps she had spoken of Joseph the day before because this was the feast of St. Joseph; and then she remembered that on the day before she had indeed received some consoling visions of the saint. Her former sorrowful communications were now superseded by those of a highly joyous character.
Her contemplation of the Passion had been suddenly interrupted on the eve 0f Laetare Sunday, which was also the vigil of St. Joseph’s feast, by a glad vision of the saint, who appeared to her in a somewhat dramatic character under the form of a child. We have seen I that Sister Emmerich’s Heavenly Bride
groom often sent His messengers to her under the appearance of children, and we have remarked that this was always the case in those scenes in which a skillful in terpreter would have employed the same form.
If, for instance, the accomplishment of some Prophecy, scriptural and historical, were being shown her, there usually appeared near the different scenes and events of the vision a boy who, in his conduct, his dress, and the way in which he carried his roll of prophetic writings-whether quietly in his hand, or bound to the end of a staff which he waved in the air — represented the characteristics of this or that Prophet.
Had she more than ordinary suffering to endure, a gentle, lovely child in green used to come to her, sit with extreme discomfort, but with an air resigned and satisfied, on the hard, narrow edge of her bed, or uncomplainingly allow himself to be changed from one arm to the other, or
even set down on the floor. He was always gentle and satisfied, looked at her sweetly, and consoled her. He was patience personified.
Was she, by sickness or sufferings taken upon herself for others, quite worn out, and did she by a festival or a relic enter into communication with a saint, with a glorified member of the Spouse of Jesus Christ, she immediately had visions from the saint’s childhood instead of his or her terrible martyrdom with all its frightful circumstances. In her greatest sufferings when reduced to utter exhaustion, were, by God’s goodness, consolation and encouragement, yes, even correction, warning, and reproof conveyed to her, it was always under childlike forms and visions.
Sometimes in her greatest trouble and distress, when she no longer knew where to turn for relief, she would fall asleep and be carried back for the moment to the childish sorrows of her early days.
Quite obviously an incomplete account. This was terrible, but what’s coming up is even worse. Let us be aware of the pain our sins cause God. Next is the carrying of the Holy Cross in Part 3. See you there!