The Sorrowful Mysteries

The Seventh Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar
The Fruit: Mortification of the Senses


1. At dawn on that Friday morning (Matth. 27:1; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66; and John 11:47) the chief priests and scribes commanded Jesus be brought from the dungeon in order to question Him, in order to fabricate a charge against Him. They considered Him worthy of death and as such that He should be brought before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea.

2. Jesus was still bound with the same ropes and chains in which He had been led from the Garden of Olives. One of the accusations of the Jews and the priests before Pilate was, that Jesus Our Savior had begun to stir up the people by His preaching in the province of Galilee (Luke 23:6). This caused Pilate to inquire, whether He was a Galileean; and as they told him, that Jesus was born and raised in that country, he thought this circumstance useful for the solution of his difficulties in regard to Jesus and for escaping the molestations of the Jews, who so urgently demanded His death. Pilate was at enmity with Herod, for the two governed the two principal provinces of Palestine, namely, Judea and Galilee, and a short time before it had happened that Pilate, in his real for the supremacy of the Roman empire, had murdered some Galileeans during a public function in the temple, mixing the blood of the insurgents with that of the holy sacrifices. Herod was highly incensed at this sacrilege, and Pilate, in order to afford him some satisfaction without much trouble to himself, resolved to send to him Christ the Lord to be examined and judged as one of the subjects of Herod's sway. Pilate also expected that Herod would set Jesus free as being innocent and a Victim of the malice and envy of the priests and scribes.

3. When Herod was informed that Pilate would send Jesus of Nazareth to him, he was highly pleased. He knew that Jesus was a great friend of John the Baptist, whom he had ordered to be put to death (Mark 6:27), and had heard many reports of his preaching. ... he harbored the desire of seeing Jesus do something new and extraordinary for his entertainment and wonder (Luke 23:8). The Author of Life therefore came into the presence of the murderer Herod, against whom the blood of the Baptist was calling more loudly to this same Lord for vengeance, than in its time the blood of Abel (Gen. 4:10). But the unhappy adulterer, ignorant of the terrible judgment of the Almighty, received Him with loud laughter as an enchanter and conjurer. In this dreadful misconception he commenced to examine and question Him, persuaded that he could thereby induce Him to work some miracle to satisfy his curiosity. But the Master of Wisdom and Prudence, standing With an humble reserve before His most unworthy judge, answered him not a word. For on account of his evil-doing he well merited the punishment of not hearing the words of life, which he would certainly have heard if he had been disposed to listen to them with reverence.

4. This disappointed Herod. In his presence the Lord would not open His lips, neither in order to answer his questions, nor in order to refute the accusations. Herod was altogether unworthy of hearing the truth, this being his greatest punishment and the punishment most to be dreaded by all the princes and the powerful of this earth. Herod was much put out by the silence and meekness of Our Savior and ordered Him to be sent back to Pilate, who was again confronted with Jesus, bestormed anew by the Jews to condemn Him to death of the Cross. Convinced of the innocence of Christ and of the mortal envy of the Jews, he sought to placate the Jews in different ways. One of these was a private interview with some of the servants and friends of the high-priests and priests. He urged them to prevail upon their masters and friends, not any more to ask for the release of the malefactor Barabbas, but instead demand the release of Our Redeemer; and to be satisfied with some punishment he was willing to administer before setting Him free. This measure Pilate had taken before they arrived a second time to press their demand for a sentence upon Jesus. Pilate, aware of the obstinate hostility of the Jews against Jesus of Nazareth, and unwilling to condemn Him to death, of which he knew Him to be innocent, thought that a severe scourging of Jesus might placate the fury of the ungrateful people, and soothe the envy of the priests and the scribes.

5. The fury of the priests and of their confederates, the pharisees, against the Author of Life was
implacable. For Lucifer inspired them with his own dreadful malice and outrageous cruelty. Pilate, placed between the known truth and his human and terrestrial considerations, chose to follow the erroneous leading of the latter, and order Jesus to be severely scourged, though he had himself declared Him free from guilt (John 19:1). Thereupon those ministers of Satan, with many others, brought Jesus Our Savior to the place of punishment, which was a courtyard or enclosure attached to the house and set apart for the torture of criminals in order to force them to confess their crimes. It was surrounded by a low, open building, surrounded by columns, some of which supported the roof, while others were lower and stood free. To one of these columns, which was of marble, they bound Jesus very securely; for they still thought Him a magician and feared His escape.

They cruelly widened the wounds which His bonds had made in His arms and wrists. Having freed His hands, they commanded Him with infamous blasphemies to despoil Himself of the seamless tunic which He wore. This was the identical garment with which His Most Blessed Mother had clothed Him in Egypt when He first began to walk.

Thus the Lord stood uncovered in the presence of a great multitude and the six torturers bound Him brutally to one of the columns in order to chastise Him so much the more at their ease. Then, two and two at a time, they began to scourge Him with such inhuman cruelty, as was possible only in men possessed by Lucifer, as were these executioners.

7. The first two scourged the Innocent Savior with hard and thick cords, full of rough knots, and in their sacrilegious fury strained all the powers of their body to inflict the blows. This first scourging raised in the Deified Body of the Lord great welts and livid tumors, so that the Sacred Blood gathered beneath the skin and disfigured His entire body. Already it began to ooze through the Wounds.

8. The first two having at length desisted, the second pair continued the scourging in still greater emulation; with hardened leather thongs they leveled their strokes upon the places already sore and caused the discolored tumors to break open and shed forth the Sacred Blood until it bespattered and drenched the garments of the sacrilegious torturers, running down in streams to the pavement.

9. Those two gave way to the third pair of scourgers, who commenced to beat the Lord with extremely tough rawhides, dried hard like osier twigs. They scourged Him still more cruelly, because they were wounding, not so much His Virginal Body, as cutting into the wounds already produced by the previous scourging. Besides they had been secretly incited to greater fury by the demons, who were filled with new rage at the Patience of Christ. As the veins of the Sacred Body had now been opened, His whole Person seemed but one continued Wound, the third pair found no more room for new wounds. Their ceaseless blows inhumanly tore the Immaculate and Virginal Flesh of Christ Our Redeemer and scattered many pieces of it about the pavement; so much so that a large portion of the shoulder-bones were exposed and showed red through the flowing Blood; in other places also the bones were laid bare larger than the palm of the hand. In order to wipe out entirely that Beauty, which exceeded that of all other men (Ps. 44:3), they beat Him in the face and in the feet and hands, thus leaving unwounded not a single spot in which they could exert their fury and wrath against the Most Innocent Lamb. The Divine Blood flowed to the ground; gathering here and there in great abundance. The scourging in the face, and in the hands and feet, was unspeakably painful, because these parts are so full of sensitive and delicate nerves. His Venerable Countenance became swollen and wounded that the Blood and the swellings blinded Him.

10. In addition to their blows the executioners spurted upon His Person their disgusting spittle and loaded Him with insulting epithets. The Great Lord and Author of all creation in His Human Flesh and for our sake, was reduced to a Man of Sorrows as prophesied (Is 53:3).


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