The Scourging At The Pillar

From "Mysteries of the Rosary" by Msgr. Edward I. Hession

“Pilate then took Jesus and had him scourged.” Jn. 19:1

Before the dawn awakes the day,

A travesty on justice reigns:

The high priest sits in judgement o’er

The Judge Eternal of all men.

(His fate was sealed, sentence passed,

Before the trial had begun.)

Here creatures mock the God who fashioned

Each of them from dust of earth;

They sneer, blaspheme and strike His Face,

And cry unto Him, “Prophesy”!

The high priests and the ancients seek

False witnesses against the Lord,

But none of them can prove His guilt.

And last of all come two who say,

“This man has claimed He has the power

To devastate the House of God

And in three days to raise it up.”

The high priest rising up demands,

“Thou sayest nothing to these things,”

But Jesus answers not a word.

The high priest sneering, says to Him,

“I ask Thee, in the name of God,

If Thou be Christ, the Son of God?”

And Jesus says, “Thous sayest it;

Henceforth thou’lt see the Son of Man

Upon the right of God’s Own power,

And coming in the clouds above.”

The high priest cries and rends his robe,

“He hath blasphemed; as you all heard;

What do you think?” And all reply,

“This man is guilty of the death!”

ANGLES:

“Man, what mad desire has seized you

As you perpetrate this crime?

You condemn the One who made you

By a word, from earthly slime!

“What has clouded so you vision?

The curse of this no tongue can tell!

You have made a league with Satan-

Such an act must come from hell!

“Harken, man! See what you’re doing

As you sentence Jesus there;

What will be the consequences?

Think a moment - if you dare!

* * *

“They refuse to pay attention,

O Thou God of strength and might;

Send us quickly on this mission -

Blot these men from out Thy sight!

“Oh, revenge Thy suffering Jesus,

As He stands there silently

Like a lamb before its shearers;

Let’s avenge this tyranny!”

* * *

The God of Mercy and of Love

Commands the Angels check their ire.

The powers of darkness He permits

To hold its reign for one day more.

For so proclaimed the Holy Ghost:

The prophecies must be fulfilled.

Inside the courtyard near the fire

There stands a sad and fearful soul -

The timid Peter, once so bold,

Who claimed he never would deny

The Lord and Master he so loved,

Believing not the Master’s word,

But trusting in his strength of will.

A simple maid who spies him there

With pointing finger charges him:

“Thou art a follower of This Man.”

And lest this word be passed along,

The fearful Peter slyly says,

“I tell you maid, I know Him not.”

As Peter slowly moves away,

The portress seems to recognize,

And whispers to a crowd nearly:

“This man was with the Nazarene;”

But he denies before them all,

“I swear that I know not the man.”

But they who stand by threaten him,

“Thy very speech discovers thee.”

Again the third time with an oath

He swears, “I know not what you say.”

As Peter speaks, the cock crows twice,

And as if struck by lightning bolt,

He hears “Thou shalt deny Me thrice.”

Those words the Master said to him

As they approached Mount Olivet!

And Simon quickly leaves in grief,

And going out, weeps bitterly.

PETER:

“Peccavi! I have sinned, my Lord;

God, save me!

My God, I’ve let the powers of hell

Enslave me.

“Forgive me this, my heinous crime,

My Maker;

Tis great; but God, Thy mercy still

Is greater.

“O pardon, Lord, this sin of my

Forsaking.

Forgive me, God, Thou seest my heart

Is breaking.

“O never let my heart again

Be hardened;

O speak, my God, and say my sin

Is pardoned.”

* * *

At break of dawn the priests and scribes,

The ancients and the council meet

To see how they might have Christ’s death

Approved by Rome’s authorities.

They bring Him bound to Pilate’s court

Intent to see their wish fulfilled -

The Jesus Christ be crucified.

* * *

And Judas, who betrayed His Lord,

Brought back the thirty silver coins

And cast them down, declaring he

Had sinned, betraying guiltless blood.

And going out in black despair,

The wretch committed suicide.

The Ruler of the universe

Stands bound before the governor;

And Pilate seeks the reason why

The Jewish council seeks His death.

He sees the ancients envious,

He sees the hatred of the priests,

He recognizes jealousy

In all the leaders of the band.

To Herod's court, then back again

Is Jesus led, a Criminal;

But neither finds the least complaint

That merits any punishment.

But others thoughts fill Pilate's mind:

To brush aside these men of rank

Might cause rebellion of the Jews.

So Pontius Pilate, to appease

The scribes and priests who face him there

Says "I'll chastise, then let Him go."

And Pilate sends, and has Him scourged.

The soldiers with their brutal strength

Take Jesus to the scourging block.

They bind His hands, they bare His back,

They tie Him to the pillar there.

And this is done, as Pilate said,

Because "I find no cause in Him!"

The Angels dare not gaze upon

This scene of beastly cruelty.

The will of God alone can check

The fiery swords they wish to wield

Upon those blind barbarians,

To stop this crime - where Chris their Lord

Stands bleeding under brutal strokes

Of leather thongs and leaded whips.

'Tis only men with hearts of stone

Who dare to watch a criminal

Being scourged by Roman soldiery.

But here, the Meekest of the meek,

Who did nor could do any sin

Is bent beneath the scourging blows.

Each stripe tears flesh from off His bones,

Each stroke reopens bleeding wounds.

But Jesus utters not a word,

Although the pangs of suffering

Are far too great and horrible

To be expressed by tongue or pen.

They give him forty stripes, save one,

And when their fury has its fill,

Exhausted, Jesus falls to earth,

His Body smeared with dirt and blood.

ANGELS:

"What sort of beast is this that lies

With wounds all opened flesh?

Can this be man here at your feet -

This mass of bleeding flesh?

"You treat your fellow men like this-

As clay without a soul?

Such cruelty and lust for blood

Betrays the devil's role.

"Aye, this were terrible indeed

If on mere man 'twere bent;

But this - this Man is God! Yes God!

Who made the firmament!

"This Man is Christ - 'tis God , made Man,

Who's fallen by your blows;

He bears your sins, your evil deeds,

He carries all your woes.

"Hus Sacred Body's bruised and torn

Down to the deepest pores;

O raise Him up, and wash His wounds,

Pour oil into His sores!

"O soldiers, won't you listen now?

Repent your cruelty -

And hidden 'neath that bleeding flesh,

Adore Divinity!

Reprinted for Council 13307 with the permission of Abbey Press, Inc.