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!”
“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.
“Peccavi! I have sinned, my Lord;
God, save me!
My God, I’ve let the powers of hell
“Forgive me this, my heinous crime,
Tis great; but God, Thy mercy still
“O pardon, Lord, this sin of my
Forgive me, God, Thou seest my heart
“O never let my heart again
O speak, my God, and say my sin
* * *
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.
"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,
Reprinted for Council 13307 with the permission of Abbey Press, Inc.