I look steadily toward a pillar which is set in the courtyard. It is not
exactly in the center, because there is more ground between the gate from
the street to the pillar, and less from the pillar to the cloister where
the soldiers move about, avoiding the hot sun of Palestine.
And I see them - demons - around the pillar, and around the Roman soldiers.
Hundreds upon hundreds of grotesque beings who can best, I feel, be
described as "hate with form." These demons move among the soldiers and
constantly whisper to them. The soldiers grow agitated even though, as of
yet, nothing is happening.
Suddenly many of these demons rush past me and mingle with the common
people and the same agitation stirs in them. I hear them hiss as they pass
by me, a sound of fire sizzling with unvented energy.
The soldiers move. There is a shout. A command. And Jesus, our Lord
and God, is brought out from a small doorway into the courtyard.
I see Him and my heart weeps for already He is barely recognizable, so
much has He endured. His garments are stained, His once beautiful
honey-colored hair darkened by blood, sweat and the filth people have
battered Him with.
He moves slowly, already fatigued and in pain, and His footsteps are
unsteady. There are two burly Roman soldiers, one on each side who, by
keeping a hand on each elbow, move Jesus to the pillar. There they remove
the ropes around His wrists and waist as well as the heavy chain which is
wrapped around His neck and which crisscrosses His chest.
The soldier in charge, a youngish man a year, maybe two younger than our
Lord, orders the prisoner to strip. Jesus meekly obeys, but he has
difficulty pulling the long tunic over His head for the binding of His
wrists has stopped proper circulation in His arms.
Impatiently the garment is yanked over His head, and because the hundreds
upon hundreds of demons still harass the soldiers, they all but rip the
shorter tunic off. Jesus, the Sinless One, the Pure Lamb of God, is naked
except for His undergarment which surrounds His loins.
The captain gives another command and the two soldiers attach a chain
again to Jesusí wrists and they pull Him to the pillar. There is an iron
ring near the top of the pillar, and through this ring the soldiers run the
length of the chain until Jesus is stretched completely. Our Lord is on
tip-toe and His torso and limbs are elongated as far as possible.
He says nothing but I can hear Him praying; to His Father the prayer of
His Divine Heart and Soul rises. It is a continual prayer of forgiveness
and it is united with Infinite Love, and also Infinite Sadness.
Another order, and the men come from under the porch where they have
waited in the shade. I understand they are professional torturers in the
hire of the Roman government. They are brawny men, bare-chested with
muscles that bulge as each flexes the scourge or whip he holds. The three
men take up their position.
The first steps forward, eyes fixed upon his victim and the whip is tested
several times for accuracy and strength as it lands only inches from our
Lord'í feet, sand the hard ground is cut to pieces as dirt flies. The
Roman captain nods and now the whip flies forward. Now, it is not hard
ground, but soft, tender flesh that it rips.
Over and over and over again in a rhythmic motion, the whip finds our
Lordís back and curves around to his torso, chest, ribs. The head, neck,
shoulders, buttocks, legs, knees, and feet are not left unscathed, and the
whip bites deeply. Large, horrid long welts are raised and appear scarlet
against Jesusí white flesh.
The demons dance obscenely and scream and gesture with hysterical laughter
as the torture continues. Jesusí face is twisted in agony and he bites His
lips so as to utter no sound. All the while the demons move, whispering to
the soldiers, the torturers, even the crowd. Itís a scene of diabolical
nature. Blood appears and the cruelty intensifies.
Without losing a stroke, as if in a precision drill, the second torturer
moves forward. His scourge appears to be of leather with heavy knots along
its length. H is swing is powerful and the blows land on top of the raised
welts from the whip.
Now skin and tissue separate. Blood vessels spew forth blood which stains
the ground, the pillar, and even splatters the torturers who, unmindful,
can only use their powerful muscles to cause our Dear Lord unimaginable
pain. Because this scourge is longer our Lordís entire chest, abdomen,
arms and legs front and back receive full blows.
The third torturer moves into position and like his fellow torturers his
eyes are glassy, feverish in anticipation. The scourge is also long, of
leather. But the end is divided into four or five strips. At the end of
each strip there is tied a sharp piece of bone or stone, I do not know
which because I feel as if I must faint or die from watching such cruelty
given to such Love.
The demons are raging even amongst themselves now, tearing at one another
as the third scourge sends pieces of flesh, tissue, muscle and, in some
places a bone chip from our Lord flying around the pillar. The demons will
not get near the divine flesh. They spit and utter curses and madly tear
at each other in their frenzy of hate.
There is not one spot upon our Lord left unmarked by the terrible
scourging. It cannot be possible that these men want to continue. They
have already reduced our Lord to a piece of meat, mauled hideously by their
It is the captain of the guard who has stepped aside to hear the words of
a senior officer. Then he shouts an order and the horrid whistling,
slicing, thudding scourging ends. Yet it echoes in my ears, my mind, my
heart and soul. O! I do not desire to see any more!
But our Lady comes and says to me: "You must watch and write as I direct,
for from this my Little Ones shall love my Son as He loves them, and they
shall grow strong in their faith."
The two Roman soldiers who led Jesus to the pillar now unloose the heavy
chain and Jesus slumps lifeless to the ground. He appears not a human
being, but one bleeding, oozing sore of mutilated flesh. Our Blessed mother
tells me that many today will say it could not have been like this, so
inhuman a scourging, for no man would have survived. But Jesus Christ is
the Man and as His Father willed, so did He will to survive, that all of
His Blood might be shed so that mankind might enter the way of perfection.
A soldier, barely out of his teens, comes running and throws a bucket of
cold, dirty water over our Lord. The shock, which our Lady says was like
an electric current of extreme heat and pain, brings Jesus back to
consciousness. He puts both hands on the blood-spattered ground and tries
to rise, but there is no strength.
Propelled still by Luciferís demons the two guards yank Jesus upright, and
it is grotesque to see our Blessed Lord try to stand upright. It is His
Will alone that permits Him to find His footing.
The short tunic is pulled roughly over His head, then the longer tunic. I
understand that the soldier regards this as another aspect of the process
Jesus staggers, nearly falls and the guards drag him off to the side.
They push him down upon a rough-hewn bench, not out of kindness but to
prepare Him for yet more pain and humiliation. From the corner a soldier
rushes forward with a thick bundle of branches covered with thick, long
thorns. He gestures at Jesus. The soldiers laugh uproariously and nod
One of them, who is older with graying hair, takes the tangle of thorny
branches and hacks at it expertly with his sharp sword. He carves it into
a crown-like cap and hands it back.
The two guards, not wanting to be stung by the thorns, use the tips of
their own swords to place this ca-like crown on top of Jesusí head. Once
it is there, they use the flat end of their swords and push with all their
strength till the crown has sunk into place.
Laughter, scorn, rebuffs of every kind fill the air while Jesusí Head is
pierced over and over by these thorns that are thick and tough. His
forehead is pierced and blood seeps down into His eyes, and trickles along
His nose and drips to the ground.
Our Lady, truly sobbing, reminds me that where, in H is Holy Infancy, His
head was possessed of silky curls, there is now a long, sharp thorn where
each silken curl lay!
Another soldier finds an old discarded military cloak, which is hastily
thrown over His trembling shoulders, while yet another finds a reed and
places it in His right hand.
Throughout, Jesus has uttered no cry, no word. But His prayer has been
ceaseless and filled with the Divine Will.
How the demons laugh, their evil eyes glowing with hate. They move the
soldiers to bend their knees and strike their breasts as one by one they
come before this human wreck and proclaim: "Hail, King of the Jews!" while
Jesus, His beautiful eyes no longer beautiful, accepts, endures, suffers
and offers all to His Father in Perfect Love!