The Scourging of Christ 
c. 1480

The 24. Meditation of the whipping of our Lord. 
Then Pilate apprehended him and whipped him. Then the Soldiers of the President taking Jesus, carried him into the Pretors court, and they gathered together all the company unto him. 
Consider first, that the spouse of thy soul, that he might betroth himself unto thee, was divers ways mocked, spit upon, pulled, and beaten: but now he is come to wounds and blood; that he, which gave unto thee his honors, liberty, and other corporal goods, and suffered himself to be spoiled of all these for thy sake, might now in like manner plentifully shed his blood, and pour out his bowels, that he might see, what liberality thou wilt use towards him again.

Consider secondly two causes, why Pilate used this whipping. The one was, that by the sight of the body of Christ torn with so many strips, he might somewhat pacify the fury of the Jews, and stay them, from the desire of the Cross. The other was, that if nevertheless they persisted in their fury, this whipping should go before his crucifying. For by the laws of the Romans, such as were to be crucified were first whipped. But the true cause of the whipping of Christ according to the will of his Father, was first that thou, which wert sick in every part of thy body, mightiest be wholly cured by the wounds of his whole body. Secondly that he might receive thee wholly, who gave himself wholly for thee. Thirdly, that thou shouldest open the bowels of thy love towards him, who by these stripes opened his body to thee.

Consider thirdly, that Pilate delivered Christ to the Praetorian Soldiers, who assembled their whole band, which was the tenth part of a Legion, to wit: Six hundred sixty six Soldiers by whom he was carried into the court of the Praetor, that is, into a more spacious room, & forsaken of all friends was exposed unto the prey, like a Lamb in the midst of Wolves. Enter thou into this Court; mark attentively the cruel wantonness of the Soldiers, and the modesty of Christ in all these miseries, his clear and amiable countenance, and his incredible patience. First they despoiled him of all his clothes, & set him naked amongst them. Consider the shamefastness of thy most chaste Lord set naked before so great a company of men, and keep the clothes, which he put off, to cover thy nakedness. Then they tied his holy body to a pillar, with his arms stretched up, that his whole body might be subject to stripes. Then every one made a whip, either with rods brought thither of purpose, or else of cords, (for this word…., which we call a whip, as Euthemius noteth, is a scourge woven with little cords or leather thongs) and every one fell to work. Pray thou thy Lord, that this his nakedness may cover thy soul with his heavenly grace and virtues; and these his bonds free thee from sins; and this his being alone amongst his cruel enemies, may deliver thee from the hands of thy enemies.

Fr. Francois Coster S.J.


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