On the Threefold Torture of Scourging.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Threefold Torture of Scourging.
Represent to yourself to-day, with feelings of heartfelt compassion and profound contrition, the awful spectacle of our Lord’s scourging. Brutal executioners, the glint of whose cold, steely eyes bespeaks them to be destitute of the ordinary sentiments of humanity, and who have been known to take a savage delight in beating unfortunate criminals to death, lay hold on the immaculate Saviour and lead Him to the pillar of scourging. Quivering and trembling in every limb, delivered up to the coarsest and lowest of mankind, without protection, without help of any kind, Jesus stands there, a sacrificial Victim, at the mercy of His barbarous executioners, who, when He has claspt His arms around the pillar, tear the clothes off His tender body and bind Him fast.
1st. Consider the torture thus inflicted on the chaste and modest Saviour. He, the Holy of Holies, stands in the nakedness of His human nature at the pillar where criminals are chastised, defenceless in the hands of the rough, coarse men, who give free play to the cruelty of their nature, and whose filthy language and ribald mockery wound His pure heart more deeply than the stripes of their scourges wound His delicate body. O see, my soul, how painfully our Lord has to expiate in this lonesome hall of scourging the sin and shame of those who, in what the Apostle calls “chambering and impurities,” degrade and debase the image of God in themselves; see how painfully He has here to atone for the torture inflicted on His sanctity, His modesty, for the shamelessness of the unhappy sinner, and perhaps for the sins you have committed in this respect.
2d. Consider the torture which the tender body of our Lord had to endure. “The wicked have wrought upon My back; they have lengthened their iniquity.” Literally indeed were these words of the Psalmist accomplished in the person of the persecuted Redeemer. He starts and writhes like a worm under the brutal blows of the executioners. The blows fall in quick succession. Already His tender body is black and blue, crimsoned with blood, covered with weals. His sacred blood trickles down to the ground. Our Lord quivers and trembles under the intense agony caused by the blows, but His tormentors do not grow weary. Now they belabor Him afresh with scourges of leather set with knobs and spikes of iron, striking Him with such violence that the skin of His sacred body is torn, His flesh is seamed with wounds from which the blood spurts forth on all around; even the arms of the executioners are besprinkled with it. He turns His eyes, suffused with blood, on His merciless torturers, entreating them to have pity on Him; but in vain, they only go on with greater fury than ever. See, my soul, how bitter is the atonement which Jesus, bending beneath the awful physical pain of the scourging, has to make for the voluptuousness, the sensual indulgence wherewith sinners flatter their bodies. You perhaps have also sinned in this manner.
3d. Consider how this twofold martyrdom was accentuated by the biting mockery and contempt which the executioners heaped upon Him for His greater torture. See how your persecuted Lord, when the scourging was ended, lies on the ground naked and bleeding, exhausted and bruised like a worm that has been trodden on, with difficulty gathering together His clothes, to cover Himself, and trying to gain a brief respite, that He may recover Himself a little. But no, not even a breathing space, a moment of comparative repose after the terrible torture, is granted Him. Though there is not a spot left upon His sacred body on which to inflict fresh torture, they can at least torment His soul. Now that cruel mockery of our Lord begins when His persecutors throw a rough scarlet robe round His lacerated body and torture Him by hypocritical genuflections whom they dare no longer to trample upon physically, lest they cause His death. This Jesus also endures in expiation of the sins of the voluptuous. When you see man, who was destined to be lord of creation, whom God so ennobled, selling his kingly dignity by the indulgence of degrading sensuality, and making the image of God within him the sport of the devil, know that this shameful act was expiated in this painful manner by the Redeemer when He was scourged and set at naught and mocked with regal ceremony. From henceforth, my soul, practise corporal and spiritual scourging with this threefold object, for yourself and for unhappy sinners; and let it not trouble you if the world despises and derides you for this physical and spiritual discipline. For if our Lord met with nothing but scoffing and contempt as the recompense of the painful scourging which He underwent to atone for our luxury, you can expect nothing better for the works of penance and impetration which you as a Priest and a Religious, voluntarily perform on behalf of a miserable, sinful world.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
March Devotion: St. Joseph
Virtue to practice: Mortification
Litany of St. Joseph
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious Son of David, pray for us.
Splendour of patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Watchful Defender of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most pure, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most couragious, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of all who labor, pray for us.
Glory of family life, pray for us.
Preserver of virgins, pray for us.
Mainstay of families, pray for us.
Solace of the afflicted, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. He hath made him master of His house,
R. And ruler of all His possessions.
Let us Pray.
O God, Who in Thine ineffable providence didst vouchsafe to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most Holy Mother; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph
(This prayer was said to be founded in the 50 A.D. In the 1500′s it was sent by the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. According to oral tradition, whoever reads this prayer, hears it, or carries it, will not fall into the hands of the enemy, nor be burned in any fire, nor will they be defeated in battle.)
O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me from thy Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O St. Joseph I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thy arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.
Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope St. Pius X
O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.
Good St. Joseph protect us, protect the holy Church.
O good and kind St. Joseph guide us in the way of perfection.
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