The Scourging At The Pillar: Sin And The Soul

By: Tony Capobianco


Artwork Attribution: Karel van Mander I Public domain, CC0 or CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Blessed Lord suffered the effects of our sins in His Sacred Flesh. Looking upon Our Blessed Lord during His scourging at the pillar we contemplate also the very real effects of sin on our souls. Each time the sadistic whip tore the Sacred flesh of Jesus, we see in all of it’s terror the effect each sin has on our souls. Traditionally, Catholics especially consider sins of impurity while meditating upon the scourging at the pillar. In atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world, Jesus allowed Himself, although sinless, to take the weight of our sins upon Himself. 

Sin distorts and deforms. To our earthly eyes, the horrible effects of sin are never more evident than when we recall The Passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His Sorrowful Passion clearly shows us the full effects of our sins and how completely sin tears asunder the heavenly ideal of humanity. Each act of impurity is a vile whip which lashes our soul. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich describes His scourging in her work “The Dolorous Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ” as follows:

“Two fresh executioners took the places of the last mentioned, who were beginning to flag; their scourges were composed of small chains, or straps covered with iron hooks, which penetrated to the bone, and tore off large pieces of flesh at every blow. What word, alas! could describe this terrible--this heartrending scene!

The cruelty of these barbarians was nevertheless not yet satiated; they untied Jesus, and again fastened him up with his back turned towards the pillar. As he was totally unable to support himself in an upright position, they passed cords round his waist, under his arms, and above his knees, and having bound his hands tightly into the rings which wore placed at the upper part of the pillar,

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they recommenced scourging him with even greater fury than before; and one among them struck him constantly on the face with a new rod. The body of our Lord was perfectly torn to shreds,--it was but one wound. He looked at his torturers with his eyes filled with blood, as if entreating mercy; but their brutality appeared to increase, and his moans each moment became more feeble.

The dreadful scourging had been continued without intermission for three quarters of an hour, when a stranger of lowly birth, a relation to Ctésiphon, the blind man whom Jesus had cured, rushed from amidst the crowd, and approached the pillar with a knife shaped like a cutlass in his hand. 'Cease!' he exclaimed, in an indignant tone; 'Cease! scourge not this innocent man unto death!' The drunken miscreants, taken by surprise, stopped short, while he quickly severed the cords which bound Jesus to the pillar, and disappeared among the crowd. Jesus fell almost without consciousness on the ground, which was bathed with his blood. The executioners left him there, and rejoined their cruel companions, who were amusing themselves in the guard-house with drinking, and plaiting the crown of thorns.

Our Lord remained for a short time on the ground, at the foot of the pillar, bathed in his own blood, and two or three bold-looking girls came up to gratify their curiosity by looking at him. They gave a glance, and were turning away in disgust, but at the moment the pain of the wounds of Jesus was so intense that he raised his bleeding head and looked at them. They retired quickly, and the soldiers and guards laughed and made game of them.

During the time of the scourging of our Lord, I saw weeping angels approach him many times; I likewise heard the prayers he constantly addressed to his Father for the pardon of our sins--prayers which never ceased during the whole time of the infliction of this cruel punishment.”

From the writings of Blessed Anne Catherine Emerich, link here [] 

The grotesque horror of sin is abundantly clear when reflecting upon the above. The human soul becomes distorted and twisted in a very real manner whenever sin is chosen and acted upon. After sin becomes a habit and thus a lifetime vice, the soul becomes one large wound that no longer resembles what it once looked like upon it’s creation by The Lord. Through the intellect and will, each person is presented with a binary choice, to Follow The Lord and all that He has commanded or to reject The Lord and all that He has commanded. Each individual who chooses sin, condemns their soul to be scourged. Choosing repentance and conversion, opens the door to Divine Mercy. Choosing to live in accordance to self constructed morality and appetites of the flesh, opens the door to Divine Justice. In rejecting God’s way and pridefully thinking there is a superior way, the road taken by the fallen angels is taken. That is a road with but one destination, eternal damnation in Hell. The demons chose not to serve and the consequences can be seen in the terrible shapes in which they manifest. Satan and his demons are hideous monsters. They will be forevermore twisted and grotesque corruptions of what they once were before they fell from grace. Souls disfigured by mortal sin, reflect the abominable image of the demons that they choose to serve.

Thanks be to God there is good news! Humans always have hope in the Divine Mercy as long as they still have breath within their bodies. The very real effects of sin on the soul can be healed through one person alone, one Savior and He is Jesus Christ, The Second Person of The Most Blessed Trinity. Repent and believe in the Gospel. Come with a contrite heart and meet our merciful Lord in the Sacrament of Confession. In the Sacrament of Confession, The Lord resurrects our souls from death to life.

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