Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Scourging at the Pillar

The Scourging at the Pillar is the hardest of all the mysteries to contemplate directly because it's so viscerally brutal. The sheer cruel bloodiness of it, the immensity of suffering, is almost incomprehensible. I find that I can best meditate on it in its Marian aspect -- standing outside the praetorium with Mary, hearing the sounds of the flogging, unable to do anything but suffer with her as she suffers with Jesus. Everyone has experienced the helplessness of watching a loved one suffer without being able to alleviate any of the pain. The feeling of impotence, of being entirely other and unable to take away or at least share some of the pain, can be almost worse than the original suffering.

Bl. Elisabeth Leseur speaks of the value, and the usefulness of suffering, either physical or spiritual, directly or on account of others:
The stoics used to say, 'Suffering is nothing,' and they were not telling the truth. But, more enlightened, we Christians say, 'Suffering is everything.' Suffering asks for and gets everything; because of suffering God consents to accomplishing all things; suffering helps the gentle Jesus to save the world. At times, when I feel overwhelmed by the immensity of my desires for those I love, by the importance of what I want to obtain for them, I turn toward suffering. I ask suffering to serve as the intermediary between God and them. Suffering is the complete form of prayer, the only infallible form of action.
The pain we feel on contemplating the Scourging is our offering of love to Christ, our way of participating in this mystery with Mary.

1 comment:

bearing said...

A stray connection always pops into my head when I arrive at this mystery: one of the titles of Our Lady is "Our Lady of the Pillar."

It isn't this particular pillar that is being referenced, but rather one in Zaragoza, Spain -- see Wikipedia -- but I always think that one of the meanings of the pillar must be the same meaning of Our Lady's pillar, which is a meaning of hope in the steadfastness of the Church till the end. The pillar must matter, otherwise we would just call this "the scourging of Jesus" and not "the scourging at the pillar."