Second Sorrowful Mystery
The Scourging at the Pillar
Some of these Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary are too vivid for comfort. While yesterday’s “agony” and “garden” are everyday words, along with metaphorical cross-carrying (living with difficult burdens) and death which we hear of every day, “scourging” is a rarely-used word telling of a physical pain which is near-impossible to imagine.
The Gospel of John gives the detail:
“Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; they came up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and struck him with their hands” (Jn 19:1-3).
Most of our personal physical suffering happens because people who are themselves desperately seeking survival speak and act without awareness of the consequences for others. Even when someone intends to hurt, they are rarely aware of what it might be like to receive the pain they cause.
To be on the receiving end of physical pain and verbal insult is difficult enough, but when hate motivates words and actions the feeling of isolation is even more real.
This was the reality for Jesus. Being denied and betrayed by his closest disciples opened the way for him to be the victim of fear-fuelled torture at the hands of strangers.
I can pray this decade of the Rosary reflecting on a painful event that happened to Jesus 2000 years ago, and which then had a happy resurrection ending. But I suggest that while this might be a useful pious reflection, the more challenging invitation is for us to engage not just with the pain Jesus received, but to ponder the pain that we ourselves cause others today.
I invite us today to pray this Second Sorrowful Mystery, The Scourging of Jesus at the Pillar, inviting Jesus to reveal to us the ways in which we persecute others, and therefore play the part of those who deny and betray Jesus, those who abandon him when he most needs us (The Agony in the Garden), and even take the whip in hand and scourge Jesus in other people.
You might find this five-minute audio a helpful guide to praying this Mystery, The Scourging at the Pillar at this link.