Hours of the Passion
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church
From 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Jesus is brought before Pilate again.
My tormented Jesus, among anxieties and pains my poor heart follows you. Seeing you clothed as a madman, knowing who you are—infinite Wisdom, who gives judgment to all—I go into a frenzy, and say: What! Jesus is mad? Jesus is a criminal? And now the greatest criminal, Barabbas, will be preferred to you. My Jesus, holiness that has no equal, now you are before Pilate again.
Seeing you so pitifully reduced and clothed as if insane, and that Herod didn't condemn you either, he is more angered with the Jews, more firmly convinced of your innocence, and decided not to condemn you. But at the same time, wanting to give some satisfaction to the Jews, and, as it were, extinguish the hate, the fury, the rage and the burning thirst which they have for your blood, he presents you together with Barabbas. But the Jews cry: “We want Barabbas freed, not Jesus!”
So, Pilate, not knowing what to do to calm them down, condemns you to the scouring. My rejected Jesus, my heart breaks to see that while the Jews are all busy about putting you to death, absorbed in yourself, you are intent on giving life to everyone. Straining my ears, I can hear you say:
“Holy Father, look at your Son clothed as a madman. This makes reparation to you for the madness of so many creatures fallen into sin. Let this white garment be before you as forgiveness for so many souls that clothe themselves in the gloomy garment of sin. O Father, see the hatred, the fury, the rage they have against me, and their thirst for my blood, which makes them almost lose the light of reason. I want to make reparation to you for all hatred, vengeance, anger and homicides, and obtain the light of reason for everyone.”
“My Father, look at me again. Could there be a greater insult than to prefer the worst criminal to me? I want to make reparation to you for all the preferences committed. Yes, the whole world is full of preferences. Some people prefer a miserable selfinterest to us; others honors, vanities, pleasures, attachments, dignities, immoderate eating and drinking, and even sin itself. All creatures unanimously reject us, even putting us after every foolish little thing. I am ready to accept Barabbas' being preferred to me, to make reparation for the preferences of creatures.”
My Jesus, seeing your great love in the midst of so many sufferings, and the heroism of your virtues in the midst of so many pains and insults, I feel myself die of pain and confusion. Your words and reparations, like so many wounds, echo in my poor heart; and in my grief I repeat your prayers and your reparations. I cannot separate from you even for an instant, otherwise many things that you do would escape me.
Now, what do I see? The soldiers are leading you to a column to scourge you. My love, I follow you. I ask you to look at me with your look of love, and to give me the strength to assist at your painful butchery. My most pure Jesus, now you are by the column. The furious soldiers loose you to tie you to it. But this is not enough. They strip you of your garments so they can cruelly butcher your most holy body. My love, my life, I feel myself faint for the pain of seeing you nude. You are trembling from head to foot, and your most holy face reddens with a virginal blush. You are so confused and exhausted, that, unable to stand on your feet, you are about to fall at the foot of this column, but the soldiers don't let you. They hold you up, not to help you, but to be able to tie you.
Now they take the ropes and tie your arms so tightly that they swell up right away, and blood spurts from the tips of your fingers. Then, from the iron ring on the column they pass the ropes and chains around your most holy person to your feet. And in order to freely unleash themselves on you they tie you to the column so tightly that you can't make a move. My stripped Jesus, let me pour out my feelings, otherwise I won't be able to continue to see you suffer so. How is it that you who dress all created things—the sun with light, the sky with stars, the plants with leaves, the birds with feathers—are stripped? What boldness! With the light that comes forth from his eyes, my loving Jesus says to me:
“Be silent, my child. It was necessary for me to be stripped, to make reparation for so many who strip themselves of every modesty, purity and innocence; who strip themselves of every good and virtue, of my grace, and dress themselves with every bestiality, living after the manner of beasts. With my virginal blush, I want to make reparation for all the indecencies, loose lifestyles and bestial pleasures. So, be attentive to what I am doing, pray and make reparation together with me, and calm down.”
Scourged Jesus, your love goes from excess to excess. I see that the torturers take up the whips and beat you so mercilessly that all your most holy body turns black and blue. They have beaten you so furiously that they are already tired, but two others take their place. These take up thorny rods and beat you so much that the blood immediately begins to flow in streams from your most sacred body. Then they pound it all over, forming furrows, and turning it into one big wound.
But this is still not enough. Two others take their place and with chains of hooked iron continue the painful butchery. At the first blows, that beaten and wounded flesh is shredded even more and falls to the ground, leaving the bones bare. The blood is streaming so profusely that it forms a pool around the column. My Jesus, my naked love, while you are under this storm of blows, I embrace your feet so that I may share in your pains and be entirely covered with your most precious blood. O Jesus, scourge my mind and drive out every thought that could distance me from You. Scourge my eyes, and if they want to look at earthly things, strike them with your scourges and make them look only at You. O Jesus, the sound of your whips reaches my ears! When You see me listening to things that distract me from You, my Jesus, strike me with your whips and entice me to listen only to your voice.
O Jesus, scourge my face—and if some act of complacency or selfimportance should make an impression upon me, let the blows of your whips detach me from the earth and spur me to look only at Heaven. O Jesus, scourge my tongue and my lips—and if they should dare to pronounce a word that is not for your love and glory, may your scourges strike me and cast fire and flames upon me to ignite with love not only me, but all those who listen to me as well. O Jesus, scourge my hands. May every movement I make and every work that I do be signed with the seal of your love. O Jesus, may your whips strike my feet. I beg You to bind them tightly to your feet to keep me from taking a single step that is not for You—and so that I might lead others to love You. O Jesus, scourge my heart with your dispositions, affections, and desires so that every blow I receive leaves a wound in my heart.
And may these blows give birth to a living love in me. My Jesus, as I stretch my ears, I hear your moans, unheard by the others, because the storm of blows deafens the air around You. In those moans you say:
“All you who love me, come to learn the heroism of true love. Come to extinguish in my blood the thirst of your passions, the thirst of so many ambitions, of so many vanities and pleasures, of so many sensualities! In this blood of mine you will find the remedy for all your evils.”
Your moans continue to say:
“Look at me, O Father, all wounded under this storm of the lashes. But this is not everything. I want to form so many wounds in my body to make enough dwellings for all souls in the heaven of my humanity so as to form their salvation in myself, and then make them pass into the heaven of my divinity. My Father, let every lash of these scourgings make reparation before you, one by one, for every kind of sin. And as they strike me, let them excuse those who commit them. Let these lashes strike the hearts of creatures, speaking to them of my love, and so compel them to surrender to me.”
As you say this, your love is so intense that you almost encourage the torturers to beat you more. My torn and lacerated Jesus, your love overwhelms me and makes me feel like I am going crazy. Although your love is not tired, the executioners don't have the strength to continue the painful butchery. Now they cut the ropes; and almost dead, you fall in your own blood. Seeing the shreds of your flesh, you feel yourself die for the pain of seeing the condemned souls torn from you in those bits of flesh. The pain is so intense that you are gasping in your own blood, and seeing your flesh being lacerated you feels like dying of sorrow and in those pieces of flesh you see the souls who tear themselves away from your humanity. This suffering is so deep that you seem to drown in your own blood.
My Jesus, let me take you in my arms to restore you some with my love. I kiss you, and with my kiss I enclose all souls in you so that no others will be lost. Meanwhile, you bless me.
Reflections and Practices.
At this time, Jesus is stripped naked and subjected to cruel beating. But am I stripped of everything? Jesus is bound to a column. Do I allow myself to be bound by Love? Jesus is bound to a column, while I, with my sins and attachments—sometimes even in matters that are indifferent or good in themselves—add my own ropes as though I were unsatisfied with the ropes the Jews used to bind Him. Meanwhile, with his merciful gaze, Jesus calls me to remove his bonds.
Do I not see in that gaze another reproach intended for me for having helped to bind Him? If I am to relieve afflicted Jesus, I must remove my own chains before removing the chains of others. These little chains are frequently seen in my small attachments to my own will, to my self¬love that is often offended, to my small vanities that weave a subtle web, sorrowfully binding my beloved Jesus. Overwhelmed by Love for my soul, Jesus Himself sometimes wishes to remove my chains so that I will not make Him endure this sorrowful enchainment once more.
Ah, I complain because I do not want to be bound alone with Jesus, I want to keep something that is not His, and so I force Him mournfully to withdraw from me. As my tormented Jesus suffers, He offers reparation for all sins against modesty.
Am I pure in my thoughts, glances, words, and affections, so that I do not inflict more blows on that innocent Body? Am I always bound to Jesus, in such a way that I find myself ready to defend Him whenever others strike Him with their offenses?
My enchained Jesus, may your chains be mine—so that I always feel You in me and You always feel me in You.