Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Lent

On the Scourges of Our Lord.


Jesus is beaten like a slave. He is bathed in his blood. His body is disfigured by frightful wounds. There is no part of his flesh that is not bruised and torn. Behold the Lamb of God scourged by slaves! Almost immolated, there is nothing left but to fasten him to the cross! Consider, and see if there is grief like his.


Why does he submit to a chastisement so cruel and shameful? It is to show the extent of his love for you. It is to make you understand the enormity of the guilt of sin. It is to expiate, by his sufferings and blood, the infamous pleasures of your flesh. It is to make satisfaction to God his Father for your impurities. It is to show how necessary it is to mortify your body if you wish to become one of his members. It is to show you the impossibility of being saved without sufferings.


Oh, Christian soul, take the scourge into your own hand, and inflict justice on yourself. Say: "It is I who have sinned. It is I who deserve chastisement." Is it just that I should be without wounds, seeing my King covered with them? How can my body enter heaven unless it is at first purified by sufferings? He who will not be chastised with men must be punished with devils.

Resolution: My sins have caused Jesus to suffer greatly. In reparation I will patiently endure whatever suffering comes my way and offer it with Jesus’ suffering to the Father.

Prayer: Oh, most holy Lamb, what crime has drawn on thee such pain, and led thee to submit to ignominies so great? Oh, virginal and sacred flesh, to what a miserable state the impurities of men have reduced thee! Alas, thou dost expiate in thy body the criminal pleasures of ours; it is to make satisfaction for the sins of our flesh, that thine is torn and covered with ghastly wounds. Let my body, then, be chastised, since it is that which has caused the evil. I desire to cut off all sinful pleasures, since they have caused thee so much grief. I wish to suffer stripes and wounds, in order to be like thee.

Miserable wretch that I am, I sin and do no penance; I am guilty, and practise no mortification! Oh, my God, I confess my baseness. I have not courage to chastise myself. Take, then, the scourge in thy hand and spare not thy chastisements. I am prepared to suffer all thou mayest be pleased to inflict on me. Chastise me if thou judgest it necessary, but let it be through love and not in anger. Chastise me in time, but not in eternity.
By a Member of the Society of Jesus, edited and amended by J. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.

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