On the Manner in which Our Lord Was Mocked

Hendrick ter Brugghen, The Mocking of Christ, c. 1625

 

 

Lenten Reflection for Tuesday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent from Holy Cross Publications

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

On the Manner in which Our Lord Was Mocked.

In spirit contemplate your Lord sitting in the hall of scourging, forlorn and suffering, His head crowned with thorns, His lacerated body wrapped in a ragged scarlet robe, in His hand a thick reed. There He sits motionless, patiently enduring the derision and mockery of the soldiers, who bending the knee before Him put out their tongues at Him, and with contemptuous laughter spit in His face and with cruel mockery cry out: “Hail, King of the Jews!” Keep this sad scene before your eyes while you make your meditation.

1st. The ceremonial which is observed as a mark of respect to an earthly king is now perverted into a means of mockery for the heavenly King. In order to do honor to an earthly monarch, his subjects place a crown of gold upon his head, whereas to show their contempt for the King of Heaven they crown Him with sharp thorns. The earthly monarch is arrayed in a splendid mantle of purple dye, whereas a torn and tattered robe is hung round the shoulders of the King of Heaven. The earthly monarch wields a golden sceptre to add to his regal pomp and dignity, while his vassals reverently bow before him, whereas the heavenly King, become an object of contempt to His subjects, holds a bulrush in His royal hands. Jesus, how art Thou persecuted! How different was the veneration, the adoration paid to Thee in Heaven, the Heaven Thou didst leave for love of us! There millions of angels worshipped Thee as their God and their King; here a handful of impious ruffians set Thee at naught. There thousands of voices joined to raise the song of praise, the glad hosannas, the just meed of a true and lawful King; here Thou art scorned and despised as a false pretender. How tremendous is the guilt of those who treat Thee thus! Yet, my soul, have you not often joined with those who mocked our Lord? Has not your worship of Him been a mere pretence, your outward show of reverence false and hypocritical, a mockery in fact, if, when you folded your hands and bent your knees in prayer, when you bowed your head at holy Mass, your thoughts were elsewhere? Sometimes, perhaps, while in body you were present before the Lord’s table, in spirit you were seated at your own table; or whilst externally you paid a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, inwardly you betook yourself to the dwellings of men whose company was frivolous, if not reprehensible. Is not that tantamount to mocking God by an empty show of reverence and worship? What contempt and mockery of holy things it would display if a Priest, ere he had time to unvest, were to hurry away from the altar to a drinking-saloon; or if a Religious who had scarcely swallowed the sacred body of Christ were to engage in idle conversation with seculars, with persons of the other sex. Yet you see by indulging wilful distractions you may in spirit render yourself guilty of this disrespect and contempt of our Lord.

2d. Consider how our Lord’s tormentors bow the knee before Him. It is expressly said “the knee,” for they do not fall down on both knees as we do when we pray, but in a scornful manner bend one knee only. This irreverence is often shown towards Christ by the votaries of the world, and by worldly-minded Religious. As a rule, in fact, such persons only bend one knee when they pray to God; they pray with half their heart; the other knee they bend before another god, the idol of their own passions, the craving for wealth and honor, the favor of man or sensual gratifications. This is indeed a shocking mockery of Him who said: “No man can serve two masters.” (St. Matt, vi. 24.) As in marriage the wife to whom her consort has proved unfaithful regards all the attentions he shows her, the flattering speeches he makes to her as bitter irony, knowing as she does that the same lips which now speak such fair words to her will ere long be parted to address compliments and flatteries to her rival, so it is only mocking God if at one time we bow down before Him and an hour later pay homage to the idols of our sinful desires. Take heed, my soul, lest you are found amongst the number of these evil-doers, of those who set at naught Christ our Lord.

3d. Consider our Lord’s conduct when subjected to this contumely. See amid this profound abasement how signally His sublime grandeur and divine majesty shines forth in all its transcendent beauty. He sits there in majestic serenity, silently, patiently enduring the insults heaped upon Him, a mute but terrible admonition to His tormentors. Learn of Jesus, my soul, what your behavior ought to be in regard to the contempt and mockery which every good Priest or Religious has to bear, not only on the part of the world, but also of those with whom he lives. Keep silence and endure it; thus you will be a spectacle to angels and to men; to the angels a spectacle of delight, to men one of edification and their own confusion. And to you yourself a scoffing speech addressed to you will, if it be borne with patience, be far more salutary than the highest meed of praise from the lips of man, however well that praise may be deserved.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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1 Response to On the Manner in which Our Lord Was Mocked

  1. Mary Anne says:

    Can you just imagine … a million angels … how beautiful it must be in heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

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