Friday, April 15, 2011

In Understanding the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ

It is sad to realize that I never really understood the torturous punishment that was inflicted on our beloved Lord Jesus.  The paintings and drawing  in Catholic school and in catechism classes sanitized the Passion story too much.  Therefore, although I felt badly for Jesus, I did not really understand His extreme pain and suffering because I did not know the extent of His sacrifice.  In turn, I was not able to teach my own son adequately just how much our Lord had to endure in His passion and death...for love of us.  He who never committed a single sin, was cruelly executed for each and every one of our sins!

Parents should not keep this reality from their children.  They can teach at an age appropriate level but still get the message across.  I really wish my mother had described Jesus' suffering in more vivid details to my brothers, sisters and me when we were children.  Because she mistakenly felt she was protecting her innocent children, none of us really appreciated Good Friday like we should have.  I was so ignorant of the fact that I thought that the agony in the garden was Jesus being sad because He was going to die for us.  I thought the scourging was nothing more than a  whipping. 

Just try reading the Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich and you will get a more vivid picture of the actual brutality that Jesus accepted to endure for love of sinners.

The Agony in the Garden

This is an example of the pictures I grew up seeing about Jesus' agony in the garden of Gethsemane.

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The following are better in describing Sister Emmerich's description on how Jesus suffered.

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"...truly did our dear Lord writhe like a worm beneath the weight of His anguish and sufferings!"

"...When Jesus, unrelieved of all the weight of His suffering, returned to the grotto, He fell prostrate, with His face on the ground and His arms extended, and prayed to His Eternal Father..."

"...Jesus, in His anguish of spirit, raised His voice, and gave utterance to several cries of pain...But the sight of Jesus, thus bathed in His own blood, and sinking to the ground beneath the weight of mortal fear and anguish..."

"...I saw the blood flowing in large drops down the pale face of our Saviour, His hair matted together, and His beard bloody and entangled..."


The Scourging at the Pillar
Usual depiction of the Jesus' scourging. 

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In more likelihood it was like this:

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"The two fresh executions commenced scourging Jesus with the greatest possible fury...The blows from these sticks tore His flesh to pieces; His blood spouted out so as to stain their arms, and He groaned, prayed and shuddered..."

"...Our Lord remained for a short time on the ground, at the foot of the pillar, bathed in His own blood..."

"During the time of the scouring of our Lord, I saw weeping angels approach Him many times..."

A scourging

Description of a Scourging

The Crowning with Thorns

This is the picture we find in Rosary booklets.

The following are more realistic:

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"...In the middle of the court there stood the fragment of a pillar, and on it was placed a very low stool which these cruel men maliciously covered with sharp flints and bits of broken potsherds.  The the tore off the garments of Jesus, thereby reopening all His wounds; threw over His shoulders an old scarlet mantle which barely reached His knees; dragged Him to the seat prepared, and pushed him roughly down upon it, having first placed the crown of thorns upon His head... They then seized the reed, and struck His head so violently that His eyes were filled with blood; they knelt before Him, derided Him, spat in His face, and buffeted Him, saying at the same time, 'Hail, King of the Jews!'   Then they threw down His stool, pulled Him up again from the ground on which He had fallen, and reseated Him with the greatest possible brutality."

The Carrying of the Cross

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What it may have been like:

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"...he fell quite down against this stone, and the cross fell by His side.  The cruel executions were obliged to stop, they abused and struck Him unmercifully, but the whole procession came to a standstill, which caused a degree of confusion.  Vainly did He hold out His hand for some one to assist Him to rise:  'Ah! He exclaimed, 'all will soon be over,' and He prayed for his enemies...but these cruel men, far from endeavouring to alleviate His suffering, put the crown of thorns again on His head before they pulled Him out of the mud, and no sooner was He was more on His feet than they replaced the cross on His back.  The crown of thorns which encircled His head increased His pain inexpressibly, and obliged Him to bend on one side to give room for the cross, which lay heavily on His shoulders."

The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus

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"...The executioners soon pulled off our Lord's cloak, the belt to which the ropes were fastened, and His own belt, when they found it was impossible to drag the woolen garment which His Mother had woven for Him over His head, on account of the crown of thorns; they tore off this most painful crown, thus reopening every wound, and seizing the garment, tore it mercilessly over His bleeding and wounded head. ..Then seizing His right arm they dragged it to the hole prepared for the nail, and having tied it tightly down with a cord, one of them knelt upon His sacred chest, a second held His hand flat, and a third taking a long thick nail, pressed it on the open palm of that adorable hand, which had ever been open to bestow blessings and favours ...and with a great iron hammer drove it through the flesh, and far into the wood of the cross.  Our Lord uttered one deep but suppressed groan, and His blood gushed forth and sprinkled the arm s of the archers...The nails were very large, the heads about the size of a crown piece and the thickness that of a man's thumb, while the points came through at the back of the cross...
Description in detail of a crucifixion.

Please be sure to read A Physician Analyzes a Crucifixion.

Source used: The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ


Anonymous said...

Hello~I jumped over from *Fountain of Elias*. Your post was extremely moving and I feel the need to pick up that book that is collecting dust on the shelf. Thank you for this reminder at the beginning of Holy Week. Your images leave one in awe. Bless you~Theresa

Alice Seidel said...

What a beautiful blog you have here! I, also, never truly thought too hard about the sorrowful Passion of our Lord and the awful-ness of that Good Friday. Not a one of us can possibly fathom how the death of Jesus looked from where we are in time.
This Lent has been particularly fruitful for me; in so doing
I just keep thinking that Jesus took on the sins of the WORLD, those of the past, of His present time, and of the future.
I feel an impulse to pray unceasingly this week; for our world, our families, our pope, our lives.
And to remember it was from the Cross that Jesus gave us his Mother!

Julygirl said...

That is why the Mel Gibson film about Christ's passion was important. It truly depicts the horror of those events.

Esther G. said...

Theresa, thank you for stopping by. I am re-reading it again and this time, the book is really moving my soul. God bless,

Alice, mahalo for your kind words. I appreciate you sharing your Lenten journey with us here.

Julygirl, yes indeed!