Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar
By our sins we scourge our dear Lord anew. Do we take pleasure in such masochism to our souls and to pure Love that we would continue to beat Christ? By tending to our souls, and examining our words, actions and thoughts at the healing font of Divine Mercy - the Confessional - we receive the salve of salvific Sanctifying Grace. Through the Sacrament of Penance we can put a halt to the scourging, and apply dabs of sincere love to close and comfort those terrible wounds on His precious flesh; wounds we helped open.
"Surely He hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought Him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was offered because it was His own will, and He opened not His mouth: He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before His shearer, and He shall not open His mouth"
"Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani. And He said to His disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray.'" (Matthew 26: 36).
We continue the Lenten season with a meditation on the scourging at the Pillar (and the surrounding events) with orthodox insights from the preconciliar experts along with various gregoryisms thrown into the mix.
"Then Jesus took unto Him the twelve and said to them: 'Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man. For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles and shall be mocked and scourged and spit upon. And after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death. And the third day He shall rise again.' And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them: and they understood not the things that were said." (Luke 18:31-34)
Jesus knew this was going to happen. He was very specific here. He would be mocked, spat upon; scourged, but the apostles understood nothing. They do not understand the agony or the Resurrection. This is the third time Jesus gives a specific indication of what He was to undergo. I believe the Blessed Virgin Mary had an understanding this would happen. This is very hard on a mother, especially if it is unwarranted. She may have been in the crowd that witnessed the scourging, but if not, at the very least she saw Him walking on the road with the flesh ripped from His body.
It’s now morning. All night He has been held, shuffled between the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate and back. Being dragged in front of the Sanhedrin in the middle of the night was rare and again, a sign that such dastardly deed must be carried out under cover of darkness. These men of sin pervert justice in every sense of the word. This gives the appearance that darkness is prevailing. And indeed it is as Christ said in John 15: 22-24: "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin: but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth me hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin: but now they have both seen and hated both Me and My Father."
Let's examine the Scriptures and what the Evangelists have recorded leading up to the Scourging:
"Then they led Jesus from Caiphas to the governor's hall. And it was morning: and they went not into the hall, that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the pasch. Pilate therefore went out to them, and said: What accusation bring you against this Man? They answered and said to him: If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up to thee. Pilate therefore said to them: Take Him you, and judge Him according to your law. The Jews therefore said to him: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which He said, signifying what death He should die. Pilate therefore went into the hall again and called Jesus and said to Him: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered: 'Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of Me?' Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thy own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee up to me. What hast thou done? Jesus answered: 'My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now My kingdom is not from hence.' Pilate therefore said to Him: Art Thou a king then? Jesus answered: 'Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.' Pilate saith to Him: What is truth? And when he said this, he went out again to the Jews and saith to them: I find no cause in Him. But you have a custom that I should release one unto you at the Pasch. Will you, therefore, that I release unto you the king of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying: Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. Then therefore Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him" (John 18:28-19:1).
" And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man. Look you to it. And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and upon our children. Then he released to them Barabbas: and having scourged Jesus, delivered him unto them to be crucified" (Matthew 27:24-26).
"And straightway in the morning, the chief priests holding a consultation with the ancients and the scribes and the whole council, binding Jesus, led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate. And Pilate asked Him: Art thou the king of the Jews? But He answering, saith to him: 'Thou sayest it.' And the chief priests accused Him in many things. And Pilate again asked Him, saying: Answerest thou nothing? Behold in how many things they accuse Thee. But Jesus still answered nothing: so that Pilate wondered. Now on the festival day he was wont to release unto them one of the prisoners, whomsoever they demanded. And there was one called Barabbas, who was put in prison with some seditious men, who in the sedition had committed murder. And when the multitude was come up, they began to desire that he would do as he had ever done unto them. And Pilate answered them and said: Will you that I release to you the king of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him up out of envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas to them. And Pilate again answering, saith to them: What will you then that I do to the king of the Jews? But they again cried out: Crucify Him. And Pilate saith to them: Why, what evil hath He done? But they cried out the more: Crucify Him. And so Pilate being willing to satisfy the people, released to them Barabbas: and delivered up Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified" (Mark 15:1-15).
"And the men that held Him, mocked Him and struck Him. And they blindfolded Him and smote His face. And they asked Him saying: Prophesy: Who is it that struck Thee? And blaspheming, many other things they said against Him" (Luke 22:63-65).
"And Pilate, calling together the chief priests and the magistrates and the people, Said to them: You have presented unto me this man as one that perverteth the people. And behold I, having examined Him before you, find no cause in this man, in those things wherein you accuse Him. No, nor Herod neither. For, I sent you to him: and behold, nothing worthy of death is done to Him. I will chastise Him therefore and release Him. Now of necessity he was to release unto them one upon the feast day. But the whole multitude together cried out, saying: Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: Who, for a certain sedition made in the city and for a murder, was cast into prison. And Pilate again spoke to them, desiring to release Jesus. But they cried again, saying: Crucify Him, Crucify Him. And he said to them the third time: Why, what evil hath this man done? I find no cause of death in Him. I will chastise Him therefore and let Him go. But they were instant with loud voices, requiring that He might be crucified. And their voices prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. And he released unto them him who for murder and sedition had been cast into prison, whom they had desired. But Jesus he delivered up to their will" (Luke 23:13-25).
The crowd had dictated and Pilate had cowered. How many times do we cower to the majority opinions even thought they go against God's laws and will? Is it because we are afraid to bind our hands to the chain of the pillar and take just a smattering of blows Jesus received so cruelly? We talk a good game, but when push comes to shove, how many of us are willing to stand up for Christ and with Him? Like the Apostles, we will flee in fright, realizing then we're not as strong as we thought we were. It has been said that the scourging at the pillar is the first stage when man dares to judge God.
Why does Pilate have Him scourged? Christ knew, as Matthew 27: 18 illustrates, that envy had delivered Him up to the Jews. They didn't just want to teach Him a lesson, but to crucify Him to send a message to His disciples who, in truth, the Sanhedrin feared were getting stronger and bolder. Eliminating their Leader was their way of quelling the rebellion they feared. The very reason they feared it was their own guilty consciences for they knew what they were doing. It was out of cowardice that Pilate has Him scourged in the hopes that this would quench the thirst of the people’s hate whose hatred had been stirred into a frenzy by the manipulating Scribes and Pharisies. But having the scourging first allows the people’s hatred of Him to grow to a boiling point. They have tasted blood, but they want more. Consider here the difference between envy and jealousy. Both are bad but envy is worse, envy wants to destroy what others have, jealousy just wants (to a disordered degree) to have what others have. They wanted to destroy the Son of God. It was the very righteousness of Jesus that made them want to destroy Him. But in the process of destroying Him they are destroying themselves for if they die without this sin of Deicide being forgiven they will spend eternity in hell.
"Pilate said to them: You have presented unto me this Man as One that perverteth the people. And behold I, having examined Him before you, find no cause in this Man, in those things wherein you accuse Him" (Luke 23:14).
You mean to say politicians were bad back then too? Yes, I think so. Jesus lost his life so Pilate could save face. So many babies lose their lives so politicians can save face. So many souls are lost so bishops and cardinals can save face and live the good life. John the Baptist lost his head so King Herod could save face. Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher and many others lost their head so Henry the VIII could save face. How important is human opinion to us. Are we willing to scandalize our brother if that is what it takes to look good in front of others? How many souls are led astray today because of our lukewarmness?
You see Pilate knew Jesus was innocent but he did not want to be on bad terms with Caesar for failing to put a “threat” to his Kingship to death. And “for fear of the people” he had Him scourged. Coward. Do the right thing and live with the consequences is what I say. Can you imagine the state of the Church and the world had the bishops and “popes” followed that advice?
What about us? How often do we talk badly about our brothers, dress immodestly, and engage in promiscuous activity for the sake of human approval? How often have “good” “Catholics” contracepted their children out of existence so they could have a car as nice as their neighbor’s cars? How many times have we lied in order to avoid looking bad? How many “good” “Catholics” have mutilated their bodies so they can have bigger breasts or engage in promiscuity without responsibility? If that is not vanity and an incredible concern about human opinion I do not know what is? Talk about making and idol of human respect and of the way you look!
" And it was the parasceve of the pasch, about the sixth hour: and he saith to the Jews: Behold your King" (John 19:14).
It was noon when the scourging was complete the same hour they got the Passover lambs ready to be put to death. In Rome there was a special law passed in 195 BC strictly forbidding Roman citizens from being whipped or scourged. Many of us do not know the depth of the humiliation and great indignity a scourging was. In the Acts of the Apostles Saint Paul appeals to his Roman citizenship to avoid this punishment. During a scourging you would feel horrified. In silence Jesus accepts this public disgrace. Taken to the soldiers quarters, disrobed - which is part of the humiliation - bound to a pillar where you can feel the full brunt of the blows from the iron chains with sharp pointed pieces of lead or bone and leather initially making the back red, then tearing off flesh. Most men could not take 40 lashes so they would bring them right up to the brink of death allowing them to suffer that much more when they would be crucified. Jesus’ disrobing and relative nakedness reminds us of the Garden of Eden in reverse – “naked and no shame”; once Adam sins he feels the shame of his nakedness. Jesus now feels the shame of nakedness in His human nature.
When considering the scourging, this whole idea of sensuality and anger being combined comes to mind. We can have passion that is released in uncontrolled anger or sexuality. Sometimes people have uncontrolled anger and sexuality come over them at the same time, especially in cases of rape. How do we keep our passions under control? We can keep our passions under control through constant prayer and frequenting of the Sacraments (daily Communion at the True Latin Mass and weekly Confession). The just man sins seven times a day. How can we overcome our habitual sins if we do not confess regularly? If the grace from the sacrament is not enough to get us to change and stop committing habitual sin, the embarrassment of confessing the same sin over and over again will be. This is why it is good to go to the same priest each week, it is the next best thing to having a spiritual director. Confessing our sins every week makes our list shorter and thereby less embarrassing in the process. Consider as well the fact that the more embarrassed one is of their sins the more prideful they may be. It is pride that keeps man from showing his blemishes to the Divine Physician through the Sacrament of Penance; so to pride is the vice that leads to the downfall of man.
We can see the correlation of the Old Testament with the New Covenant:
"That night the Lord said to him: Take a bullock of thy father's, and another bullock of seven years, and thou shalt destroy the altar of Baal, which is thy father's: and cut down the grove that is about the altar: And thou shalt build an altar to the Lord thy God, in the top of this rock, whereupon thou didst lay the sacrifice before: and thou shalt take the second bullock, and shalt offer a holocaust upon a pile of the wood, which thou shalt cut down out of the grove. Then Gedeon, taking ten men of his servants, did as the Lord had commanded him. But fearing his father's house, and the men of that city, he would not do it by day, but did all by night. And when the men of that town were risen in the morning, they saw the altar of Baal destroyed, and the grove cut down, and the second bullock laid upon the altar, which then was built. And they said one to another: Who hath done this? And when they inquired for the author of the fact, it was said: Gedeon, the son of Joas, did all this. And they said to Joas: Bring out thy son hither, that he may die: because he hath destroyed the altar of Baal, and hath cut down his grove. He answered them: Are you the avengers of Baal, that you fight for him? he that is his adversary, let him die before tomorrow light appear: if he be a god, let him revenge himself on him that hath cast down his altar. From that day Gedeon was called Jerobaal, because Joas had said: Let Baal revenge himself on him that hath cast down his altar" (Judges 6:25 – 32).
God is calling Gedeon to lead the people out of bondage. They utterly destroyed and cut down the altar - but this is a holy rage. At the scourging, an unholy rage overcomes the people and they cut down the true God. Can you see the assimilation of how the modernists have cut down the altars today that once held the tabernacles of the Holy of Holies? Baal has been resurrected in the Novus Ordo halls. The Catholic Liturgy has been raped by the barbarians where it is no longer recognizable as Catholic. You know what? It isn't Catholic. It can't be for they have forsaken Christ and His teachings. The Mystical Body of Christ has been decimated and scourged and bruised beyond recognition.
The degradation of the body of Jesus should shine as a clear light through the falseness and deception of fornication and bring us to a willingness to mortify the flesh.
Being tied to a pillar symbolizes the idolatrous passion that was unleashed and the anger in which this scourging was done - giving us an idea of the nature of the people and of the grave evil we are all capable of doing but for the grace of God. And Jesus is silently steadfast in His compliance with His heavenly Father’s will while we so very readily get sucked into the sinfulness of our passions.
The more they hurt our Lord the angrier they get. Why? Jesus takes this in silence, it causes a rage in the face of God: ungodliness becomes more ungodly. Why did Jesus endure this? Every single act He did could have been enough to save us had the Father willed it so. For you see any act from the omnipotent One has eternal and infinite repercussions. Anything God does to satisfy for what divides man from God will suffice, merely just willing our reconciliation would do. But God loves us enough that just willing us back into His good graces was not enough for Him. He had to spill every last drop of His blood for us. He allowed Himself to be put under a curse for us which He knew would happen because we would not be able to hold our end of the bargain in the Old Covenant. By our constant disobedience and hard-heartedness we triggered the curses of the Covenant but He took them upon Himself as one of us to quell the just wrath of the Father. We cannot even begin to imagine a love that would equate to the love that Jesus has for us. It knows no bounds, absolutely none. To redeem our human nature Christ undergoes to the limit what a human being can take.
When talking about the sacrament of Extreme Unction that we get from James 5, the new-church Catechism refuses to call it by its proper name, but still attempts orthodox Catholic teaching when it briefly mentions the concept of "suffering" as being the result of original sin and its redemptive value when united to Christ's passion:
Union with the passion of Christ. By the grace of this sacrament of the sick (sic) a person receives the strength and gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ's passion: in a certain way he is consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior's redemptive passion. Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus. (CCC)
We can see how the fullness of Christ's suffering is diminished with just the mention of "Christ's passion" - lower case no less. They also fail to emphasize the fact that we must subdue the flesh by the power of the Holy Ghost and reflect often on the wounds, scourgings and lacerated scars and stinging wounds of our most precious Savior.
We see in the following how the Old Testament Prophets foretold of Christ's suffering. Isaias prophesied of Christ's sacrifice and submission to man to redeem man by what the prophet himself was willing to do:
"The Lord hath given me a learned tongue, that I should know how to uphold by word him that is weary: He wakeneth in the morning, in the morning He wakeneth my ear, that I may hear Him as a Master. The Lord God hath opened my ear, and I do not resist: I have not gone back. I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me." (Isaias 50:4-6).
What awareness would the Blessed Virgin Mary and other believers have had of all that Jesus underwent? They were familiar with Scripture and the above verses. There's the "plucking of the cheeks" which could very well have referred to Christ's beard. We don't know all that Jesus endured, but I believe it's safe to assume that He underwent unspeakable torments in every way imaginable. When you disturb the house/body by beating him or lying to him or stealing from him this disturbance goes beyond the body and strikes at the soul. It hurts the totality of your person which is a body/soul composite and gravely offends God – the Creator of the person in the process. If your soul leaves the body, the body dies and becomes a corpse - it is no longer you. And the soul, even if it is in Heaven, is not the complete "you" either because it has not been re-united with your glorified body yet. When we treat someone badly they in turn may treat others poorly as a result of the way they have been treated. Let us stop evil in its tracks. Do good unto others regardless of what has been done to you. Only man has a body and a rational soul, only man can be cruel, animals are not purposely cruel. Only man can be held accountable for the evil and the good that he does. Only man lives eternally in Heaven or in hell. Angels are pure spirit but have no body and animals have a body but do not have an immortal soul.
Again Isaias prophesizes the Passion:
"Surely He hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought Him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was offered because it was His own will, and He opened not His mouth: He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before His shearer, and He shall not open His mouth" (Isaias 53:4-7)
This passage is incredible in its accuracy and in th past tense even though Christ's Passion and Death are in the future from Isaias' time. Dear Lord, grant we beseech Thee a deep understanding of how grave our sins are and what they cost Thee and what they cost us. Part of the consequence of sin is chastisement and the result of chastisement is the perfecting of our souls, thus enabling us to see the face of God and live, so long as the trials and tribulations meant to make us whole do not lead us to hate God and rationalize evil deeds done to others because of what has happened to us but rather increase our charity.
We see the Prophet Ezechiel warning those who would dare to execute judgment on the God-Man:
" And thou shalt be a reproach, and a scoff, an example, and an astonishment amongst the nations that are round about thee, when I shall have executed judgments in thee in anger, and in indignation, and in wrathful rebukes" (Ezechiel 5:15)
Saint Francis Assisi has written:
"In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that "sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured" (Roman Catechism; cf. Hebrews 12: 3). Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ Himself (cf. Matthew 25: 45; Acts 9: 45), the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone:
"We must regard as guilty all those who continue to relapse into their sins. Since our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torment of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts (for He is in them) and hold Him up to contempt. And it can be seen that our crime in this case is greater in us than in the Jews. As for them, according to the witness of the Apostle, "None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would of never crucified our Lord of glory." We, however, profess to know Him. And when we deny Him by our deeds, we in some way lay violent hands on Him (Roman Catechism; Hebrews 6: 6; 1 Corinthians 2:
Nor did demons crucify Him; it is you who have crucified Him and crucify Him still, when you delight in your vices and sins."
This is exactly what Mel Gibson said in explaining where the blame lies for the suffering and death of Jesus. We scourged Him with our sins, we crowned His sacred head with the thorns of our pride, we nailed Him to the cross because of our persistence to resist grace, we killed Him by our refusal to bide by the will of God. And yet, God is still merciful to those who ask His forgiveness. We may see a dishonored and disgraced criminal with our eyes, but by faith we see God saving the world. What appears to be a helpless person not fighting back is really God saving the world. Our Lord’s earthly ministry of the saving of the world begins at His conception and ends with His Ascension back into Heaven.
We see again the words of the Prophet Joshua as not only a warning to us, but to the very conciliar Vatican leaders. We cannot escape the judgment of God and all would be wise to heed this truth.
" This only take care of with all diligence, that you love the Lord your God. But if you will embrace the errors of these nations that dwell among you, and make marriages with them, and join friendships: Know ye for a certainty that the Lord your God will not destroy them before your face, but they shall be a pit and a snare in your way, and a stumbling-block at your side, and stakes in your eyes, till He take you away and destroy you from off this excellent land, which He hath given you" (Joshua 23:11-13)
Holiness is not just an option. We should marry in the same faith. Some think it does not matter what we believe, but it does for God wants families committed to Him. This is brought out clearly in Romans 8: 1-13 by the Apostle Paul:
"There is now therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh. For the law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath delivered me from the law of sin and of death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and of sin, hath condemned sin in the flesh. That the justification of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. For they that are according to the flesh mind the things that are of the flesh: but they that are according to the spirit mind the things that are of the spirit. For the wisdom of the flesh is death: but the wisdom of the spirit is life and peace. Because the wisdom of the flesh is an enemy to God. For it is not subject to the law of God: neither can it be. And they who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body indeed is dead, because of sin: but the spirit liveth, because of justification. And if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you; He that raised up Jesus Christ, from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies, because of His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live."
This is the essence of our journey during Lent: mortification. You will notice that Romans 8 comes right after Romans 7 (pun intended) where Saint Paul captures the struggle within which is called concupiscence - the result of original sin. Baptism takes away original sin, making us children of God able to enter Heaven but concupiscence remains. Concupiscence is our tendency towards evil. It is the result of Original sin and the cause of actual sin but is not sin itself. This battle we have with our concupiscence - of not giving in to our evil inclinations to the best of our abilities is the battle we will be judged on. This is why the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist are so important. Confession cleanses us of the sins we commit after being Baptized and the Eucharist fortifies our souls for the fight against this concupiscence - it is the fruit from the tree of life that allows our souls to live forever. God has overcome all kinds of evil, in the midst of the struggle we should not lose heart, but we need to struggle, all the saints talked about their struggles, we think the saints did not have any struggles. We are not to lose hope, losing hope gives satan a great edge, if he can’t keep us from going to Confession he will make us feel bad for committing the same sins over and over again. “Oh again?” “Same sin?” In small ways, by degrees, God can conquer this, God would not make us feel bad for having the humility to admit to ourselves and to Him that we have fallen yet again whereas the devil will say "Why don't you just give up, if you have not conquered this sin by now you never will."
There is legitimate guilt in confessing a sin that you plan on and intend to commit again though. We should not plan on committing a sin we confess again or we commit a mortal sin during Confession. This is true even in regards to the sins we may have no control over. It is legitimate to confess a sin we believe we are likely to commit again but we cannot plan on committing it again. This would invalidate the sacrament and even be a sacrilege depending on our culpability for we are profaning the sacred when we do this. For a mortal sin to be forgiven there has to be true sorrow and the intent or desire not to commit the sin again. This is another reason the Sacrament of Penance is so necessary and emphasized during Lent.
It is always possible that we will conquer our worst vices before we die. We should intend with our heart never to do it again, even if our head is telling is it is likely we will. The problem would lie with confessing it just so you could receive Communion, knowing full well you are going to do it again and having the time and day you will commit the sin again planned while kind of laughing to yourself thinking you are getting away with something. We cannot overcome sins without God’s help. By the Spirit it is possible for the Holy Ghost dwells in those free from mortal sin.
Again, in Colossians 3: 1-10, we see Paul stressing the necessity of mortification, scourging our passions, if you will:
"Therefore if you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead: and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, Who is your life, then you also shall appear with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil concupiscence and covetousness, which is the service of idols. For which things the wrath of God cometh upon the children of unbelief. In which you also walked some time, when you lived in them. But now put you also all away: anger, indignation, malice, blasphemy, filthy speech out of your mouth. Lie not one to another: stripping yourselves of the old man with his deeds, And putting on the new, him who is renewed unto knowledge, according to the image of Him that created him."
Pray through these passages and ask the Holy Ghost, who raised Jesus from the dead, to put to death the deeds of the flesh. We are not heavenly minded enough to do good on earth. We need to be thoroughly heavenly minded, be more concerned about how our soul looks than how our bodies look. We need to pursue purity rather than immorality. Turn off the TV and perhaps send it crashing out the window. Television warps your mind, it would be neat to study the comparison of bad TV with the divorce and abortion rate, and so on. Wasn’t it the 60’s and 70’s when TV started getting worse? What a coincidence, huh? MTV thanked 16 million voters in the election that nominated Bill Clinton.
Fill our hearts and mind with good things we humbly beseech Thee, dear Lord, and guard our children’s hearts. You should especially consider getting rid of TV if you have children. This is not hiding them from reality it is protecting them from evil - keeping their innocence in tact. It was satan who said “eat of the tree and you will know good evil”. What is so great about knowing evil? It did not do much for Adam and Eve or the rest of the human race. Do you think your mind can be filled with evil and not have it effect your actions!!!??? Come on!!! Gentleness among students is at an all time low. The way men treat women and even the way women treat women has bordered on the barbaric. Anger, sexuality, passion, rage, idolatry and all sorts of immorality is a running theme. We are a new creation. We must pursue purity from this point on regardless of our past. Today is a new day; the sacrament of Penance is the key.
The Apostle John in 1 John 6: 16 reinforces the difference:
"For all that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life, which is not of the Father but is of the world"
Has anyone had a priest tell them that contraception is not a sin if you don’t think it is? The Apostles and their successors have a grave responsibility to tend to their flock. For there is a distinction between shepherd and sheep. If we are led astray by one who has been put in charge it is he who will be held most accountable. It would be a grave misuse of the special grace and authority given to an Apostle of God, if this grace and authority was used to mislead His flock. Sadly, the vast majority of bishops in the conciliar Vatican church have gravely misused their authority and led souls to the abyss. These men who should know better continue blindly on the path to hell leading the blind by exhorting blind and false obedience from their subjects. Woe to them! Sacred Scripture is chock full of warnings. Below are just a sampling:
" Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a redemption for many" (Matthew 20:28).
"For this is My blood of the New testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28).
"The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him, and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sins of the world" (John 1:29).
For other scriptural references, see Romans 3: 23-26; 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20: 2 Corinthians 5: 11-21 and Apocalypse 1: 5-6 for more proofs that our sins are the cause of Christ's death.
When we read the listings of sin we can see a lot of them are sins of the flesh:
" Being filled with all iniquity, malice, FORNICATION, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers, Detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy" (Romans 1:29-31).
" But now I have written to you, not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother, be a FORNICATOR, or covetous, or a server of idols, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one, not so much to eat" (1 Corinthians 5:11).
"Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither FORNICATORS, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, Nor the effeminate, nor liars with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
For more see Galatians 5: 17-21; 1 Timothy 1: 9-10; 2 Timothy 3: 2-5; Titus 3: 3-7 and Apocalypse 21: 8. What sin was listed in all three of those passages? Fornication. What is fornication? Sex outside of marriage. No one is immune from temptation. Yield everything to God, our minds, sufferings, our fertility and our every thought, word and action. Our thoughts can be sinful and we can see only too well why and what they can lead too. God judges the heart not just our actions. Has anyone noticed how our society has deteriorated morally over the past 40 years? Can anyone guess why? Those who said Vatican II can take a step up, but it is also those who have not opposed the heresies of Vatican II who must take responsibility for the malaise. Because they have been cowards or lukewarm, the Lord is ready to vomit them out of His mouth (Apocalypse 3: 16).
Christ, the Divine Physician came to heal the sick. We take pills when we're sick or when something in our bodily system is not working properly. What about our souls which are so much more valuable and fragile? Contraception renders something fruitless that was intended to be fruitful, to properly populate Heaven in a marriage blessed by God. While it may not be the popular thing to do in society today, it is the right and only thing to do: Obey all of God's laws.
" But He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins" (Isaias 53:5)
Jesus Christ, God Himself, the Creator of us all was wounded, allowed Himself to become man, a tiny zygote, and then a fetus as they are called, as we were called, a baby in a dung-laden manger on a bed of straw. The God-Man Who allowed Himself to be beaten, spat upon and killed by us was indeed wounded for OUR iniquities. He lowered Himself to an infinite degree for OUR sins. This describes a God Whose love knows no bounds. He loves satan if you can believe it. God does not love what satan does mind you. But there is in fact goodness about satan in the fact that he exists; in that God created the fallen angel and that God does not have the capacity for hate. Do not get me wrong, the devil is the most evil creature that ever or will ever exist but he is loved by God as we are and will be even if we condemn ourselves to hell.
We have the reminder of Paul to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27 to encourage us:
" Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize. So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery refraineth himself from all things. And they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown: but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air. But I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway."
Paul did not commit the sin of presumption, he didn't say 'I’ve got it made in the shade.' Look how dedicated the Olympian competitors were in Turino. All that they sacrificed, including money. And what for? For temporal recognition and medals of metal. Is money that important to us that we horde it? Do we tithe 10% off the top to traditional chapels and causes? Do good without letting others know what we are doing to bring our bodies under submission. Does that mean all physical things we do are bad? Of course not. It just means we have to bring our bodies under submission to Christ as Jesus brought His body under complete submission for us.
"For if we put bits into the mouths of horses, that they may obey us: and we turn about their whole body. Behold also ships, whereas they are great and are driven by strong winds, yet are they turned about with a small helm, whithersoever the force of the governor willeth. Even so the tongue is indeed a little member and boasteth great things. Behold how small a fire kindleth a great wood. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is placed among our members, which defileth the whole body and inflameth the wheel of our nativity, being set on fire by hell. For every nature of beasts and of birds and of serpents and of the rest is tamed and hath been tamed, by the nature of man. But the tongue no man can tame, an unquiet evil, full of deadly poison. By it we bless God and the Father: and by it we curse men who are made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (James 3:3-10)
Oh, what powerful words. Here is a prime example of a way that we do not control our passions, words can hurt more than physical violence. Before hurting someone with a vengeful tongue-lashing, before any temptation to any sin, think first of the scourging our Lord endured at the Pillar. Every time we open our mouth and curse our fellow man or say unkind things about him, even often untrue things, we are not only destroying that man's reputation but inflicting anew even more slashing scars into our Lord's precious, tender bruised flesh.
May the Suffering Servant bless you and remind you how we can offend and scourge Him in so many ways. Think often of the scourging so that in your word, thoughts and deeds you will lay aside the whip and take up the Rosary which is the antithesis of the scourger's spiked lashes.
"Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition, even if they are reduced to but a handful, they are THE TRUE CHURCH"
Saint Athanasius, "Apostle of Tradition"