Tuesday, March 26, 2024

The scourging and crowning of Jesus.


The scourging and crowning of Jesus, amid the mockery of the soldiers. As revealed to Maria Valtorta – mystic and victim soul.

«Let Him be scourged» Pilate orders a centurion.


«How many blows?»


«As many as you like... In any case the matter is over. And I am bored. Go.»


Jesus is led by four soldiers to the court-yard beyond the hall. In the middle of that court-yard […], there is a high column like the one in the porch. At about three meters from the floor it has an iron bar protruding at least a meter and ending with a ring, to which Jesus is tied, with His hands joined above His head, after He has been undressed. 


He has on only short linen drawers and sandals. His hands tied at His wrists are raised up as far as the ring, so that, although tall, He rests only the tips of His toes on the floor... And even that position is a torture. I have read, I do not know where, that the column was low and that Jesus was bent over it. That may be. I say what I see. 


Behind Him stands one who looks like an executioner […], in front of Him, another man, looking like the previous one. They are armed with scourges, made of seven leather strips tied to a handle and ending with small lead hammers. They begin to strike Him rhythmically […]. One in front and one behind, so that Jesus' trunk is in a whirl of lashes and scourges.


The four soldiers [...], are indifferent and are playing dice with another three soldiers who have just arrived. And the voices of the players follow the rhythm of the sound of the scourges, which hiss like snakes and then resound like stones striking the stretched skin of a drum.


They beat the poor body, which is so slender and as white as old ivory, and then becomes covered with stripes that at first are a brighter and brighter pink shade, then violet, then it displays blue swellings full of blood, then the skin breaks letting blood flow from all sides. They redouble their cruelty on His thorax and abdomen, but there is no shortage of blows given to His legs, arms and even to His head, so that no fragment of His skin may be left without pain.


And not a moan... If He were not held up by the rope, He would fall. But He does not fall and does not groan. Only His head hangs over His chest, after so many blows, as if He had fainted.


Displayed in the church of Paola, Malta.

«Hey! Stop! He must be alive when He is killed» shouts a soldier scoffingly. The two executioners stop and wipe their perspiration.


«We are exhausted» they say. «Give us our pay, so that we may have a refreshing drink...»


«I would give you the gallows! But here you are...» and a decurion [Roman officer in charge of ten soldiers] throws a large coin to each executioner.


«You have done a good job. He looks like a mosaic. Titus, do you mean that this man was really Alexander's love? We must let him know, so that he may mourn over His death. Let us untie Him.»


They untie Him, and Jesus falls on the floor like a dead body. They leave Him there, pushing Him now and again with their feet […], to see whether He moans. But He is silent.


«Is He dead? Is it possible? He is a young man and a handicrafts-man, so I am told… and He looks like a delicate lady.»


«I will take care of Him» says a soldier. And he sits Him with His back against the column. Clots of blood appear where He was. He [the soldier] then goes towards a fountain […], he fills a tub with water and pours it on Jesus' head and body.


«That's it! Water is good for flowers.»


Jesus draws a deep sigh and tries to stand up, but His eyes are still closed. «Oh! good. Come on, darling! Your dame is waiting for You!...»


But Jesus in vain presses His hands against the floor trying to stand up.


«Come on! Quick! Are You weak? Here is some refreshment» says another soldier sneeringly. And with the shaft of his halberd he delivers a blow to Jesus' face striking it between the right cheekbone and the nose, that begins to bleed. Jesus opens His eyes and looks round. His eyes are veiled... He stares at the soldier who struck Him, wipes the blood with His hand, and then, with much effort, He stands up.


«Get dressed. It is immodest to stay like that. You lewd man!» They all laugh standing around Him.


And He obeys without speaking. But when He bends – and He alone knows how much He suffers when stooping to the ground, contused as He is, as His wounds open even more when the skin is stretched [...] – a soldier gives a kick to His garments and scatters them, and every time Jesus reaches them, staggering to where they lie, a soldier pushes them away or throws them in a different direction. And Jesus, suffering bitterly, goes after them without uttering a word, while the soldiers deride Him obscenely.


He can dress Himself again at last. And He can put on also the white tunic, which was left in a corner and is still clean. He seems to wish to conceal His poor red garment, which only yesterday was so beautiful and now is filthy with rubbish and stained with the blood sweated at Gethsemane. Furthermore, before putting on His short vest, He dries His wet face with it, cleaning it of dust and spittle. And the poor holy face looks clean, marked only by bruises and small cuts. And He tidies His hair which is hanging ruffled, and His beard, out of an inborn need to be personally tidy. Then He squats in the sunshine. Because my Jesus is shivering... Fever begins to torture Him with its cold shivers. And He feels weak because of the blood He has lost, of fasting and walking so much.


They tie His hands once again. And the rope begins to cut into His wrists, where the excoriated skin has left a mark like a red bracelet. «And now? What shall we do with Him? I am bored!»


«Wait. The Jews want a king. Now we will give them one. Him...» says a soldier.


And he runs out to a court […], from which he comes back with a bunch of branches of wild hawthorn, still flexible, because springtime keeps the branches relatively tender, whilst the long sharp thorns are hard. With a dagger they remove leaves and buds, they bend the branches forming a circle and they place them on His poor head. But the cruel crown falls down on His neck.


«It does not fit. Make it narrower. Take it off.»


They take it off and scratch His cheeks, risking to blind Him, and they tear off His hair in doing so. They make it smaller. Now it is too small, and although they press it down, driving the thorns into His head, it threatens to fall. They take it off once again, tearing more of His hair. They adjust it again. It now fits. At the front there are three thorny cords. At the back, where the ends of the three branches interweave, there is a real knot of thorns that penetrate into the nape of His neck.


«Do You see how well You look? Natural bronze and real rubies. Look at Yourself, o king, in my cuirass» says the inventor of the torture scoffingly.

Library of Congress

«A crown is not sufficient to make a king. Purple and sceptre are required. In the stable there is a cane and in the sewer there is a red chlamys [a woolen cloak]. Get them, Cornelius.»


And once they have them, they put the dirty red rag on Jesus, shoulders, and before putting the cane in His hands, they beat His head with it, bowing and greeting: «Hail, king of the Jews» and they roar with laughter.


Jesus does not react. He lets them sit Him on the «throne»: a tub turned upside-down […], He lets them strike and scoff at Him, without ever uttering a word. He only looks at them, casting glances of such kindness and such atrocious sorrow that I cannot bear them without feeling heart-broken.


The soldiers stop sneering at Him only when the harsh voice of a superior orders them to take the guilty prisoner to Pilate. Guilty! Of what? Jesus is taken back again to the entrance-hall […]. He still has the crown, the chlamys and the cane.


From chapter 604, The Gospel as Revealed to Me, by Maria Valtorta. 


View my recent books on Maria Valtorta, Padre Pio, and others Here. 



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