Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him. Matthew 27:26-31
As Jesus was being scourged at the pillar, crowned with thorns and mocked by the soldiers, Mother Mary knew, with a mother’s intuition, that her Son was suffering immensely. She suffered every lash, felt every thorn, and heard every vile word shouted at her precious Child.
Later that day, as she stood at the foot of the Cross, she would have recoiled at every wound in Jesus’ torn flesh and every bruise on His sacred body. Yet she did not shy away from looking at her beaten Son with her motherly gaze. She needed to see the effects of the brutality Jesus had bravely endured. As she pondered the crown of thorns perched on His bloody scalp, she saw a true crown of grace and mercy.
How does a mother experience so much cruelty toward her own child and not be filled with hate? How does she not fall into despair and defeat? The answer is simple. This mother, the Mother of God, saw all things and experienced all things through her Immaculate Heart. Her love for her Son was so deep that it overflowed into the lives of those who beat Him and mocked Him. Love was the only option in the face of so much hate. She could only offer mercy as she and her Son absorbed hate and violence. All that evil was filtered through her Immaculate Heart until it was refined and poured out as mercy.
In our own lives, one of the most painful experiences we can bear is is the mockery of another. To be laughed at, treated with contempt, ridiculed and disregarded is painful. It’s “normal” to want to fight back. But we must seek to imitate the calm love in the heart of our Blessed Mother, never reciprocating hate for hate, evil for evil, and injury for injury.
Reflect, today, upon the feelings, thoughts and inner experiences of the Mother of God as she painfully witnessed the scourging and mockery of her Son. Enter into the stream of immaculate love that flowed from her heart, quenching the temptation toward hate. Reflect, especially, upon any ways that you have experienced the mistreatment of another. Know that our Blessed Mother also stands at this cross of yours, whether you have been mistreated or have yourself mistreated someone else, seeing all that you feel and experience. She stands at your side with a mother’s love, her heart overflowing into yours.
My dearest Mother, I can only imagine what your heart must have felt as you gazed upon your Son in His broken and beaten state. I can only imagine the pain you felt as you adored every scourge and heard every mockery. But the love within your heart overshadowed every temptation toward anger and despair. Your love for your Son was immaculate and glorious.
My Immaculate Mother, I thank you for also being a faithful and loving mother to me. As I experience the crosses of my own life, I know you are there, standing by me, seeing and experiencing every wound I have. Thank you for your love and concern for me, your child. Help me to be open to the overflowing love in your heart so that this love may become my hope and my strength.
My scourged and mocked Jesus, though covered with wounds and surrounded by ridicule, You never gave in to hate. Your act of perfect acceptance of this abuse transformed sin into grace. Pour forth that grace upon me, dear Lord. Help me to turn to You in my times of need.
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