"There were six who relieved one another by pairs; their wiry hair stood on end, their beards were scanty and bristly, their complexions swarthy. Their only clothing was a loin cloth and a piece of leather or cloth which covered the chest and was open on the sides. Their arms were bare and on their feet they wore sandals. These criminals from the Egyptian borders were made to work on canals and public buildings, and to the most vile and wicked among them were given the duties of executioner.Yes, such are the tormentors who actually strike the body of our Savior; but I know well that the true executioners are sins. Ah! if the sinners would only meditate for a moment on Christ at the pillar. I, at least, in reparation for all the infamous crimes, all the extravagances, all the abominations of every kind that ever have been committed and are still being committed, I will offer my love to Our Lord and since that is so trifling I will offer also the love of all the saints and of all magnanimous, loving souls.
"These half-drunk men were like demons or wild beasts. They had already beaten to death unfortunate criminals bound to the column like Jesus.
"To strip them of any sentiment of pity, the high priests had the soldiers bring them jugs of red wine which gave them more strength for their work."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)