By Mariah Mulderink
What Do You Do When You’re Hurt?
How do you respond when someone hurts you? As I contemplated this question and how I might answer it, I came to realize that my response to being hurt has definitely developed over the years. As a young child, my reaction was...maybe a little violent. I recall one time hitting my older sister with my toy van because she would not play with me. Yikes! Although, I do not think my response to being hurt now is perfect, at least it is not so violent.
How I respond to hurt now is more silent. Now, before you think I am super docile and holy, you need to know that I don’t become silent for virtuous reasons. Typically, I become silent so as to be noticed. I do it so as to draw attention to my “suffering”. Over the years, I have learned that this definitely is not a great way to deal with my hurt. Not only does it require people I am around to try and guess what is wrong, but it can also cause frustration to build in me the longer it takes for someone to notice. My husband has been the victim of my “silent suffering” more than once. Unbeknownst to him, I will continue to dwell on whatever is bothering me for days until finally it all comes out. It is most definitely not a good way to deal with my suffering and it is definitely not fair to expect him or anyone to guess what’s wrong when the only communication I offer is silence.
Plainly said, my version of “suffering in silence” is not good. So when is “suffering in silence” good? Let’s look to Christ.
What Did Christ Do When He Was Hurt?
Throughout His Passion, Christ was hurt a lot, both physically and emotionally. Here we will focus on the hurt He experienced when He was scourged at the pillar. Yes, we are focusing on the 2nd Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary.
I think Christ’s scourging at the pillar is one of the most difficult moments of His Passion for me to contemplate. Around the time I was in middle school, I learned in detail what happened when Christ was scourged according to the historical information regarding the Romans’ methods of torture. I came to understand the tools and techniques used by the Romans at the time. I do not want to go into too great of detail, but I will say that even thinking of it now makes my stomach twist and my heart drop. The pain that it must have caused is incomprehensible to me.
Beyond the physical pain of scouring, the Romans also aimed to make it as great of a spectacle as possible in order to completely humiliate the one being scourged. The torture was public and the victim was laid bare. In essence the torture was not just meant to inflict physical pain, but to completely demean the person. To beat a person in such a way is to declare that this person is worthless. They are lower than the animals.
So this unspeakable torture, how did Christ respond to it? Did he curse and condemn those who tortured Him? Did He cease to love those who stood by and watched His suffering? Did He decide that you and I were not worth such pain? No. He endured. He suffered in silence.
Purpose in How Christ Hurt
Now, I said Christ suffered in silence. This is not to say that He did not cry out in pain, but rather He endured His suffering without pity for Himself or focusing only on Himself. His focus was on us. “By his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). He endured the punishment for our sins. He endured unimaginable pain and humiliation so that we could live.
So, when you think of Christ’s scourging and the pain He endured, weep for His suffering. It is only right to feel sorrow over such brutality, especially when it concerns someone you love. However, also weep in gratitude. Be overwhelmed with thanks that Jesus Christ loved you so much that He would allow Himself to be beaten, lacerated, and humiliated. Christ suffered for a purpose, the best purpose: love.
Can There Be Purpose in Our Suffering?
Short answer: absolutely. Because of Christ’s suffering, we can suffer with purpose as well. Whether you are experiencing physical, emotional, or spiritual suffering it can have a purpose. When I turn in on myself and make my suffering all about me, there is no virtuous purpose to it. I make it all about myself rather than allowing my suffering to be a chance to look outside myself and love. Gladly, I have learned better how to accept my suffering and give purpose to it. Rather than use my suffering as a chance to draw attention to myself, I know that I can use it to better love those around me or those in need of grace. Your suffering could be an opportunity to love someone who is right in front of you or it may be an opportunity to lift it up to God for those souls in Purgatory awaiting our prayers.
It is ok to be consoled in suffering. It is ok to not want to suffer. Simply look at Christ. He accepted small consolations in His Passion from Veronica when she wiped His face, His mother when He met her along the way to His crucifixion. He asks the Father to let the suffering pass Him by. (For more on this, see our blog on the First Sorrowful Mystery). So yes, you can be consoled. Yes, you can dislike suffering. However, do not let your suffering be purposeless. Choose instead to love.
Continue to join us each week as we work our way through each of the sorrowful mysteries. Catch up here. We hope that it will help you in your contemplation each day as you pray the Rosary. Please also, take a moment to check out some of our other resources to aid you in your devotion to the Rosary.
Are you an audio type person? Download our Audio Rosary - Sorrowful Mysteries at no cost.
If you are frequently on the go and just can’t find the 20 minutes you need to pray your rosary, our Rosary Bracelets are perfect for you. Having the rosary on your wrist throughout your day makes it accessible and a great reminder. The removable crucifix charm will also help you keep track of where you are in your Rosary so that you can stop and go as often as you need.
Want to help your children learn the Sorrowful Mysteries and contemplate them in a very accessible way? Check out our FREE downloadable coloring sheets featuring the Sorrowful Mysteries.
Mariah Mulderink is wife, mom, Masters in Theology student, and marketing director for Chews Life. Her greatest joys are her faith, her family, her friends, and any chance to be competitive. For her, one of the greatest privileges she has received is the opportunity to pursue her Masters in Theology. Studying the faith is not only fascinating but is also a beautiful way to know God better. She hopes her studies and her faith will always equip her to share Christ in her work and with every person she meets.
You can find out more about her here.