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CAVERN THAT SERVED AS DUNGEON FOR JESUS WAS RECOUNTED BY FAMOUS ALLEGED MYSTICS

A while back upon return from the Holy Land we spoke about the surprising power of a spot in Jerusalem on Mount Zion in proximity to Caiaphas's palace in which it's said Jesus spent His last night in the torture of a deep, solitary, stench-filled, and inescapable pit.

Call it a dungeon. Call it a cavern. Call it incredible. The power was astonishing -- and on one wall in the rock is a formation that resembles a tortured Face.

As we reported: "Here, as in many places of power, words fail. Archeologists believe it's right on -- and excavation indicates it's indeed 2,000 years old at an area where according to tradition Jesus was brought to jail after His arrest. Its name -- Gallicantu -- means the cock's crow, for the arrest came after the betrayal of Judas, which is commemorated nearby."

"Here you could feel something very different, as you stared up at the hole through which Christ was lowered and imagined the incredible suffering of spending a night in the dark cold with thieves and no doubt the filth left by those who had been imprisoned here.

"It adds an entirely new dimension to the suffering of the Lord. Imagine being in a dark underground cave that is so tall no one could escape and is pervaded with the odors of sweat and excrement and death. They lowered Him with a rope and no doubt many of those they dragged back up were corpses.

"This is how He spent His time after sweating Blood and before His scourging and Crucifixion. Read Psalm 88 to see if it was foreseen. Is it an untold agony? ("Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps...)." The words bear repeating.

But let's move on. For there is also this remarkable aspect: the pit or dungeon is something that has cropped up in the alleged mystical visions of famous Catholics who have said they were granted detailed replays -- visions -- of Christ's suffering.

Here is Mary of Agreda in the classic City of God:

"Already past midnight, the whole council resolved to lock Jesus in the subterranean dungeon below Caiaphasís house. Scarcely any light penetrated into this prison to dispel its darkness. It was filled with such uncleanness and stench, that it would have infected the whole house, if it had not been so remote and so well enclosed. You see it hadnít been cleaned for many years, both because it was so deep down and only criminals were confined in it, for none thought it worthwhile making it more habitable, and so this place became unworthy of all human kindness.

"God foretells Jesus being thrown into prison by the prophet Jeremiah; he likewise was thrown into a dungeon. Jeremiah 37:15. The princes were enraged, and had Jeremiah beaten and thrown into prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe, which they were using as a jail. 37:16 And so Jeremiah entered the vaulted dungeon, where he remained a long time.

"The servants dragged the Lord to this polluted and subterranean dungeon. As Jesus was still bound with the chain and ropes, these men freely exercised all cruelty dragging Him forward by the ropes, causing Him to stumble. Having fallen on the ground, these men loaded upon Him their kicks and curses.     

"In one corner of the dungeon protruded part of a rock, which on account of its hardness had not been cut out. To this block protruding from the floor, they bound Jesus to it. These men forced the Lord in a most painful and torturing posture, so that He could neither seat nor stand upright for relief. Thus they left Him bound to the rock, closing the prison door with a key and giving it in charge of one of the most hateful of their number.

"Now some of the servants decided to return to the dungeon to have some fun at the Lordís expense. Going up to Him they began to violate Him with their spittle and rain blows upon Him with their fists. Jesus opened not His mouth or made any answer; He raised not His eyes or lost the humble serenity of His expression. Their motive was to try His patience, for they wished to drive Jesus to some ridiculous saying or action. When they witnessed His unchanging meekness, they allowed themselves to be incited still more.

"They untied Jesus from the stone block and placed Him in the middle of the dungeon, at the same time blindfolding Him with a cloth. They began to come up one after the other and strike Him with their fists, or slap or kick Him, each one trying to outdo the other. 'Prophesy,' they would say. 'So who was it that struck You.' The meekest Lamb silently accepted this flood of insults and curses. 

"Next these most hateful men decided to remove the Lordís clothes. But Godís justice would not allow this indecency. Thus it happened that none of these men could execute their design. Their limbs became as if it were frozen or paralyzed until they changed their intent. As soon as they abandoned their indecency, the use of their limbs would again be restored. Although these men saw themselves paralyzed and suddenly restored, they attributed it to the sorcery and magic of this Man Jesus. They continued to practice their insulting mockery and tortures until they noticed that the night had already far advanced. They again tied Jesus to the column and departed."

It is stuff worth letting roll at length.

Now there is also Anne Catherine Emmerich -- whose reputed mystical novel of the Crucifixion was an untold force behind the famous Passion movie.

As she states in The Dolorous Passion:

"The Jews, having quite exhausted their barbarity, shut Jesus up in a little vaulted prison, the remains of which subsist to this day. Two of the archers alone remained with him, and they were soon replaced by two others. He was still clothed in the old dirty mantle, and covered with the spittle and other filth which they had thrown over Him; for they had not allowed him to put on His own clothes again, but kept His hands tightly bound together.

"When our Lord entered this prison, He prayed most fervently that his Heavenly Father would accept all that He had already suffered, and all that He was about to suffer, as an expiatory sacrifice, not only for his executioners, but likewise for all who in future ages might have to suffer torments such as he was about to endure, and be tempted to impatience or anger.

"The enemies of Our Lord did not allow Him a moment's respite, even in this dreary prison, but tied Him to a pillar which stood in the center, and would not allow Him to lean upon it, although He was so exhausted from ill treatment, the weight of His chains, and His numerous falls, that He could scarcely support Himself on His swollen and torn feet. Never for a moment did they cease insulting Him; and when the first set were tired out, others replaced them.

"It is quite impossible to describe all that the Holy of Holies suffered from these heartless beings; for the sight affected me so excessively that I became really ill, and I felt as if I could not survive it. We ought, indeed, to be ashamed of that weakness and susceptibility which renders us unable to listen composedly to the descriptions, or speak without repugnance, of those sufferings which Our Lord endured so calmly and patiently for our salvation. The horror we feel is as great as that of a murderer who is forced to place his hands upon the wounds he himself has inflicted on his Victim. Jesus endured all without opening His mouth; and it was man, sinful man, who perpetrated all these outrages against One Who was at once their Brother, their Redeemer, and their God. I, too, am a great sinner, and my sins caused these sufferings.

"At the day of judgment, when the most hidden things will be manifested, we shall see the share we have had in the torments endured by the Son of God; we shall see how far we have caused them by the sins we so frequently commit, and which are, in fact, a species of consent which we give to, and a participation in, the tortures which were inflicted on Jesus by His cruel enemies. If, alas! we reflected seriously on this, we should repeat with much greater fervor the words which we find so often in prayer-books: Lord, grant that I may die, rather than ever willfully offend thee again by sin.'

We'll let this go one more stretch.

"Jesus continued to pray for his enemies," said Emmerich, "and they being at last tired out left Him in peace for a short time, when He leaned against the pillar to rest, and a bright light shone around Him. The day was beginning to dawn -- the day of His Passion, of our Redemption -- and a faint ray penetrating the narrow vent-hole of the prison, fell upon the holy and immaculate Lamb, who had taken upon Himself the sins of the world. Jesus turned towards the ray of light, raised His fettered hands, and, in the most touching manner, returned thanks to His Heavenly Father for the dawn of that day, which had been so long desired by the prophets, and for which He Himself had so ardently sighed from the moment of his birth on earth, and concerning which he had said to his disciples, I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized, and how am I straightened until it be accomplished?

"I prayed with Him; but I cannot give the words of His prayer, for I was so completely overcome, and touched to hear Him return thanks to his Father for the terrible sufferings which He had already endured for me, and for the still greater which he was about to endure. I could only repeat over and over with the greatest fervor, Lord, I beseech Thee, give me these sufferings: they belong to me: I have deserved them in punishment for my sins.' I was quite overwhelmed with feelings of love and compassion when I looked upon Him thus welcoming the first dawn of the great day of his Sacrifice, and that ray of light which penetrated into His prison might, indeed, be compared to the visit of a judge who wishes to be reconciled to a criminal before the sentence of death which he has pronounced upon him is executed.

"The archers, who were dozing, woke up for a moment, and looked at him with surprise: they said nothing, but appeared to be somewhat astonished and frightened. Our Divine Lord was confined in this prison during an hour, or thereabouts.

"Whilst Jesus was in this dungeon, Judas, who had been wandering up and down the valley of Hinnom like a madman, directed his steps towards the house of Caiphas, with the thirty pieces of silver, the reward of his treachery, still hanging to his waist.

"All was silent around, and he addressed himself to some of the sentinels, without letting them know who he was, and asked what was going to be done to the Galilean. He has been condemned to death, and He will certainly be crucified,' was the reply. Judas walked to and fro, and listened to the different conversations which were held concerning Jesus. Some spoke of the cruel treatment He had received, others of His astonishing patience, while others, again, discoursed concerning the solemn trial which was to take place in the morning before the great Council. Whilst the traitor was listening eagerly to the different opinions given, day dawned; the members of the tribunal commenced their preparations, and Judas slunk behind the building that he might not be seen, for like Cain he sought to hide himself from human eyes, and despair was beginning to take possession of his soul.

"The place in which he took refuge happened to be the very spot where the workmen had been preparing the wood for making the Cross of Our Lord; all was in readiness, and the men were asleep by its side. Judas was filled with horror at the sight: he shuddered and fled when he beheld the instrument of that cruel death to which for a paltry sum of money he had delivered up his Lord and Master; he ran to and fro in perfect agonies of remorse, and finally hid himself in an adjoining cave, where he determined to await the trial which was to take place in the morning."

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