Cacti surround a participant’s tattoo of the Virgin of Guadalupe during the Good Friday procession of the ‘Engrillados’ in Atlixco, Mexico. RNS photo by Irving Cabrera Torres

In Mexico, donning chains to recall Christ's pain on the cross

Cacti surround a participant’s tattoo of the Virgin of Guadalupe during the Good Friday Procession of the Engrillados in Atlixco, Mexico. RNS photo by Irving Cabrera Torres

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ATLIXCO, Mexico (RNS) — For more than a century in the central Mexican city of Atlixco, Catholics have donned chains and impaled themselves with thorns in observance of Good Friday.

It's called the Procession of the Engrillados — the shackled — and aims to convey the pain Christ felt on the cross. Hooded participants walk for more than a mile under a hot sun, hydrating themselves only with the juice of a lemon. They are silent, but for the sound of their dragging chains on Atlixco's narrow streets.

This year about 50 men took part in the procession. One was 32-year-old Marco Antonio Martinez, in his ninth year as an engrillado. "Participating has helped me to be a better person with my family," he said.


  1. Jesus never suggested that we literally torment ourselves physically, as appears to be the case here.

    However, he gives us the following admonition, when necessary:

    “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake (Matthew 5:10, 11).

    He further advised:

    “If you were of the world, the world would love his own, but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19). So we can expect to receive hate or persecution from outward sources.

    Not only would Jesus’ true followers be hated, but showing love would be the prominent quality that distinguished them from all others:

    “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

    “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34, 35).

  2. “It’s called the Procession of the Engrillados — the shackled — and aims to convey the pain Christ felt on the cross.” No one will ever understand how much worse than the pain Christ experienced, was the wrath experienced by Him, from our Father, because of our sin. These people have no idea. He thought His Father had forsaken Him

  3. Ah yes that Ever Elusive Holy Grail of all philosophical, religious & scientific worldviews – by whatever means necessary: “to be a better person with [one’s] family”!


    Serves us right.

  4. So disconnected from the topic in front of you, my dear.

    The relevancy of all this to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ bible is where Jesus talked about plucking out your eyes and where Paul talked about mortification of the flesh. LOOK IT UP.

  5. As you show yourself (by giving us Psalm 22), Our Lord was very far from ‘thinking that God had forsaken Him’.
    Instead, He was reciting the Psalm for a very deliberate reason – that is, to show that the Psalm refers to Him. There must be His suffering. But then in the Psalm comes the confidence that God will save – that is, His Resurrection, and that God will reign.
    You seem to be using the McDougall-Luckins Bible interpretation? But this so often errs, as we see here and elsewhere.

  6. No. Christ took our sin on Him, and suffered the wrath of God. There is no physical pain that could even compare. He asked His Father if He had forsaken Him – what could be worse than that
    As for Bibles, I prefer the ESV

  7. You are mistaken. Jesus never suffered “the wrath of God”. How could He? It is an impossibility – well, it is for a Christian, at any rate.
    BTW, I’m not ‘comparing physical pains’, as you seem to be doing. I’m talking about the purpose of Our Lord’s pain, and about His Resurrection from the dead.
    It was you who quoted the Psalm. Your challenge is to understand it.
    Put away that old McDougall-Luckins misinterpretation.

  8. Just to add (if anyone is reading this) that “sandinwindsor” is changing her comments AFTER I have replied to them.

  9. You really are desperate Mark! I don’t need to do that.

  10. And yet I have the proof that you have indeed done it – for I have (a) your original reply to me; and then (b) your amended reply, several minutes later, in which you added two further sentences.

  11. Keep trying Mark…..I aways write (edited). Always have; always will. But, nice try. Now run along and pester someone else.

  12. Not so.
    For you have “edited” here (above) – but WITHOUT showing the word “edited”.
    I have the proofs (Date and time-stamped).
    But your surreptitious editing is less important than your misinterpretation of Christianity.
    Jesus did not think that His Father had forsaken Him. The fact that Jesus started to recite the Psalm shows this.
    And God never shows “wrath” to His Son.

  13. And I asked you to see the point of the scripture…
    …to ask yourself WHY Jesus would have started to recite that Psalm, at that moment?
    For the Psalm is not (as you seem to think) about doubt in God. Rather, it is a Psalm of total faith in God.
    And, whichever interpretation of the opening verse is correct, we may easily see that there is NOTHING in the Psalm along your lines that “Jesus suffered the wrath of God”.

  14. Fran is not using their NWT but instead the King James to fit in.

  15. You have said that already.
    For my reply: See above.

  16. HpO,

    Jesus and his disciples associated fire with Gehenna (Greek form of the Hebrew “Geh Hinnon,” valley of Hinnon, southwest of ancient Jerusalem (Jeremiah 7:32), a place for burning refuse outside of Jerusalem.

    It was prophetically spoken of as a place where dead bodies would be strewn (Jeremiah 7:32; 29:6). Kings Ahaz and Manasseh engaged in idolatrous worship there, which included making human sacrifices by fire to Baal (2 Chronicles 28:1, 3; 33:1, 6; Jeremiah 7:31,32; 32:35).

    Gehenna appears 12 times in the New Testament. Whereas many translators take the liberty to render it by the word, “hell,” a number of modern translations transliterate the word from Greek “ge’enna.”

    It symbolizes eternal punishment of “second death,” or everlasting destruction (Rev. 20:14; Matthew 5:22;,10:28).

    To avoid complete destruction, Jesus’ followers were to get rid of anything causing spiritual stumbling, the “cutting off of a hand or foot,” and “tearing out an eye,” FIGURATIVELY, representing their deadening of these body members with reference to sin (Matthew 18:9; Mark 9:43-47; Colossians 3:5; Matthew 5:27-30; James 3:6).

  17. A month ago was 1st time Fran & I engaged in lengthy talk. She promoted “theocracy” and I said that’s a human invention, not sanctioned or endorsed by Jesus & His apostles. But she went on & on. Had she clarified by referencing to JWs’ belief system, the discussion could’ve been productive. Only when I happened upon her thread of comments to another article, did I realize, That’s a JW talking. Which is fine & everything; every perspective is welcome after all. Being straightforward isn’t a mandatory, but that quality in a commenter or poster earns my immediate respect, no matter the point of view.

  18. 5 paragraphs in total, only the last one stays on topic. Better than nothing, I guess. So tell me how this is even possible: the “deadening of … body members”. How do you guys do that, being Jehovah’s Witnesses & all.

  19. Your interpretation of the text regarding wrath does not, it seems to me, accord with what the greater balance of biblical scholars declare.

  20. HpO,

    For example, if you wanted to “deaden” any temptation of committing sexual immorality, you definitely would not watch “porn” on your computer with your own eyes, even if it made an appearance on your screen.

    If you want to stay avoid any form of spiritism, you definitely would not talk to a spirit medium or fortune teller, or watch movies based on haunted houses or wicked spirits.

    You definitely would not watch violent movies or play violent video games; instead enjoy entertainment that is clean, positive and up upbuilding, like family get-togethers or trips to the zoo.

    The works of the flesh, and the spirit of this crazy world we live in is:

    Adultery, fornication, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins. Anyone living that sort of life will not inherit God’s kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21).????

    That’s a lot of ground to cover, but we want to avoid any temptations that would cause us to practice them!

    Instead, we want to think about, say, and do the things that promote:

    Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against all those things (Galatians 5:22).

    These are the qualities we want to practice on a regular basis!????☝️

  21. So that’s how the “deadening of … body members” works for you & your fellow Jehovah’s witnesses? The solution is that “if you wanted to ‘deaden’ any temptation”, then as per “Galatians 5:19-21 … Galatians 5:22”:

    (1) You must – what, will yourself? – “not [to] watch ‘porn'” – even though you’re already caught up in a constant state of yielding to that temptation?!

    (2) You must – what, again will yourself? – to “avoid any temptations that would cause [you] to practice them!” – even though you’re already caught up in a constant state of yielding to all those temptations?!

    (3) You must – what, repeat willing yourself? – “to think about, say, and do the things that promote … qualities [you] want to practice on a regular basis!”- even though you’re already caught up in a constant state of yielding to the temptation to do precisely the opposite?!

    Just one huge problem with that, friend I mean Fran. YOUR FLESH. IT’S STILL ALIVE & WELL. IT’S STILL NOT DEAD YET. Which means all your effort toward the “deadening of … body members”, and all your religious practices “to ‘deaden’ any temptation”, end up in a deadend each time and all the time.

    You know what your real problem is? You still haven’t figured out what that same epistle of Galatians chapter 5 that you cited for me is trying to tell you and your fellow Jehovah’s witnesses. Listen to your own New World Translation of Galatians 5:24 and set yourself free:

    Only “those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed to the stake the flesh together with its passions and desires.”

    You got that? The Son of Jehovah is the solution to the IMPOSSIBILITY of the “deadening of … body members … [and] temptation”! Nothing else works! No philosophy, no religion, no science can ever do this that He accomplished through His crucifixion, burial & resurrection.

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