Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 1

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John Promised to Zachary


 in the sanctuary. They were even moving toward the door to open it, when Zachary replaced the Tables in the Ark and came forth. The crowd questioned him about his long stay in the sanctuary. He tried to answer, but could not. He signified to them by signs that he had become dumb, and went away. Zachary was a tall and exceedingly majestic old man.



1. Mary Espoused to St. Joseph

Joseph was the third of six brothers. His parents dwelt in a large mansion outside of Bethlehem. It was the ancient birthplace of David, but in Joseph's time only the principal walls were in existence. His father's name was Jacob. In front of the house was a large courtyard, or garden. In it was a stone spring house built over a spring whose waters gushed forth out of faucets, each of which represented some ani­mal's head. The garden was enclosed by walls and surrounded by covered walks of trees and shrubbery.

The lower story of the dwelling had a door, but no windows. In the upper story there were circular open­ings, over which ran around the whole top of the house a broad gallery with four little pavilions capped by cupolas. From these cupolas, a view far into the surrounding country was afforded. David's palace in Jerusalem was provided with similar towers and cupo­las. It was out of one of them that he saw Bethsabee. Above the center of the flat roof arose another smaller story, likewise crowned by a tower and cupola.

Joseph and his brothers occupied that last story with an aged Jew, their preceptor. The latter occu­pied the highest room in the story, while the broth­ers slept in one chamber, their sleeping places separated from one another by mats, which in the daytime were rolled up against the walls. I have seen them playing up there, each in his own separate space. They had toys shaped like animals, like little pugs. Their preceptor gave them all sorts of strange instructions that I could not understand. He laid sticks on the ground in various figures and stood the

Mary Espoused to Joseph


 boys in them. The latter stepped into other figures which they had formed by rearranging the sticks. They laid sticks also in various positions, as if for measurement. I saw too the father and mother of the boys. They did not appear to trouble themselves much about their children, for they paid very little atten­tion to them. They, the parents, appeared to me to be neither good nor bad.

Joseph was perhaps eight years old. He was very different from his brothers, very talented, and he learned quickly; but he was simple in his tastes, gen­tle, pious, and unambitious. The other boys used to play him all kinds of tricks and knock him around at will. They had little enclosed gardens, at whose entrance there stood on pillars covered images like swaddled infants. I often saw similar figures on the curtains of oratories, those of Anne and the Blessed Virgin, for instance. The only difference was that Mary's picture held in its arms a chalice above which something arose. In Joseph's parental home these images were like swathed infants with round faces environed by rays of light. There were many such pictures in Jerusalem, especially in the olden times, and also among the decorations of the Temple. I have seen them in Egypt also; and among the idols that Rachel purloined from her father, were similar fig­ures though smaller. Many of the Jews had swathed puppets like them lying in little chests and baskets. They were intended to represent the child Moses in his little basket, and the swathing signified the bind­ing power of the Law. When gazing at these figures, I used to think: The Jews honored the little image of the child Moses, but we have the images of the Child Jesus.

In the boys' little gardens grew bushes, small trees, and plants. I saw that his brothers often slyly trod down and tore up the plants in Joseph's little gar­den. They always treated him roughly, but he bore all patiently. Sometimes, when kneeling in prayer in


Life of Jesus Christ

 the colonnade that ran around the courtyard, his face turned to the wall, his brothers would push him over. Once I saw one of them, when Joseph was thus pray­ing, kick him in the back; but Joseph appeared not to notice it. The other repeated his blows, until at last Joseph fell to the ground. Then I saw that he had been absorbed in God. But he did not revenge himself; he merely turned away quietly and sought another secluded spot.

Outside and adjoining the garden wall, were some small, low dwellings. In them dwelt two elderly, veiled females, as is often the case near the schools. They were servants. I saw them carrying water into the house. The domestic arrangements were similar to those of Joachim and Anne's house, the beds rolled up and wicker partitions before them. I often saw Joseph's brothers talking with the servant maids and helping them in their work; but Joseph never inter­changed words with them; he was always very reserved. I think there were also some daughters in the family.

Joseph's parents were not well-satisfied with him. They would have wished him, on account of his tal­ents, to fit himself for a position in the world. But he was too unworldly for such aims, he had no desire whatever to shine. He may have been about twelve years old when I often saw him beyond Bethlehem opposite the Crib Cave, praying with some very pious, old, Jewish women. They had an oratory hidden in a vault. I do not know whether these women were relatives of Joseph or not; I think that they were connected with Anne. Joseph often went to them in his troubles and shared their devotions. Sometimes he dwelt in their neighborhood with a master car­penter, to whom he lent a helping hand. The car­penter taught him his trade, and Joseph found his geometry of use. The hostility of his brothers at last went so far that, when eighteen, Joseph fled from his father's house by night. A friend, who lived out­side

Mary Espoused to Joseph


 of Bethlehem, had brought him clothes in which to make his escape. I saw him in Lebona carrying on carpentry. He worked for his living in a very poor family. The man supported himself by making such rough wicker partitions as those Joseph knew how to put together. The latter humbly assisted the fam­ily as far as he could. I saw him gathering wood and carrying it to the house. His parents, in the mean­time, believed that he had been kidnapped; but his brothers discovered him, and then he was again per­secuted. Joseph, however, would not leave the poor people nor desist from the humble occupation of which his family was ashamed. I saw him afterward in another place (Thanach). There he did better work for a well-to-do family. Though a small place, it had a synagogue. Joseph lived very piously and humbly, loved and esteemed by all. At last he worked for a man in Tiberias, at which place he lived alone near the water.

Joseph's parents were long since dead, and his brothers scattered; only two of them still dwelt in Bethlehem. The paternal mansion had passed into other hands, and the whole family had rapidly declined. Joseph was deeply pious; he prayed much for the coming of the Messiah. I noticed, too, his great reserve in the presence of females. Shortly before his call to Jerusalem for his espousals with Mary, he entertained the idea of fitting up a more secluded oratory in his dwelling. But an angel appeared to him in prayer, and told him not to do it; that, as in ancient times, the Patriarch Joseph became by God's appointment the administrator of the Egyptian gra­naries, so now to him was the granary of Redemp­tion to be wedded. In his humility Joseph could not comprehend the meaning of this and so he betook himself to prayer. At last he was summoned to Jerusalem to be espoused to the Blessed Virgin.

There were seven other virgins who were with Mary to be dismissed from the Temple and given in mar­riage.


Life of Jesus Christ

 On this account St. Anne went to Jerusalem to be with Mary, who grieved at the thought of leav­ing the Temple. But she was told that she must be married. I saw one of the distinguished old priests, who was no longer able to walk, borne into the Holy of Holies. An incense offering was enkindled. The priest prayed sitting before a roll of writings, and in vision his hand was placed upon that verse in the Prophet Isaias (Is. 11:1) in which it is written that there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse and a flower shall rise up out of his root. Thereupon I saw that all the unmarried men in the country of the House of David were summoned to the Temple. Many of them made their appearance in holiday attire, and Mary was conducted to their presence. I saw one among them, a very pious youth from the region of Bethlehem, who had always ardently prayed to be allowed to minister to the advent of the Messiah. Great was his desire to wed Mary. But Mary wept; she wished not to take a husband. Then the high priest gave to each of the suitors a branch which was to be held in the hand during the offering of prayer and sacrifice. After that, all the branches were laid in the Holy of Holies with the understanding that he whose branch should blossom, was to be Mary's husband. Now when that youth who so ardently desired to wed Mary found that this branch, along with all the others, had failed to blossom, he retired to a hall outside the Temple and, with arms raised to God, wept bitterly. The other suitors left the Tem­ple, and that youth hurried to Mount Carmel where, since the days of Elias, hermits had dwelt. He took up his abode on the mount, and there spent his days in prayer for the coming of the Messiah.

I saw the priests, after this, hunting through dif­ferent rolls of writing in their search for another descendant of the House of David, one that had not presented himself among the suitors for Mary's hand. And there they found that, among the six brothers

Mary Espoused to Joseph


 of Bethlehem, one was unknown and ignored. They sought him out and so discovered Joseph's retreat, six miles from Jerusalem, near Samaria. It was a small place on a little river. There Joseph dwelt alone in a humble house near the water, and carried on the trade of a carpenter under another master. He was told to go up to the Temple. He went, accord­ingly, arrayed in his best. A branch was given him. As he was about to lay it upon the altar, it blossomed on top into a white flower like a lily. At the same time I saw a light like the Holy Spirit hovering over him. He was then led to Mary, who was in her cham­ber, and she accepted him as her spouse.

The espousals took place, I think, upon our 23rd of January. They were celebrated in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion in a house often used for such feasts. The seven virgins that were to leave the Temple with Mary, had already departed. They were recalled to accompany Mary on her festal journey to Nazareth, where Anne had already prepared her little home. The marriage feast lasted seven or eight days. The women and the virgins, companions of Mary in the Temple, were present, also many relatives of Joachim and Anne, and two daughters from Gophna. Many lambs were slaughtered and offered in sacrifice.

I have had a clear vision of Mary in her bridal dress. She wore a colored, woolen under dress with­out sleeves, her arms encircled by white, woolen fil­lets. On the breast and as high as the neck, lay a white collar ornamented with jewels, pearls, etc. Then came a kind of gown open in front, wide like a man­tle from top to bottom, and with flowing sleeves. This gown was blue, embroidered with large red, white, and yellow roses and green leaves, something like the ancient vestments worn at Mass. It fastened around the neck on the white collar, and the lower border was edged with fringes and tassels. Over this was a kind of scapular of white-and gold-flowered silk, set over the breast with pearls and shining


Life of Jesus Christ

 stones. It lay upon the front opening of the dress, and reached to the edge of the same; it was about one-half an ell wide and was fringed with tassels and balls. A corresponding strip hung down the back, while shorter and narrower ones fell over the shoul­ders and arms. These lappets were caught under the arms from front to back with the gold cords, or del­icate chains, with which the broad upper piece of the bodice was fastened, as also the breast piece that was placed over the upper body. By this arrangement, the flowered stuff of the dress was puffed out between the cords. The wide sleeves were tightly fastened in the middle of the upper and the lower arm by buck­les, puffing out around the shoulders, the elbows, and the wrists.

Over this costume fell a long sky-blue mantle. It was fastened at the neck by an ornament, and over it was a white ruffle seemingly of feathers or silk dots. The mantle fell back from the shoulders, form­ing a large fold on the sides, and hung behind in a pointed train. It was embroidered around the edge in flowers of gold.

Mary's hair was arranged with such skill as is dif­ficult to describe. It was parted on top of the head and divided into numerous fine strands, which were caught together with pearls and white silk. It formed a large net that fell over the shoulders and down the back to the middle of the mantle. It looked like a web. The ends of the hair were rolled in, and the whole net edged with fringe and pearls.

On her head was placed, first a wreath of white raw silk or wool, closing on top with three bands of the same meeting in a tuft. On this rested a crown about the breadth of one's hand, set with many col­ored jewels. Three pieces arose from the circlet and met together in the center, where they were sur­mounted by a ball.

In her left hand Mary carried a little garland of red and white roses made of silk, and in the right

Mary Espoused to Joseph


 a beautiful candlestick covered with gold. It had no foot, but was furnished like a scepter with knobs above and below the point at which it was to be grasped by the hand. The stem began to swell out in the middle and ended in a little dish upon which burned a white flame.

On her feet she wore heavy sandals about two fin­gers in thickness under which, before and behind, was a support like a heel. They were green, and gave the foot the appearance of standing upon sods. Two straps, white and gold, went over the foot and held them in their place.

The virgins at the Temple arranged Mary's skill­fully woven hairnet. I saw them thus engaged. There were many busied with it, and the work went more swiftly than one could imagine.

Anne brought all the beautiful clothes, but Mary was so modest that it was only with reluctance that she allowed herself to be arrayed in them.

After the nuptial ceremony, her braided hair was wound around her head, a milk-white veil reaching up to the elbows thrown over her, and the crown placed upon it.

The Blessed Virgin had auburn hair, dark eye­brows, fine and arched, a very high forehead, large downcast eyes with long, dark lashes, a straight nose, delicate and rather long, a lovely mouth around which played a most noble expression, and a pointed chin. She was of medium height, and she moved very gen­tly and gravely, looking very bashful in her rich attire. After the marriage feast, she wore another dress. It was striped and less magnificent than the one described. I have a scrap of it among my relics. This striped dress she wore at Cana and on other holy occasions. She wore her wedding suit once again in the Temple.

The very wealthy among the Jews changed their dress three or four times during a marriage feast. Mary in her magnificent apparel presented an appear­ance


Life of Jesus Christ

 somewhat similar to the richly adorned women of a much later period, the Empress Helena, for instance, and even Cunegundis herself. The usual clothing of the Jewish women enveloped them closely, giving them an appearance of being wrapped up; but Mary's wedding dress was very different; it was some­thing on the Roman style.

Joseph wore a long, wide blue coat fastened from the breast down with loops and buttons. The wide sleeves were laced at the sides, a broad cuff turned up at the wrist, the inside provided, as it were, with pockets. Around the neck was something like a brown collar, over which lay a kind of stole, and upon the breast hung two white bands.

After the marriage, Joseph went to Bethlehem on some business, and Mary with twelve or fifteen women and maidens went to Anne's house near Nazareth. They made the journey on foot. When Joseph returned, I saw at Anne's house a feast at which, besides the usual household, there were about six guests and several children present. Cups were on the table. The Blessed Virgin wore a mantle embroidered with red, white, and blue flowers. Her face was covered with a transparent veil over which was a black one.

I afterward saw Joseph and Mary in the house of Nazareth. Joseph had a separate apartment in the front of the house, a three-cornered chamber this side of the kitchen. Both Mary and Joseph were timid and reserved in each other's presence. They were very quiet and prayerful.

Once I saw Anne making preparations to go to Nazareth. Under her arm she carried a bundle that contained some things for Mary. To reach Nazareth, which lay in front of a hill, she had to go over a plain and through a grove. Mary wept very much when Anne was leaving and accompanied her a part of the way. Joseph was alone in his apartment in the front of the house.

The Holy House of Nazareth


Mary and Joseph had, properly speaking, no reg­ular housekeeping affairs; they received from Anne all that they needed. I saw Mary spinning and sewing too, but yet with wide stitches. The clothes then worn had not many seams and were entirely in strips. I saw her embroidering also, and with little white sticks knitting or working. The cooking she did was very simple and, while it was going on, the bread was baking in the ashes. They used sheep's milk, and of meat generally pigeons only.

2. The Holy House of Nazareth

The little house at Nazareth which Anne fitted up for Mary and Joseph, belonged to Anne. From her own dwelling, she could, unnoticed, reach it in about half an hour by a cross path. It lay not far from the gate. It had a small courtyard in front and nearby was a well, a couple of steps leading down to it. It was near a hill, but not built on it. A narrow path dug out of the hill separated it from the back of the house, in which there was one little window. It was darker on this side of the house than on the other. The back part was triangular and built on higher ground than the front. The foundations were cut in the rock; the upper part was a light masonry. Mary's sleeping com­partment was in the back, and there it was that the angelic Annunciation took place. This chamber had a semicircular form, on account of the movable parti­tions placed around the walls and which were of coarser wickerwork than that ordinarily used for the light screens. The patterns in which these screens were woven were similar to wafers, and the colors used were designed to bring the figures out. Mary's sleep­ing place was on the side just behind a wicker screen. On the left was a little closet with a small table and stool. This was the Blessed Virgin's oratory.

This back room was separated from the rest of the house by a fireplace, which consisted of a graded wall


Life of Jesus Christ

 from whose center over the slightly raised hearth, a chimney rose up to the roof and ended in a tube above it. Over the opening through which the tube projected was built a little roof. On top of the chimney, I saw in after years two little bells hanging. To the right and left of the chimney and opening into Mary's rooms were doors up to which three steps led. In the chim­ney wall were all kinds of nooks in which stood the little vessels that I still see at Loretto. Behind was a rafter of cedar wood, upon which the wall of the chimney rested. From this upright rafter ran a cross­beam to the center of the back wall, and into this there were others dovetailed from the two side walls. These beams were of a bluish cast with yellow orna­ments. Between them one could see up through the roof, which was hung with large leaves and matting, and in three places, namely in the three corners, adorned with stars. The star in the middle corner was large like the morning star. Later on the ceiling was adorned with numerous stars. Over the hori­zontal rafter, which extended from the chimney to the back of the wall, was an opening in the center for the window, and under this was hung a lamp. There was a rafter under the chimney also. The roof was not high and pointed, but so level that one might walk around the edge. It was flat on top, and there rose the chimney with its tubes, protected by the lit­tle roof.

When after Joseph's death the Blessed Virgin removed to the neighborhood of Capharnaum, the Holy House was left beautifully adorned like a sacred shrine. Mary often went from Capharnaum to visit the scene of the Incarnation and to pray there. Peter and John, whenever they went to Palestine, visited the House of Nazareth and celebrated Mass in it. An altar was erected where the fireplace used to be. The little cupboard once used by Mary was placed as a tabernacle upon the altar.

I have often in vision witnessed the transporting

The Annunciation


 of the Holy House to Loretto. For a long time, I could not believe it, and yet I continued to see it. I saw the Holy House borne over the sea by seven angels. It had no foundation, but there was under it a shining surface of light. On either side was something like a handle. Three angels carried it on one side and three on the other; the seventh hovered in front of it, a long train of light after him.

I remember that it was the back of the house, the part that contained the fireplace, the altar of the Apostles, and the little window, that was transported to Europe. It seems to me when I recall it that the rest of the building was in some danger of falling. I see in Loretto the Crucifix also that the Blessed Vir­gin had when in Ephesus. It was formed of different kinds of wood. Later on, it came into the possession of the Apostles. Many miracles take place before that Crucifix.

The wall of the Holy House of Loretto is entirely the original one. Even the rafter under the chimney is still in its place. The miraculous picture of the Mother of God stands on the altar of the Apostles.

3. Mary's Annunciation

On the day upon which the Church celebrates the feast, I had a vision of Mary's Annunciation.

I saw the Blessed Virgin a short time after her marriage in the house of Nazareth. Joseph was not there. He was at that moment journeying with two beasts of burden on the road to Tiberias, whither he was going to get his tools. But Anne was in the house with her maid and two of the virgins who had been with Mary in the Temple. Everything in the house had been newly arranged by Anne. Toward evening, they all prayed standing around a circular stool from which they afterward ate vegetables that had been served. Anne seemed to be very busy about the house­hold affairs, and for a time she moved around here


Life of Jesus Christ

 and there, while the Blessed Virgin ascended the steps to her room. There she put on a long, white, woolen garment, such as it was customary to wear during prayer, a girdle around her waist, and a yel­lowish-white veil over her head. The maid entered, lighted the branched lamp, and retired. Mary drew out a little, low table, which stood folded by the wall, and placed it in the center of the room. It had a semicircular leaf, which could be raised on a mov­able support so that when ready for use the little table stood on three legs. Mary spread upon it a red and then a white, transparent cover, which hung down on the side opposite the leaf. It was fringed at the end and embroidered in the center. A white cover was spread on the rounded edge. When the little table was prepared, Mary laid a small, round cush­ion before it and, resting both hands on the leaf, she gently sank on her knees, her back turned to her couch, the door of the chamber to her right. The floor was carpeted. Mary lowered her veil over her face, and folded her hands, but not the fingers, upon her breast. I saw her praying for a long time with intense fervor. She prayed for Redemption, for the promised King, and that her own supplications might have some influence upon His coming. She knelt long, as if in ecstasy, her face raised to Heaven; then she drooped her head upon her breast and thus contin­ued her prayer. And now she glanced to the right and beheld a radiant youth with flowing, yellow hair. It was the archangel Gabriel. His feet did not touch the ground. In an oblique line and surrounded by an effulgence of light and glory, he came floating down to Mary. The lamp grew dim, for the whole room was lighted up by the glory.

The angel, with hands gently raised before his breast, spoke to Mary. I saw the words like letters of glittering light issuing from his lips. Mary replied, but without looking up. Then the angel again spoke and Mary, as if in obedience to his command, raised

The Annunciation


 her veil a little, glanced at him, and said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done unto me according to thy word!" I saw her now in deeper ecstasy. The ceiling of the room vanished, and over the house appeared a luminous cloud with a path­way of light leading up from it to the opened heav­ens. Far up in the source of this light, I beheld a vision of the Most Holy Trinity. It was like a trian­gle of glory, and I thought that I saw therein the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

As Mary uttered the words: "May it be done unto me according to thy word!" I saw an apparition of the Holy Ghost. The countenance was human and the whole apparition environed by dazzling splendor, as if surrounded by wings. From the breast and hands, I saw issuing three streams of light. They penetrated the right side of the Blessed Virgin and united into one under her heart. At that instant Mary became perfectly transparent and luminous. It was as if opac­ity disappeared like darkness before that flood of light.

While the angel and with him the streams of glory vanished, I saw down the path of light that led up to Heaven, showers of half-blown roses and tiny green leaves falling upon Mary. She, entirely absorbed in self, saw in herself the Incarnate Son of God, a tiny, human form of light with all the members, even to the little fingers perfect. It was about midnight that I saw this mystery.

Some time elapsed, and then Anne and the other women entered Mary's room, but when they beheld her in ecstasy they immediately withdrew. The Blessed Virgin then arose, stepped to the little altar on the wall, let down the picture of a swathed child that was rolled above it, and prayed standing under the lamp before it. Only toward morning did she lie down. Mary was at this time a little over fourteen years old.

An intuitive knowledge of what had taken place was conferred upon Anne. Mary knew that she had conceived the Redeemer, yes, her interior lay open


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 before her, and so she already understood that her Son's kingdom should be a supernatural one, and that the House of Jacob, the Church, would be the reunion of regenerate mankind. She knew that the Redeemer would be the King of His people, that He would purify them and render them victorious; but that in order to redeem them He must suffer and die.

It was explained to me likewise why the Redeemer remained nine months in His mother's womb, why He was born a little child and not a perfect man like Adam, and why also He did not take the beauty of Adam in Paradise. The Incarnate Son of God willed to be conceived and born that conception and birth, rendered so very unholy by the Fall, might again become holy. Mary was His Mother, and He did not come sooner because Mary was the first and the only woman con­ceived without sin. Jesus when put to death was thirty-three years, four months, and two weeks old.

I thought all the while: Here in Nazareth, things are different from what they are in Jerusalem. There the women dare not set foot in the Temple, but here in this church at Nazareth, a virgin is herself the Temple and the Most Holy rests in her.

4. Mary's Visitation

Mary's Annunciation took place before Joseph's return. He had not yet settled at Nazareth when, with Mary, he started on the journey to Hebron. After the Conception of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin experi­enced a great desire to visit her cousin Elizabeth. I saw her travelling with Joseph toward the south. Once I saw her passing the night in a hut made of wickerwork and which was all overrun with vines and beautiful white blossoms. From that point to Zachary's house, it was a journey of about twelve hours. Near Jerusalem they turned off to the north in order to take a more solitary route. They made the circuit of a little city two leagues from Emmaus,

The Visitation


 and took a road traversed by Jesus in after years. Although it was a long journey, they made it very quickly. They now had to cross two hills. I saw them resting between them, eating some bread and refresh­ing themselves with some balsam drops which they had collected on the way, and which they mingled with their drinking water. The hill was formed of overhanging rocks and caves. The valleys were very fertile. I remarked on the road one particular flower. It had fine green leaves and a cluster of nine tiny bell-shaped blossoms, white, lightly flushed with red.

Mary wore a brown, woolen under dress over which was a gray one with a girdle, and a yellowish cover­ing on her head. Joseph carried in a bundle a long brownish garment with a cowl, and bands in front. It was one that Mary was accustomed to wear when­ever she went either to the Temple or the synagogue.

Zachary's house stood upon a solitary hill, and other dwellings were scattered around. Not far from it, a tolerably large brook flowed down from the mountain.

Elizabeth had learned in vision that one of her race was to give birth to the Messiah; she had dwelt in thought upon Mary, had very greatly desired to see her, and had indeed beheld her journeying to Hebron. In a little room, to the right of the entrance to the house, she placed seats, and here she tarried, often looking long and anxiously down the road, in the hope of catching the first glimpse of Mary. When Zachary was returning from the Passover, I saw Eliz­abeth, urged by an impetuous desire, hurrying from the house and going a considerable distance on the road to Jerusalem. When Zachary met her, he was alarmed to find her so far from home and that, too, in her present condition. But she told him of her anx­iety and that she could not help thinking that her cousin Mary was corning from Nazareth to see her. Zachary, however, thought it improbable that the newly married couple would at that time undertake


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 so great a journey. On the following day, I saw Eliz­abeth taking the road again under the influence of the same impression, and now I saw the Holy Fam­ily coming to meet her.

Elizabeth was advanced in years. She was tall, her face small and delicate, and she wore something wrapped around her head. She was acquainted with Mary only by hearsay. As soon as the Blessed Vir­gin saw Elizabeth, she knew her and hurried on to meet her, while Joseph purposely held back. Mary had already reached the houses in the neighborhood of Zachary's home. Their occupants were enraptured at her beauty, and filled with such reverence by her demeanor that they stood back modestly. When the cousins met, they saluted each other joyfully with outstretched hands. I saw a light in Mary and issu­ing from her a ray which entered into Elizabeth, who thereby became wonderfully agitated. They did not pause long in sight of the beholders, but arm in arm passed up the courtyard to the door of the house, where Elizabeth once more bade Mary welcome. Joseph went around to the side of the house and into an open hall where sat Zachary. He respectfully saluted the aged priest, who responded in writing on his tablet.

Mary and Elizabeth entered the room in which was the fireplace. Here they embraced, clasping each other in their arms and pressing cheek to cheek. I saw light streaming down between them. Then it was that Elizabeth, becoming interiorly inflamed, stepped back with uplifted hands, and exclaimed, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb.

"And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?

"For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

"And blessed art thou that hast believed, because

The Visitation


 those things shall be accomplished that were spo­ken to thee by the Lord."

At these last words, Elizabeth took Mary into the little room prepared for her that she might sit down and rest. It was only a few steps from where they then were. Mary released her hold upon Elizabeth's arm, crossed her hands on her breast, and divinely inspired, uttered her canticle of thanksgiving: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God, my Saviour.

"Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold from henceforth all genera­tions shall call me blessed.

"Because He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His name.

"And His mercy is from generation unto genera­tions, to them that fear Him.

"He hath showed might in His arm: He hath scat­tered the proud in the conceit of their heart.

"He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.

"He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath sent empty away.

"He hath received Israel his servant, being mind­ful of His mercy.

"As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to His seed forever."

I saw Elizabeth, moved by similar emotion, recit­ing the whole canticle with Mary. Then they seated themselves on low seats. A small goblet was on the little table. And, oh, I was so happy! I sat nearby and prayed with them the whole time.

I saw Joseph and Zachary still together. They were conversing by means of the tablet, and always about the coming of the Messiah. Zachary was a tall, hand­some old man clothed like a priest. He and Joseph sat together at the side of the house that opened on the garden, in which Mary and Elizabeth were now sitting on a rug under a high, spreading tree. Behind


Life of Jesus Christ

 the tree was a fountain from which gushed water when a spigot was pressed. I saw grass and flowers around, and trees bearing little, yellow plums. Mary and Elizabeth were eating rolls and small fruits out of Joseph's travelling pouch. What touching simplicity and moderation! Two maids and two men servants were in the house. They prepared a table under the tree. Joseph and Zachary came out and ate some­thing. Joseph wanted to return home at once, but they persuaded him to stay eight days. He knew not of Mary's conception. The women were silent on that subject. They had a secret understanding together about their interior sentiments.

When all, Mary and Elizabeth, Joseph and Zachary, were together, they prayed making use of a kind of litany. I saw a cross appear in their midst, and still there was no cross at that time. Yes, it was as if two crosses visited each other.

In the evening they all sat together again in the garden near a lamp under the tree. A cover like a tent was stretched under the tree, and low stools with backs stood around. After that I saw Joseph and Zachary going to an oratory, while Mary and Elizabeth retired to their little chamber. They were inflamed with divine ardor, and together they recited the Magnificat. The Blessed Virgin wore a trans­parent white veil which she lowered when speaking to men.

Zachary took Joseph on the following day to another garden at some distance from the house. He was in all things most exact and methodical. This second garden was set out with beautiful bushes and trees full of fruit. In the center was an avenue of trees, and at the end of it a small house whose entrance was on the side. Above were openings with slides like windows. A woven couch filled with moss or some other fine plant, stood in one room in which there were also two white figures as large as children. I have no clear knowledge of how they came there nor

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 1

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