Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
1774-1824
Vol 3

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THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST

and

BIBLICAL REVELATIONS

Volume III

PREACHING AND MIRACLES OF JESUS IN CAPHARNAUM AND THE SURROUNDING DISTRICTS

1. Cornelius the Centurion

From Gabara Jesus went to the estate of the offi­cer Zorobabel near Capharnaum. The two lepers whom at His last visit to Capharnaum He had healed, here presented themselves to return Him thanks. The steward, the domestics, and the cured son of Zorobabel also were here. They had already been baptized. Jesus taught and cured many sick. In the dusk of the evening, after His disciples had sepa­rated and gone to their respective families, Jesus proceeded along the valley of Capharnaum to the house of His Mother. All the holy women were here assembled, and there was great joy. Mary and the women renewed their petition to Jesus that He would cross to the other side of the lake early next morn­ing because the committee of the Pharisees was so irritated against Him. Jesus calmed their fears. Mary interceded for the sick slave of the Centurion Cor­nelius, who was, she said, a very good man. Although a pagan, he had, through affection for the Jews, built them a synagogue. She begged Him likewise to cure the sick daughter of Jairus, the Elder of the syna­gogue, who lived in a little village not far from Capharnaum.

When Jesus next morning, with some of the dis­ciples, was going to the residence of the pagan offi­cer Cornelius, which stood on a height to the north of Capharnaum, He was met in the neighborhood

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 of Peter's house by the two Jews whom Cornelius had once before sent to Him. They again begged Him to have pity on his servant, for Cornelius, they said, deserved the favor. He was a friend of the Jews and had built them a synagogue, reckoning it at the same time an honor to be allowed to do so. Jesus responded that He was even then on His way to Cornelius', and He directed them to dispatch a mes­senger in haste to announce His coming. Before reaching Capharnaum, Jesus took, just to the right of the gate, the road running between the city and the ramparts and passed the hovel of a leper liv­ing in the city wall. A short distance farther on brought Cornelius' house in sight. Upon receiving the message sent by Jesus, Cornelius had left it as if to get a glimpse of Him. He knelt down and, esteeming himself unworthy to approach Him or to speak with Him personally, hurried off a messen­ger with these words: "The Centurion bids me say to Thee, 'Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof! Speak but one word, and my servant shall be healed. For if I, who am only a humble man dependent upon my superior, say to my servant: Do this! Do that! and he does it, how much easier will it be for Thee to command Thy servant to be healed and that he should be so!' When these words were delivered to Jesus by Cor­nelius' messenger, He turned to those standing around and said: "Verily, I say unto ye, I have not found such faith in Israel! Know ye then! Many shall come from the east and the west and shall take place with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Heaven; and many of the children of God's king­dom, the Israelites, shall be cast out into exterior darkness where there shall be weeping and gnash­ing of teeth!" Then, turning to the servant of the Centurion, He said: "Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee!" The messenger bore the words to the kneeling Centurion, who inclined to the earth,

Jesus in Capharnaum

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 arose, and hastened back to the house. As he entered, he encountered his servant, who was coming to meet him, enveloped in a mantle, his head bound in a scarf. He was not a native of the country, as was indicated by his yellowish-brown complexion.

Jesus immediately turned back to Capharnaum. As He was again passing the leper's hut, the leper himself came out and threw himself down before Him. "Lord," he said, "if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean." Jesus replied: "Stretch forth thy hands!" He touched them and said: "I do will it. Be thou clean!" and the leprosy fell from the man. Jesus com­manded him to present himself to the priests for inspection, to make the offering prescribed by the Law, and to speak to none other of his cure. The man went to the pharisaical priests and submitted himself to their examination as to whether he was cured or not. They became enraged, examined him rigorously, but were forced to acknowledge him cured. They had so lively a dispute with him that they almost drove him from their presence.

Jesus turned off into the street that led into the heart of the city, and for about an hour cured num­bers of sick that had been brought together, also some possessed. Most of the sick were lying near a well, around which stood little huts. After that Jesus, with several of the disciples, left the city and went to a little vale beyond Magdalum not far from Damma. There they found a public inn, at which were Maroni, the widow of Naim, and the pagan Lais of Naim and her two daughters, Sabia and Athalia, both of whom Jesus, when at Meroz, had from a distance delivered from the devil. Maroni, the widow of Naim, now came beseeching Jesus to go to her son Martial, a boy of twelve years, who was so ill that she feared to find him dead on her return. Jesus told her to go home in peace, that He would follow her—but when, He did not say. Maroni had brought with her presents for the inn. She imme­diately

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 hurried back home with her servant. She had about nine hours to travel. She was a wealthy woman and very good, a mother to all the poor chil­dren in Naim.

Bartholomew also had arrived bringing with him Joses, the little son of his widowed sister, perhaps to be baptized. Thomas too was there and with him Jephte, the little cured son of Achias, the Centurion of Giskala. Achias himself was not present, hut Judas Iscariot had come from Meroz. Lais and her two daughters had already embraced Judaism in Naim and renounced idolatry before the Jewish priests. At this ceremony a kind of baptism was performed by the priests which, however, consisted only of a sprin­kling with water and other purifications. In such cases, the Jews baptized women, but the Baptism of Jesus and of John was not conferred upon females before Pentecost.

All the future Apostles were now in Capharnaum, with the exception of Matthias. A great many of Jesus' disciples and relatives, among the latter many women related to Him by blood, were present. Of the number was Mary Heli, Mary's elder sister. She was now perhaps seventy years old, and together with her second husband, Obed, had come bringing an ass laden with presents to Mary. She dwelt at Japha, a little place an hour at most from Nazareth, where Zebedee once lived and where his sons were born. She was greatly rejoiced at seeing again her three sons, James, Sadoch, and Heliacim, all disci­ples of John. This James was as old as Andrew. He is the same that with two other disciples, Cephas and John, once disputed with Paul on the subject of Jewish circumcision. After Jesus' death he became a priest, and was one of the oldest and most distin­guished of the seventy disciples. Later he accompa­nied James the Greater to Spain, to the islands, into Cyprus, and into the idolatrous countries bordering the confines of Judea. Not this James, but James

Cure of One Possessed

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 the Lesser, the son of Alpheus and Mary Cleophas, became the first Bishop of Jerusalem.¹

2. Miraculous Cures Wrought by Jesus. His Reasons for Teaching In Parables

The Pharisees and Sadducees determined to oppose Jesus today in the synagogue. They had laid their plans and bribed the people to raise a tumult in which Jesus was to be formally thrust out of the edifice or taken prisoner. But the affair turned out quite differently. Jesus commenced His teaching in the synagogue by a very vigorous address, like one having power and authority to speak. The rage of the exasperated Pharisees increased at each moment. It was about to be let loose upon Him when sud­denly a great disturbance arose in the synagogue. A man belonging to the city and possessed by the devil, and who on account of his madness had been fast bound, had while his keepers were in the syn­agogue broken his bonds. He came plunging like a fury into the synagogue, and with frightful cries pressed his way through the people, whom he tossed right and left, and who also began to utter screams of terror. He ran straight to the spot where Jesus was teaching, crying out: "Jesus of Nazareth! What have we to do with Thee? Thou hast come to drive us out! I know who Thou art! Thou art the Holy One of God!" But Jesus remained quite unmoved. He scarcely turned from His elevated position toward him, made only a menacing gesture sideways with His hand, and said quietly: "Be still, and go out of him!" Thereupon the man, becoming silent, sank

1.   This remark of Sister Emmerich throws light upon the second chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, and agrees with the tradition related by Eusebius. According to this tradition the Cephas of whom St. Paul speaks in this place was not St. Peter; but one of the seventy-two dis­ciples. (Note taken from the first edition of the Life of Our Lord accord­ing to Sister Emmerich.)

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 down, still tossed to and fro on the ground, and Satan departed from him under the form of a thick, black vapor. The man now grew pale and calm, pros­trated on the ground, and wept. All present were witness to this awful and wonderful spectacle of Jesus' power. Their terror was changed into a mur­mur of admiration. The courage of the Pharisees for­sook them, and they huddled together, saying to one another: "What manner of man is this? He com­mands the spirits, and they go out of the possessed!" Jesus went on quietly with His discourse. The man that had been freed from the devil, weak and ema­ciated, was conducted home by his wife and rela­tives, who had been in the synagogue. When the sermon was over, he met Jesus and asked for some advice. Jesus warned him to refrain from his evil habits lest something worse might befall him, and exhorted him to penance and Baptism. The man was a cloth weaver. He made cotton scarves, narrow and light, such as were worn around the neck. He returned to his work perfectly cured in mind and body. Such unclean spirits often domineer over men that freely give themselves up to their passions.

After this scene, the Pharisees were afraid to assault Jesus that day, and so they remained quiet while He went on with His teaching. The lessons for the Sabbath were taken from Moses and Osee. There were no more interruptions, though Jesus spoke very forcibly and severely. His appearance and His words were much more impressive than usual. He spoke as One having authority. The instruction over, He went to Mary's, where were gathered the women with many relatives and disciples.

I counted all the holy women who were associ­ated together till the death of Jesus to help the lit­tle Community. There were seventy. At this time there were already thirty-seven who took part in this duty. Sabia and Athalia also, the daughters of Lais of Naim, were toward the last admitted among

Jesus Teaching in the Synagogue

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 the female followers. At the time of St. Stephen, they were among the Christians who settled in Jerusalem.

Next morning Jesus again taught unmolested in the synagogue. The Pharisees had said to one another: "We can do nothing with Him now, His adherents are too numerous. We shall contradict Him now and then, we shall report all at Jerusalem, and wait till He goes up to the Temple for the Pasch." The streets were again filled with the sick. Some had come before the Sabbath, and some till now had not believed, but on the report of the possessed man's cure, they had themselves transported thither from all quarters of the city. Many of them had been there before, but had not been cured. They were weak, tepid, slothful souls, more difficult to convert than great sinners of more ardent nature. Magdalen was converted only after many struggles and relapses, but her last efforts were generous and final. Dina the Samaritan turned at once from her evil ways, and the Suphanite, after sighing long for grace, was suddenly converted. All the great female sinners were very quickly and powerfully converted, as was also the sturdy Paul, to whom conversion came like a flash of lightning. Judas, on the contrary, was always vacillating, and at last fell into the abyss. It was the same with the great and most violent maladies which I saw Jesus, in His wisdom, cure at once. They that were afflicted with them, like the possessed, had no will whatever to remain in the state in which they were, or again, self-will was entirely overcome by the violence of the malady. But as to those that were less grievously affected, whose sufferings only opposed an obstacle to their sinning with more facil­ity, and whose conversion was insincere, I saw that Jesus often sent them away with an admonition to reform their lives; or that He only alleviated with­out curing their bodily ills, that through their pres­sure the soul might be cured. Jesus could have cured all that came to Him, and that instantaneously, but

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 He did so only for those that believed and did penance, and He frequently warned them against a relapse. Even those that were only slightly sick He sometimes cured at once, if such would prove ben­eficial to their soul. He was not come to cure the body that it might the more readily sin, but He cured the body in order to deliver and save the soul. In every malady, in every species of bodily infirmity, I see a special design of God. Sickness is the sign of some sin. It may be his own or another's, a sin of which he may be conscious or not, that the sufferer has to expiate, or it may be a trial expressly pre­pared for him, which by patience and submission to God's will he may change into capital that will yield a rich return. Properly speaking, no one suffers in­nocently, for who is innocent, since the Son of God had to take upon Himself the sins of the world that they might be blotted out? To follow Him, we are all obliged to bear our cross after Him.

Since joy and the highest degree of patience in suffering, since the union of pain with the Passion of Jesus Christ, belong to the perfect, it follows that a disinclination to suffer is in itself an imperfection. We are created perfect and we shall again be born to perfection, consequently the cure of sickness is an effect of pure love and mercy toward poor sin­ners' a favor wholly unmerited by them. They have deserved more than sickness, they have deserved death; but the Lord by His own death has delivered them that believe in Him and perform works in accordance with their faith.

And so I saw Jesus on this day cure many pos­sessed, paralyzed, dropsical, gouty, dumb, blind, many afflicted with an issue of blood, in fine, vio­lent maladies of all kinds. I saw Him several times pass by some that were able to stand. They were those who had frequently received slight relief from Him, but their conversion not being earnest, they had relapsed in body and soul. As Jesus was pass­ing

Jesus Teaching and Curing

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 by them, they cried out: "Lord, Lord! Thou dost cure all that are grievously sick, and Thou dost not cure us! Lord, have pity on us! We are sick again!" Jesus responded: "Why do ye not stretch forth your hands to Me?" At these words, all stretched out their hands to Him, and said: "Lord, here are our hands!" Jesus replied: "Ye do indeed stretch forth these hands, but the hands of your heart I cannot seize. Ye with­draw them and lock them up, for ye are filled with darkness." Then He continued to admonish them, cured several, who were converted, slightly relieved others, and passed by some unnoticed.

That afternoon He went with all His disciples and relatives to the lake. There was on the south side of the valley a pleasure garden provided with con­veniences for bathing, the water being furnished from the brook of Capharnaum. Here they paused, and administered Baptism in the garden.

The Blessed Virgin with several of the women, among them Dina, Mary, Lais, Athalia, Sabia, and Martha, went for a walk in the neighborhood of Beth­saida, a little beyond the lepers' asylum. A caravan of pagans was encamped thereabouts, and among them were several women from Upper Galilee. The Blessed Virgin consoled and instructed them. The women sat in a circle on a little eminence, and Mary sometimes sat, sometimes walked among them. They asked her questions which she answered clearly, and told them many things about the Patriarchs, the Prophets, and Jesus.

Jesus meantime was instructing a crowd in para­bles. The disciples did not understand Him. Later, when again alone with them, He explained the para­ble of the sower. He spoke of the tares among the wheat and of the danger of pulling up the wheat with them. It was principally James the Greater who told Jesus that he and his companions did not understand Him, and he asked Him why He did not speak more clearly. Jesus answered that He would

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 make all intelligible to them, but that on account of the weak and the pagans, the mysteries of the Kingdom of God could not then be exposed more plainly. As even with such precautions, these mys­teries alarmed His hearers, who in their state of depravity, esteemed them too sublime for them, they must at first be presented, as it were, under the cover of a similitude. They must fall into their hearts like the grain of seed. In the grain the whole ear is enclosed, but to produce it, the grain must be hid­den in the earth. He explained to them likewise the parable referring to their own call to labor in the harvest. He insisted chiefly upon their following Him; they would soon be with Him always, and He would explain all things to them. James the Greater said also: "Master, why wilt Thou explain all to us who are so ignorant? Why must we publish these things to others? Tell them rather to the Baptist, who believes so firmly who Thou really art. He can pub­lish them, he can make them known!"

That evening when Jesus was teaching again in the synagogue, the Pharisees, who could once more breathe somewhat freely, began to dispute with Him on the subject of His forgiving sins. They reproached Him with the fact of His having in Gabara said to Mary Magdalen that her sins were forgiven her, and they asked how He knew that. How could He do that? Such talk was blasphemy! Jesus silenced them. Then they tried to provoke Him to say that He was not a man, that He was God. But Jesus again con­founded them in their words. This scene took place in the forecourt of the synagogue. At last the Phar­isees raised a great cry and tumult. But Jesus slipped from their hands and into the crowd, so that they could not tell where He had gone. He went by the flowery dale back of the synagogue to the garden of Zorobabel and thence by roundabout ways to the house of His Mother. He tarried there a part of the night, and sent word to Peter and the other disci­ples

Naim

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 to meet Him next morning at the opposite side of the valley beyond Peter's fishery, as He wished them to go with Him to Naim.

The Centurion Cornelius and his servant asked Jesus what they should do. He answered that they and all their family should receive Baptism.

3. The Raising of the Youth of Naim From the Dead

The road to Naim crossed the valley of Magdalum above Peter's fishery to the east of the mountain that looked down upon Gabara, and then ran into the valley eastward of Bethulia and Giskala. Jesus may have journeyed with the disciples nine to ten hours when they put up at a shepherd inn about three or four hours from Naim. They had crossed the brook Cison once. Jesus taught the whole way, explaining to His disciples in particular how they would be able to detect false teachers.

Naim was a beautiful little place with well-built houses, and was sometimes known also as Engan­nim. It lay upon a charming hill on the brook Cison to the south, about an hour from Mount Thabor, and facing Endor on the southwest. Jezrael was more to the south, but was hidden by intervening heights. The beautiful Plain of Esdrelon stretched out before Naim, which was almost three or four hours distant from Nazareth. The country here was uncommonly rich in grain, fruit, and wine. The widow Maroni owned a whole mountain covered with the most beau­tiful vineyards. Jesus had about thirty companions. The path over the hill was rather narrow, so some went on before Jesus, and others behind Him. It was almost nine in the morning when they drew near to Naim and encountered the funeral procession at the gate.

A crowd of Jews enveloped in mourning mantles passed out of the city gate with the corpse. Four

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 men were carrying the coffin, in which reposed the remains upon a kind of frame made of crossed poles curved in the middle. The coffin was in shape some­thing like the human form, light like a woven bas­ket, with a cover fastened to the top. Jesus passed through the disciples who, formed into two rows on either side of the road, advanced to meet the com­ing procession, and said: "Stand still!" Then as He laid His hand upon the coffin, He said: "Set the cof­fin down." The bearers obeyed, the crowd fell back, and the disciples ranged on either side. The mother of the dead youth, with several of her female friends, was following the corpse. They too paused just as they were passing out of the gate a few feet from where Jesus was standing. They were veiled and showed every sign of grief. The mother stood in front shedding silent tears. She may indeed have been thinking: "Ah, He has come too late!" Jesus said to her most kindly and earnestly: "Woman, weep not!" The grief of all present touched Him, for the widow was much loved in the city, on account of her great charity to orphans and the poor. Still there were many wicked and malignant people around, and num­bers of others came flocking from the city. Jesus called for water and a little branch. Someone brought to a disciple, who handed them to Jesus, a little ves­sel of water and a twig of hyssop. Jesus took the water and said to the bearers: "Open the coffin and loosen the bands!" While this command was being executed, Jesus raised His eyes to Heaven and said: "I confess to Thee, 0 Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered to Me by My Father, and not one knoweth the Son but the Father; neither doth anyone know the Father but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you that labor and are bur­dened,

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
1774-1824
Vol 3

This document is: ACE_3_0001

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_3 front_0009 List of documents Next document: ACE_3_0013
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)