Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

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Jesus at Cariathaim


Cariathaim was a Levitical city, and in it were no Pharisees. A couple of its families were related to Zachary. Jesus visited them and found them very much troubled on John's account. He recalled to them the wonders that had preceded and accompanied John's birth, and spoke of his mission and wonder­ful life. He reminded them likewise of many circum­stances attendant on the birth of Mary's Son, showed them that John's fate lay in the hands of God, and that he would die when he had fulfilled his mission. Jesus prepared them in this way for John's death.

The possessed whom He had sent to Cariathaim on the preceding day, and many other sick, accosted Him near the synagogue on the subject of their cure. He healed several, but others He sent away to ful­fill certain prescriptions of fasting, alms-giving, and prayer. He did this here rather than elsewhere, because the people of this place were earnest in the keeping of the Law. After that He repaired with the disciples to the garden in which He had been received, where He taught and the disciples baptized. Encamped under tents in the neighborhood were pagans awaiting Jesus' coming. They had already been in Capharnaum, whence they had been ordered here. There were in all about a hundred baptized. They stood in the water around a basin. Peter and James the Less baptized, while the others laid their hands on the neophytes.

In the evening Jesus taught in the synagogue, His subject being the Eight Beatitudes. He spoke also of the false consolation of the false prophets who had rejected the menaces of the true whose prophe­cies had, nevertheless, been fulfilled. He repeated His threats against those who would not receive Him who was sent by God.

Leaving Cariathaim, Jesus went with the disciples toward the south. He was as solemnly escorted on His departure by the Levites and schoolchildren as He had been received on His entrance. The people of


Life of Jesus Christ

 Cariathaim were engaged in the transportation of goods and the manufacture of vestments for priests out of the silk that they imported from afar. On the southern declivity of the opposite side of the valley, where lay a place called Naasson, there was a sugar cane plantation whose products formed a staple of trade. Jesus ascended that height, while the disci­ples scattered among some of the places more to the east of the valley. Jesus taught near Naasson those whom He met coming from Capharnaum, among them some idolaters. On such occasions, Jesus was fre­quently accompanied a part of His way by crowds. I saw Him curing several, among others two poor crip­ples who were lying on the roadside. He took them by the hand and commanded them to rise. They im­mediately wanted to follow Him, but He forbade them to do so. He traversed another valley, arrived at a height situated before the city of Abram in the tribe of Aser, and put up at an inn outside the city, where were found beautiful gardens and pleasure grounds. There were only two disciples with Jesus when He entered the inn, the others not having yet arrived. The country here on the eastern side of the high ridges that run from Libanus down to the valley of Zabulon was rich in meadow land and very charm­ing. Herds of cattle and camels were grazing in the high grass. Westward toward the lake, orchards were more numerous.

Abram was situated about three hours south of Cariathaim. But Jesus, not having followed the direct route, was certainly five hours on His jour­ney thither.

In the evening Thomas, John, and Nathanael joined Jesus in the inn. The others were still in the neigh­boring towns. The mountain upon which Abram was built formed in its length the boundary between Nephtali and Zabulon. The steward of the inn laid before Jesus a dispute, which he begged Him to decide. It had reference to the wells in the vicinity

Jesus Goes to Abram


 used for watering the cattle. As the two tribes were so near each other in this place and their pasturage so extensive, altercations on the subject of the wells were frequent. The host thus addressed Jesus: "Lord, we will not let Thee go until Thou dost decide our quarrel." Jesus' decision was something like this: They should from each side set free an equal num­ber of cattle, and from whichever side the greater number went of their own accord to the wells, that side should have the greater right to the said wells. Jesus drew from this circumstance matter for a pro­foundly significant instruction on the living water that He Himself would give them, and which would belong to those that most earnestly desired it.

The next day Jesus went into Abram, which was in two sections and on two different roads. It was like two separate villages interspersed with numerous gar­dens. The teachers of the school came out of the city to meet Jesus, washed His feet, and escorted Him to the synagogue. On the way thither, He cured many sick and crippled whom He found lying on the street, also some old people languishing from weakness; and some demoniacs who, though not actually furious, were running about muttering to themselves like silly, vicious creatures. They came involuntarily to where Jesus was, again and again repeating the words: "Jesus of Nazareth! Jesus! Prophet! Thou Son of God! Jesus of Nazareth!" Jesus delivered them by a blessing. In the synagogue He taught of the Beatitudes and from some passages of the Prophet Malachias.

There were in Abram Sadducees, Pharisees, and Levites, also two synagogues, for each section of the city had its own. The Sadducees had their own spe­cial synagogue, but Jesus did not teach in it. The Pharisees conducted themselves very politely toward Jesus. His inn was distant, about a good quarter of an hour from the southern end of the city, and was one of those established by Lazarus for His conve­nience. The steward was a married Essenian, a


Life of Jesus Christ

 descendant of the family of that Zacharias who was murdered between the Temple and the altar. His wife was the granddaughter of one of Anne's sisters. They had grown children, and possessed herds and meadows near that field in which Joachim had tar­ried before Mary's Conception. Having little occupa­tion at home, they had come hither to take charge of the inn; later on they were relieved by others. Like all the others, this inn was supplied with all kinds of necessaries, though not with superfluities. It had also its garden, its field, and its well.

There were no pagans in Abram, but down the mountain were some groups of houses inhabited by them.

The Apostles and disciples whom Jesus had left near Cariathaim came back again to the inn, as did also Andrew and Matthew. Thomas and James the Less went instead of them to Achzib in the tribe of Aser, between ten and twelve hours westward. Twenty men accompanied Andrew; some were strangers, and some had been cured and wanted to hear Jesus' instructions. The two Apostles related how things had gone with them, how all had pros­pered with them, namely, healing, exorcising, preach­ing, and baptizing. Many sick and many seeking advice and consolation came to Jesus' inn. Most of them were cripples with deformed limbs, old, ema­ciated people, demoniacs and infirm females, the lat­ter of whom were in a chamber apart. The paralytics whom Jesus had healed the day before wanted to render assistance near the other sick. But He refused their help, saying that He was come to serve and not to be served.

Jesus taught and healed the whole morning, and had besides to settle a dispute concerning the wells. As the confines of Aser, Nephtali, and Zabulon here met, and the people carried on cattle raising, there arose frequent discussions on the subject of the wells. One man complained that another made use of the

Jesus in Abram


 well that his ancestors had dug. He submitted the case to Jesus, saying that he would abide by His deci­sion, though he did not wish to sacrifice lightly the rights of his children. Jesus decided that he should bore for a well in another field, which He pointed out to him. There he would find better and more abun­dant water. Between twenty and thirty Jews were baptized, among them those that had come hither with Andrew and Matthew. As there was here no brook in which they could stand, the neophytes knelt in a circle, and were baptized out of a basin with the hand. After that Jesus went into the city.

They whom Jesus cured in the city were for the most part affected with maladies similar to those already described. Their sufferings must have had some connection with the elevated situation of the city and the occupations in which they were engaged. Jesus took much notice of the children, who were standing in rows on the street corners and public squares, waiting for Him. He questioned them, instructed them, and gave them His blessing. The mothers brought to Him their sick little ones, and He healed them. Numbers of people from the coun­try around had here assembled.

The Pharisees behaved most courteously to Jesus in the synagogue. They resigned the first place to Him, and gave the disciples seats around their Mas­ter, before whom they laid the rolls of Scripture. Jesus taught first on one of the Eight Beatitudes, then on the great persecutions that were to come upon Himself and His followers, and lastly, of the heavy chastisement, the destruction that was to befall Jerusalem and the whole country. The Pharisees, according to their custom, interrupted Him at times to ask for an explanation upon this or that point.

The people of Abram were very industrious. They prepared and sold cotton, of which wide strips mod­erately fine were made; they also wove something like flax. The thick stalk, after being split into fine


Life of Jesus Christ

 strips, was passed over a sharp bone, or wooden instrument in order to detach the fine, long fibers. They were yellowish and shining, and were spun into the tunics worn when walking. It was neither flax nor hemp such as we have. They were engaged also in the manufacture of covers for tents and light screens of wood and matting.

Jesus and the Apostles spent the whole of the fol­lowing morning and a part of the afternoon among some of the houses in the southern quarter of the city, teaching, consoling, reconciling enemies and exhorting them to union, charity, and peace. When a family counted many members, Jesus taught them alone; but, as a general thing, the neighbors were called in. All disputes were adjusted, all differences arranged. These visits of Jesus were mostly made to those houses in which were old, bedridden peo­ple who could not be present at the instructions in the synagogue. Some very old men received Baptism in their beds. Two of them could sit upright only with support, and they were baptized out of a basin.

On the first day of His entrance into Abram, Jesus had instructed a couple for matrimony, and assisted at the nuptials. In another house there were three other couples in expectation of the same. When the parents, the nearest relatives, and some of the Phar­isees were assembled for the ceremony, Jesus instructed them upon marriage. He spoke of the wife's submission in obedience to the Law, which followed the first sin as its consequence, though the husband should honor in his wife the Promise: "The seed of the woman shall crush the head of the ser­pent." But now that the time of fulfillment was draw­ing near, grace took the place of the Law. The wife should now obey through reverence and humility, and the husband command with love and modera­tion. In this instruction Jesus said that the ques­tion as to how sin had entered the world was an unnecessary one. It had come from disobedience, but

Jesus Instructs on Marriage


 salvation was to spring from faith and obedience. He alluded also to divorce which, He said, could never take place, since husband and wife are one in the flesh. If, however, their living together was the occasion of great sins, then indeed they might separate, though without the liberty of marrying again. The Law had been made when the human race was in its infancy and in its early rude state; but now that they were no longer children and that the fullness of time had arrived, the remarrying of divorced spouses was a violation of the eternal law of nature. The privilege of separating was a conces­sion granted when there was danger of offending God and only after a period of serious trial. Jesus delivered this instruction in the beautiful family mansion belonging to the parents of one of the bridal couples. All the young affianced were present, the brides separated from the grooms by a curtain, at one end of which Jesus stood. The parents also stood in order, the fathers on one side, the mothers on the other, while some of the disciples and Pharisees were grouped around Jesus.

This instruction on marriage gave rise to the first occasion for the Pharisees of this place to oppose Jesus. Nevertheless they did not begin their dispute at once, but waited till evening when Jesus was teaching in the synagogue upon the oppression of the Children of Israel in Egypt, and developing some passages from Isaiah. Here they attacked His doc­trine on marriage. With regard to the wife's submis­sion, they found Him too mild, and in respect to the divorce question, too severe. They had, they affirmed, previously consulted numerous writings on that sub­ject, and in spite of His repeated explanations, they could not accept His teaching. Although the dispute was warmly maintained, yet were the limits of deco­rum never overstepped.

Next day Jesus assisted with two of the disciples at the marriage ceremony of the young couples. He


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 even acted as witness. They were married facing the chest that contained the Law and under the open heavens, for they had opened the cupola of the syn­agogue. I saw that both parties allowed some drops of blood from the ring finger to fall into a glass of wine, which they then drank. They exchanged rings and went through other ceremonies. After the reli­gious rites came the celebration of the nuptials begin­ning with dance and banquet and merry-making, to all of which Jesus and the disciples were invited. The festivities took place in the beautiful public hall, which was supported by a colonnade. The bridal cou­ples were not all from the city, but from the neigh­boring localities. They celebrated their nuptials here together, according to an agreement they had made to that effect when the news of Jesus' coming was announced. Some of them, indeed, had been present with their parents at His instructions in Caphar­naum. The people of this region were particularly good-natured and sociable. The weddings of the poorer were now celebrated with those of the rich, greatly to the advantage of the former.

I remarked that the guests brought certain pre­sents, and that Jesus, in His own name and that of the disciples, made the young couples a gift in money. They, in their turn, sent back the money to His inn, and over and above as a present some baskets of nice wedding bread, all which Jesus caused to be distributed to the poor.

The feast began by a bridal dance in slow and measured step. The brides were veiled. The couples stood facing one another, and each bridegroom danced once with each bride. They never touched one another, but grasped the ends of the scarf that they held in their hands. The dance lasted one hour, because each groom danced once with all the brides separately, and then all danced together. Besides this, the step was very slow. Then followed the banquet, at which the men and women were, as usual, separated. The

Bridal Feast


 musicians were children, little boys and girls, with crowns of wool on their heads and wreaths of the same on their arms. They played on flutes, little twisted horns, and other instruments. The banquet­ing tables were so placed that the guests could hear without seeing one another. Jesus went to that of the brides and related a parable, something in the style of that of the ten wise and the ten foolish vir­gins. He explained it in quite a homely way adapted to the occasion, though at the same time His words were full of spiritual signification. He told each how she should acquit herself of the duties of her new, domestic position and what provisions she should lay up for that. His instructions contained a spiri­tual sense, and were suited to the particular char­acter and shortcomings of the one to whom they were addressed.

The banquet over, then came the game of riddles. The enigmas written on slips of paper were thrown on a board that was full of holes, through which they fell into bags. Everyone had to solve the par­ticular enigma that had fallen into his or her bag, or else pay a forfeit. The unsolved riddles were again and again thrown on the board, and the one that was so fortunate as to solve them at last, could claim all that had been previously lost on their account. Jesus looked on during the game, making happy and instructive applications of all that took place.

At the close of the festivities, Jesus and the dis­ciples returned to their inn outside the city, whither they were conducted with lighted torches.

After Jesus had again taught in the synagogue, He visited the school of the boys and youths, whom He questioned and instructed, and then took leave of several people. After the repast, at the time gen­erally spent in promenading on the Sabbath, Jesus with two of His disciples visited a girls' school. It was, besides, a kind of embroidering establishment. The little girls were between the ages of six and


Life of Jesus Christ

 fourteen. There were a great many of them, and today they were in their fine clothes. Two Doctors of the Law were present, and they too were in hol­iday attire, wearing broad girdles around their waists and long maniples on their sleeves. Every day they explained to the children some part of the Law. About ten widows superintended the affairs of the school. Besides instruction in reading the Law, in writing and reckoning, the girls worked at embroidery intended for sale. Through a series of halls were extended long strips of different materials, some an ell in width, some narrower, of the breadth of a broad girdle. The finished end was always rolled up. The pattern from which the young embroiderers worked lay before them painted on a piece of stuff. It was made up of flowers and leaves and little branches and serpentine lines, all forming large figures. The material upon which they worked was woven of very fine wool, something like the light mantles worn by the three Holy Kings, only it was rather stronger in texture and of different colors. The children worked with fine, colored wool, also with silk, yellow being one of the principal colors. They did not use nee­dles, but little hooks. Some also worked on white strips that were narrower than the rest. Others were engaged on girdles, upon which they embroidered certain letters. The little girls stood at their work, one next the other. Their occupation was assigned them according to their age and talent. I saw some of the little ones preparing the threads, others smoothing the wool, and others spinning. All that the embroiderers needed, such as thread and instru­ments, was handed them by the younger ones. On this day they were not working. While the children were showing their work to Jesus as He passed through the halls with the superintendents, the whole business of the institution was shown me in a tableau. I saw also that some of the girls embroi­dered figures, large and small, upon separate pieces

Jesus Goes to Dothain


 of stuff which were private orders intended for sale, and these they showed to Jesus. The heathens ex­changed all kinds of things for them.

Some of the girls lived in the house, of which two stories were given up to the business, and others came from the city. There was also a hall for instruc­tions, and there Jesus taught and catechized the children, who held little rolls in their hands. The smallest stood in front, their mistresses behind them. The children advanced, one row at a time, to Jesus' chair. When He had blessed them and instructed them in familiar similitudes drawn from their work, He left the house, though not until they had presented Him with some strips of stuff and girdles, which they sent to His inn for Him. He after­ward gave them to the different synagogues. Jesus then closed the exercises of the Sabbath in the syn­agogue. The whole country around had poured into the city, which was consequently crowded with peo­ple. Several of the disciples were still going around today among the houses outside the city. Jesus took leave of all present in the synagogue and made a brief recapitulation of what He had already taught them. All were very much touched and wanted Him to remain with them.

Before Jesus left Abram for Dothain, He dispatched two disciples with a message to Caphar­naum, and two others to Cydessa. Andrew and Matthias alone remained with their Master, the oth­ers having scattered to different places.

Dothain was built on the same mountain ridge as Abram, and may have been distant from it south­ward something like five hours. There was here a private inn established for Jesus and His disciples, and there He met Lazarus, who had come thither with two disciples from Jerusalem. The holy women also had journeyed with Lazarus to this inn from Jerusalem.


1. Jesus Teaching in Azanoth. Second Conversion of Magdalen

About an hour to the south of the inn at Dothain lay the little town of Azanoth. It was built on an eminence upon which was a teacher's chair and, in earlier times, it had often been the scene of the Prophets' preaching. Through the activity of the dis­ciples, the report had been spread throughout the whole region that Jesus was about to deliver a great instruction in that place, and in consequence of this report, multitudes were gathered there from all Galilee. Martha, attended by her maid, had jour­neyed to Magdalen in the hope of inducing her to be present at the instruction, but she was received very haughtily by her sister, with whom things had come to the worst. She was, on Martha's arrival, engaged at her toilet, and sent word that she could not speak to her then. Martha awaited her sister's appearance with unspeakable patience, occupying herself meanwhile in prayer. At last the unhappy Magdalen presented herself, her manner haughty, excited, and defiant. She was ashamed of Martha's simple attire. She feared that some of her guests might see her, consequently she requested her to go away as soon as possible. But Martha begging to be allowed to rest in some corner of the house, she and her maid were conducted to a room in one of the side buildings where, either through design or for­getfulness,


Martha and Magdalen


 they were allowed to remain without food or drink. It was then afternoon. Meanwhile Mag­dalen adorned herself for the banquet, at which she was seated on a richly decorated chair, while Martha and her maid were in prayer. After the revelry, Mag­dalen went at last to Martha, taking with her some­thing on a little blue-edged plate and something to drink. She addressed Martha angrily and disdain­fully, her whole demeanor expressive of pride, inso­lence, uneasiness, and interior agitation. Martha, full of humility and affection, invited Magdalen to go with her once more to the great instruction Jesus was going to deliver in the neighborhood. All Mag­dalen's female friends, Martha urged, those whom she had lately met, would be there and very glad to see her. She herself (Magdalen) had already testi­fied to the esteem in which she held Jesus, and she should now gratify Lazarus and herself (Martha) by going once more to hear Him preach. She would not soon again have the opportunity of hearing the won­derful Prophet and at the same time of seeing all her friends in her own neighborhood. She had shown by her anointing of Jesus at the banquet at Gabara that she knew how to honor greatness and majesty. She should now again salute Him whom she had once so nobly and fearlessly honored in public, etc., etc. It would be impossible to say how lovingly Martha spoke to her erring sister, or how patiently she endured her shamefully contemptuous manner. At last Magdalen replied: "I shall go, but not with you! You can go on ahead, for I will not be seen with one so miserably clothed. I shall dress according to my position, and I shall go with my own friends." At these words, the two sisters separated, for it was very late.

Next morning Magdalen sent for Martha to come to her room while she was making her toilet. Martha went, patient as usual and secretly praying that Magdalen might go with her and be converted. Mag­dalen,


Life of Jesus Christ

 clothed in a fine woolen garment, was sit­ting on a low stool, while two of her maids were busily engaged washing her feet and arms and per­fuming them with fragrant water. Her hair was divided into three parts above the ears and at the back of the head, after which it was combed, brushed, oiled, and braided. Over her fine woolen under­garment was put a green robe embroidered with large yellow flowers, and over that again a mantle with folds. Her headdress was a kind of crimped cap that rose high on the forehead. Both her hair and her cap were interwoven with numberless pearls, and in her ears were long pendants. Her sleeves were wide above the elbow, but narrow below and fastened with broad, glittering bracelets. Her robe was plaited. Her under-bodice was open on the breast and laced with shining cords. During the toi­let, Magdalen held in her hand a round, polished mirror. She wore an ornament on her breast. It was covered with gold, and encrusted with cut stones and pearls. Over the narrow-sleeved under dress she wore an upper one with a long flowing train and short, wide sleeves. It was made of changeable vio­let silk, and embroidered with large flowers, some in gold, others in different colors. The braids of her hair were ornamented with roses made of raw silk, and strings of pearls, interwoven with some kind of stiff transparent stuff that stood out in points. Very little of the hair could be seen through its load of ornamentation. It was rolled high around the face. Over this headdress, Magdalen wore a rich hood of fine, transparent material. It fell on the high head­dress in front, shaded the cheeks, and hung low on the shoulders behind.

Martha took leave of her sister, and went to the inn near Damna, in order to tell Mary and the holy women the success she had had in her efforts to persuade Magdalen to be present at the instruction about to be given in Azanoth. With the Blessed Vir­gin



 about a dozen women had come to Damna, among them Anna Cleophas, Susanna Alpheus, Susanna of Jerusalem, Veronica, Johanna Chusa, Mary Marcus, Dina, Maroni, and the Suphanite.

Jesus, accompanied by six Apostles and a num­ber of the disciples, started from the inn at Dothain for Azanoth. On the way, He met the holy women coming from Damna. Lazarus was among Jesus' com­panions on this occasion.

After Martha's departure, Magdalen was very much tormented by the devil, who wanted to pre­vent her going to Jesus' instruction. She would have followed his suggestions, were it not for some of her guests who had agreed to go with her to Azanoth, to witness what they called a great show. Magdalen and her frivolous, sinful companions rode on asses to the inn of the holy women near the Baths of Bethulia. Magdalen's splendid seat, along with cush­ions and rugs for the others, followed packed on asses.

Next morning Magdalen, again arrayed in her most wanton attire and surrounded by her companions, made her appearance at the place of instruction, which was about an hour from the inn at which she was stopping. With noise and bustle, loud talk and bold staring about, they took their places under an open tent far in front of the holy women. There were some men of their own stamp in their party. They sat upon cushions and rugs and upholstered chairs, all in full view, Magdalen in front. Their coming gave rise to general whispering and murmurs of dis­approbation, for they were even more detested and despised in these quarters than in Gabara. The Phar­isees especially, who knew of her first remarkable conversion at Gabara and of her subsequent relapse into her former disorders, were scandalized and ex­pressed their indignation at her daring to appear in such an assembly.

Jesus, after healing many sick, began His long and


Life of Jesus Christ

 severe discourse. The details of His sermon, I can­not now recall, but I know that He cried woe upon Capharnaum, Bethsaida, and Corozain. He said also that the Queen of Saba had come from the South to hear the wisdom of Solomon, but here was One greater than Solomon. And lo, the wonder! Children that had never yet spoken, babes in their mothers' arms, cried out from time to time during the instruction: "Jesus of Nazareth! Holiest of Prophets! Son of David! Son of God!" Which words caused many of the hearers, and among them Magdalen, to tremble with fear. Making allusion to Magdalen, Jesus said that when the devil has been driven out and the house has been swept, he returns with six other demons, and rages worse than before. These words terrified Magdalen. After Jesus had in this way touched the hearts of many, He turned successively to all sides and com­manded the demon to go out of all that sighed for deliverance from his thralldom, but that those who wished to remain bound to the devil should depart and take him along with them. At this command, the possessed cried out from all parts of the circle: "Jesus, Thou Son of God!"—and here and there peo­ple sank to the ground unconscious.

Magdalen also, from her splendid seat upon which she had attracted all eyes, fell in violent convul­sions. Her companions in sin applied perfumes as restoratives, and wanted to carry her away. Desir­ing to remain under the empire of the evil one, they were themselves glad to profit by the opportunity to retire from the scene. But just then some persons near her cried out: "Stop, Master! Stop! This woman is dying." Jesus interrupted His discourse to reply: "Place her on her chair! The death she is now dying is a good death, and one that will vivify her!" After some time another word of Jesus pierced her to the heart, and she again fell into convulsions, during which dark forms escaped from her. A crowd gath­ered round her in alarm, while her own immediate

Magdalen Deeply Affected


 party tried once again to bring her to herself. She was soon able to resume her seat on her beautiful chair, and then she tried to look as if she had suf­fered only an ordinary fainting spell. She had now become the object of general attention, especially as many other possessed back in the crowd had, like her, fallen in convulsions, and afterward rose up freed from the evil one. But when for the third time Magdalen fell down in violent convulsions, the ex­citement increased, and Martha hurried forward to her. When she recovered consciousness, she acted like one bereft of her senses. She wept passionately, and wanted to go to where the holy women were sitting. The frivolous companions with whom she had come hither held her back forcibly, declaring that she should not play the fool, and they at last succeeded in getting her down the mountain. Lazarus, Martha, and others who had followed her, now went forward and led her to the inn of the holy women. The crowd of worldlings who had accompanied Mag­dalen had already made their way off.

Before going down to His inn, Jesus healed many blind and sick. Later on, He taught again in the school, and Magdalen was present. She was not yet quite cured, but profoundly impressed, and no longer so wantonly arrayed. She had laid aside her super­fluous finery, some of which was made of a fine scal­loped material like pointed lace, and so perishable that it could be worn only once. She was now veiled. Jesus in His instruction appeared again to speak for her special benefit and, when He fixed upon her His penetrating glance, she fell once more into uncon­sciousness and another evil spirit went out of her. Her maids bore her from the synagogue to where she was received by Martha and Mary, who took her back to the inn. She was now like one distracted. She cried and wept. She ran through the public streets saying to all she met that she was a wicked crea­ture, a sinner, the refuse of humanity. The holy women


Life of Jesus Christ

 had the greatest trouble to quiet her. She tore her garments, disarranged her hair, and hid her face in the folds of her veil. When Jesus returned to His inn with the disciples and some of the Pharisees, and while they were taking some refreshments standing, Magdalen escaped from the holy women, ran with streaming hair and uttering loud lamentations, made her way through the crowd, cast herself at Jesus' feet, weeping and moaning, and asked if she might still hope for salvation. The Pharisees and disciples, scandalized at the sight, said to Jesus that He should no longer suffer this reprobate woman to create dis­turbance everywhere, that He should send her away once for all. But Jesus replied: "Permit her to weep and lament! Ye know not what is passing in her”—and He turned to her with words of consolation. He told her to repent from her heart, to believe and to hope, for that she should soon find peace. Then He bade her depart with confidence. Martha, who had followed with her maids, took her again to her inn. Magdalen did nothing but wring her hands and lament. She was not yet quite freed from the power of the evil one, who tortured and tormented her with the most frightful remorse and despair. There was no rest for her—she thought herself forever lost.

Upon her request, Lazarus went to Magdalum in order to take charge of her property, and to dissolve the ties she had there formed. She owned near Azan­oth and in the surrounding country fields and vine­yards which Lazarus, on account of her extravagance, had previously sequestered.

To escape the great crowd that had gathered here, Jesus went that night with His disciples into the neighborhood of Damna, where there was an inn, as well as a lovely eminence upon which stood a chair for teaching. Next morning when the holy women came thither accompanied by Magdalen, they found Jesus already encompassed by people seeking His aid. When His departure became known, the crowds



 awaiting Him at Azanoth, as well as new visitors, came streaming to Damna, and fresh bands contin­ued to arrive during the whole instruction.

Magdalen, crushed and miserable, now sat among the holy women. Jesus inveighed severely against the sin of impurity, and said that it was that vice that had called down fire upon Sodom and Gomor­rha. But He spoke of the mercy of God also and of the present time of pardon, almost conjuring His hearers to accept the grace offered them. Thrice dur­ing this discourse did Jesus rest His glance upon Magdalen, and each time I saw her sinking down and dark vapors issuing from her. The third time, the holy women carried her away. She was pale, weak, annihilated as it were, and scarcely recog­nizable. Her tears flowed incessantly. She was com­pletely transformed, and passionately sighed to confess her sins to Jesus and receive pardon. The instruction over, Jesus went to a retired place, whither Mary herself and Martha led Magdalen to Him. She fell on her face weeping at His feet, her hair flowing loosely around her. Jesus comforted her. When Mary and Martha had withdrawn, she cried for pardon, confessed her numerous transgressions, and asked over and over: "Lord, is there still sal­vation for me?" Jesus forgave her sins, and she implored Him to save her from another relapse. He promised so to do, gave her His blessing, and spoke to her of the virtue of purity, also of His Mother, who was pure without stain. He praised Mary highly in terms I had never before heard from His lips, and commanded Magdalen to unite herself closely to her and to seek from her advice and consolation. When Jesus and Magdalen rejoined the holy women, Jesus said to them: "She has been a great sinner, but for all future time, she will be the model of penitents."

Magdalen, through her passionate emotion, her grief and her tears, was no longer like a human being, but like a shadow tottering from weakness.


Life of Jesus Christ

 She was, however, calm, though still weeping silent tears that exhausted her. The holy women comforted her with many marks of affection, while she in turn craved pardon of each. As they had to set out for Naim and Magdalen was too weak to accompany them, Martha, Anna Cleophas, and Mary the Suphan­ite went with her to Damna, in order to rest that night and follow the others next morning. The holy women went through Cana to Naim.

Jesus and the disciples went across through the valley of the Baths of Bethulia, four or five hours farther on, to Gathepher, a large city that lay on a height between Cana and Sephoris. They passed the night outside the city at an inn that was near a cave called "John's Cave."

2. Jesus in Gathepher, Kisloth, and Nazareth

Next morning Jesus approached Gathepher. The schoolmasters and Pharisees came out to meet Him and bid Him welcome, though making all kinds of remonstrances, and imploring Him not to disturb the peace of their city. They especially insisted upon His discountenancing the crowding around Him and clamoring of women and children. He might, they said, teach quietly in their synagogue, but public disturbance they did not want to see. Jesus replied in grave and severe words that it was precisely for those that cried after Him, longed for Him, that He had come, and He reproached them for their dis­simulation. The Pharisees had, in fact, on hearing that Jesus was coming, issued an order that the women should not appear on the streets with their children nor should they go to meet the Nazarene with clamorous greeting. The cry of "Son of God," "Christ," was, they said, positively preposterous and scandalous, since everyone in this part of the coun­try knew full well whence Jesus came, who were His

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

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