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

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The Village of Leppe

391

 to Sarepta and his being helped by the widow, of his confounding the idolaters on Carmel, and of the uprising of the cloud by whose rain all things were refreshed. He compared this rain to Baptism, and admonished His hearers to reform their lives and not, like Achab and Jezabel, continue in sin and dryness of heart after the rain of Baptism. Jesus alluded also to Segola, that pious pagan woman of Egypt, who settled at Abila and performed so many good works that she at last found favor in the sight of God. Then He showed them how the pagans ought to strive to practice virtue that thereby they might attract upon themselves divine grace, for His pagan listeners knew something of Elias and Segola.

After the Baptism of the bridegrooms, Jesus and His followers, along with all the bridal parties and the rabbis, were invited by the Jewish Doctor of the place to an entertainment at the village of Leppe, west of Mallep. The daughter of this Doctor was the bride of a pagan philosopher of Salamis, who had there heard Jesus preach and received circumcision. The way to Leppe ran in a gently undulating course through beautiful walks like those of a garden. Near Leppe ran the highroad to the little port Cerinia, about two miles off. The other road, upon which Jesus spoke with the travelling Arabs, led to the haven of Lapithus more to the west. The pagans of Leppe occu­pied a row of houses built along the highway, and carried on commerce and other business. The Jews lived apart and had a beautiful synagogue. I saw in the pagan gardens idols like swathed puppets and, in an open square a short distance from the road and surrounded by a hedge, an idol larger than a man and with a head bearing some resemblance to that of an ox. Between the horns was something that looked like a little sheaf. The figure was squatting on its legs, its short hands dangling before it.

The entertainment at Leppe consisted of a sim­ple meal of birds, fish, honey, bread, and fruits. The

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 brides and bridesmaids, veiled, sat by themselves at the end of the table. They wore long, striped dresses with wreaths of colored wool and tiny feathers on their heads.

Both during and after the meal, Jesus spoke of the sanctity of marriage. He insisted on the point of each man's having but one wife, for they had here the custom of separating on trifling grounds and marrying again. On this account, He spoke very stren­uously, and related the parables of the wedding feast, the vineyard, and the king's son. The groomsmen invited the passersby to share the feast and listen to Jesus' teaching. The three cured boys played on their flutes, while little girls sang and played on various instruments.

It was already dark when Jesus and His disciples returned to Mallep. From the heights along the road, the view was exceedingly beautiful. One could behold the sea, whose surface reflected a most wonderful luster. Great preparations had been made in Mallep for the nuptials of the seven bridal couples. The whole city appeared to be taking part in the feast. One would have said that all the inhabitants con­stituted one great brotherhood. No poor were to be seen, as they were lodged and provided for in a sep­arate part of the city.

Mallep was built very regularly. It looked like a pancake divided into five equal parts. The five streets that divided the city converged toward the center where was an elevated place ornamented by a foun­tain, around which were trees and terraces. Four of these quarters, or city wards, were cut through by two cross streets, which ran in a circle around the fountain, the central point of the place. In one of these circular streets was a house in which child­less widows and aged women lived together at the expense of the community, kept school, and took care of orphans. There was another house here also for lodging and entertaining poor strangers and trav­elers.

Wedding Festivities

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 The fifth quarter comprised the public build­ings. It was cut into halves by the aqueduct that conducted the water to the fountain. In one half were the public marketplace, several inns, and an asylum for the possessed, who were not permitted here to go at large. Jesus had already cured some of them who had been led to Him with the rest of the sick. In the other half stood the public house used for feasts and weddings, the top of its roof being almost on a level with the fountain near which it was. Its entrance was not facing the fountain, but on the side opposite. From the court in front, a walk about a hundred feet wide and bordered by green trees ran down through the cross streets to the fore­court of the synagogue. It was as long as about two thirds of one of the five streets. There were other avenues leading thither from the cross streets, but they were open to the people only on feast days and by virtue of special permission.

Now on this day of the marriage festivities, the whole morning was spent in adorning the public feast-house. Meanwhile Jesus and His disciples retired to the inn whither came to Him men and women, some seeking instruction, others advice and consolation, for in consequence of their connection with the heathens, these people often had scruples and anxieties. The young affianced were longer with Jesus than the others. He spoke with the maidens alone and singly. It was something like confession and instruction. He questioned them upon their mo­tives in entering the married state, whether they had reflected upon their posterity and the salvation of the same, which was a fruit springing from the fear of God, chastity, and temperance. Jesus found the young brides not instructed on these points.

In the public avenues, arches were erected, tapes­try, wreaths of flowers, and garlands of fruits hung around, and steps and platforms raised, that the spec­tators might gaze from them down into the pleasure

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 grounds below. In front of the synagogue especially, an open arbor was formed of numerous beautiful lit­tle bushes and plants in boxes. Into the courts and bowers around the feast-house, I saw people trans­porting all things, viands, etc., necessary for the entertainment. Whoever brought from the city some­thing for this end, had a right to take part in the feast. The viands were brought in a kind of long barrow, which served at the same time as tables. The various dishes, bread, little jugs, etc., stood in them and, from little side openings, could be drawn out by the guests as they reclined before them. The upper surface of the barrow was covered with a cloth, from which they ate. These barrows, or hand-car­riages, were woven baskets, long and shallow, pro­vided with a cover and side openings, as I have said, by which to get out the food. The guests reclined on mats and were supported by cushions. All these things were prepared and transported hither from various quarters.

Under the nuptial bower, a tapestried canopy was raised. Jesus and His disciples entered by special invitation. As among the bridegrooms some were converted pagans, several pagan philosophers and others of their friends took up the position assigned them not far off. The brides and bridegrooms arrived from different quarters. They were preceded by youths and maidens crowned with flowers and play­ing on musical instruments, accompanied by the bridesmen and bridesmaids, and surrounded by their relatives, who escorted them into the nuptial bower. The bridegrooms wore long mantles and white shoes; on their cincture and the hem of their tunic were certain letters, and in their hands they carried a yellow scarf. The brides appeared in very beautiful, long, white woolen dresses embroidered with lines and flowers of gold. Their hair (some of them were golden-haired) was in the back woven into a net with pearls and gold thread and fastened at the

Nuptial Ceremony

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 ends with a riband. The veil fell over the face and down the back. On the head was a metal band with three points and a high, bent piece in front upon which the veil could be raised. They also wore lit­tle crowns of feathers or silk. Several of the veils glistened, as if made of fine silk or similar mater­ial. In their hands they carried long, golden flam­beaux, like lamps without feet. They grasped them with a scarf, either black or of some other dark color. The brides likewise wore white shoes or sandals.

During the nuptial ceremony, which was per­formed by the rabbis, I remarked various rites that I cannot recall in order. Rolls of parchment were read—the marriage contract, I think—and prayers. The bridal couple stepped under the canopy; the rel­atives cast some grains of wheat after them and uttered a blessing. The rabbi pricked both bride and bridegroom on the little finger and let some drops of the blood of each fall into a goblet of wine, which they then drank together. Then the bridegroom handed the goblet to those behind him, and it was put into a basin of water. A little of the blood was allowed to run into the palm of the hand of each. Then each reached the hand, the bride to the groom, the groom to the bride, and the bloodstained spot was rubbed. A fine white thread was then bound around the wound and rings were exchanged. I think that each had two, one for the little finger, the other large enough for the forefinger. After that an embroi­dered cover, or scarf, was laid over the head of the newly wedded couple. The bride took into her right hand the flambeau with the black scarf, which for a time she had resigned to her bridesmaid, and placed it in the right hand of her husband. He then passed it to the left hand and returned it to his bride, who likewise received it in her left hand, and then once more returned it to her bridesmaid. There was also a cup of wine blessed, out of which all the relatives sipped. The marriage ceremony over, the bridesmaids

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removed from the brides their headdress, and cov­ered them with a veil. It was then that I saw that the large net was woven of false hair.

Three rabbis presided at the nuptials, the whole ceremony lasting three hours. Then the brides with their attendant trains went through the embowered walk to the feast house, followed by their husbands amid the good wishes and congratulations of the bystanders. After taking some refreshments, the bridal couples went to the pleasure garden near the aqueduct, there to amuse themselves.

That evening an instruction especially intended for the newly married was given in the synagogue. After the rabbis had spoken, they requested Jesus also to address some words of advice to the young people.

Next day the seven bridal couples, together with all the guests and attended by musicians, went again to the feast house. The disciples of Jesus also were present, but the only part they took in the merry­making was that of server. The brides and grooms were presented with pastry and fruit on beautiful dishes—gilded apples stuck with gilded flowers and herbs. Then came bands of children singing and play­ing upon instruments. They were little strangers who made their living in this way; after being rewarded, they withdrew. After that the three little musicians that had been cured by Jesus made their appearance, along with several other choirs from the city, and soon a dance in honor of the occasion was performed. It took place in a long, four-cornered arbor upon a soft and gently swaying floor. It looked as if flexible planks of some kind were laid upon a thick carpet of moss. The dancers stood in four double rows, back to back. Each pair danced, changing hands by means of a scarf, from the first place of the first row to the last of the fourth, all being soon in a ser­pentine movement. There was no hopping, but a graceful swaying and balancing, as if the body had

Wedding Festivities

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 no bones. The brides, as also all the other women, had their veils raised on the golden hook of their headdress. After the dance all took refreshments which had been placed on stands in each corner of the arbor. Again the music sounded, and all filed out into the garden near the fountain.

Here were exhibited, in the arbors and on the mossy sward, various games of running, leaping, and throwing at a mark. The men played by themselves, as did also the women. Little prizes were awarded and fines imposed, in the shape of money, girdles, small pieces of stuff, scarves for the neck, etc. Who­ever had nothing with which to pay his fine, sent to purchase it from a peddler who, with his goods, had taken his stand not far off. Lastly, all the prizes and fines were handed over to the Elder, who dis­tributed them to the poor among the lookers-on. The brides and maidens played games in circles and in rows. Their dresses were raised to the knees, their lower limbs bound with strips of white, their veils thrown up and wound around the head back to the forehead and ear ornaments. They looked very beau­tiful and nimble. Each caught hold of her neighbor's girdle with the left hand, and thus formed a ring which they kept constantly revolving. With the right hand they aimed at throwing to one another and catching a yellow apple. Whoever failed to catch in her turn had to stoop, the circle still revolving, to pick it up from the ground. At last, they played in company with the men. They sat in opposite rows and threw into furrows very ripe yellow fruits, which when they met and smashed, gave rise to shouts of laughter. Toward evening, all returned in festal pro­cession. The newly married rode on asses gaily adorned for the occasion, the brides sitting on side­saddles. Musicians led the way and all followed, rejoicing, to the feast house at which an entertain­ment was awaiting them.

The bridegrooms went to the synagogue and made

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 before the rabbis a vow to observe continence dur­ing certain festivals, binding themselves to some penance if they broke it. They promised besides to watch together on Pentecost night and spend it in prayer. From the feast house, the bridal couples were conducted to their future homes. The party that had brought the house as a dowry, stood on the thresh­old while the relatives led the other thither from the feast house and three times made the rounds of the premises. The wedding gifts were borne in cer­emoniously, and the poor received their share.

18. Feast of Pentecost. Jesus Teaches on Baptism

Mallep was now astir in preparation for the com­ing feast: all were busy cleaning, scouring, and bathing. The synagogue and many of the dwellings were adorned with green branches and garlands of flowers, and the ground was strewn with blossoms. The synagogue was fumigated with delicious per­fumes, and the rolls of Sacred Scripture were wreathed with flowers.

In the special halls set apart for the purpose in the forecourt of the synagogue, the Whitsuntide loaves were baked, the flour having been previously blessed by the rabbis. Two of them were made from the wheat of that year's harvest. For the others, as also for the large, thin cakes (which were indented, that they might be more easily broken into pieces), the flour had been ordered from Judea. It was ground from the wheat raised in the field upon which Abra­ham had participated in the sacrifice of Melchisedech. The flour had been transported hither in long boxes. It was called the Seed of Abraham. The baking of these loaves and cakes, in which there was no leaven, had to be finished by four o'clock. There was still another kind of flour there, as well as herbs, all of which received a blessing.

Pentecost

399

On the morning of this day Jesus gave an instruc­tion at His inn to the baptized pagans and aged Jews. He took for His subjects the Feast of Pente­cost, the Law given upon Sinai, and Baptism, all of which He treated in deeply significant terms. He touched upon many passages relating to them in the Prophets. He spoke also of the holy bread blessed at Pentecost, of Melchisedech's sacrifice, and of that foretold by Malachias. He said that the time for the institution of that Sacrifice was drawing near, that when this feast would again come round, a new grace would have been added to Baptism, and that all the baptized who would then believe in the Consoler of Israel, would share in that grace. As difficulties and objections were here raised by some who did not wish to understand His teaching, Jesus chose about fifty whom He knew to be ripe for His instructions, and sent away the others, intending to prepare them later. Taking with Him those that He had selected, He left the city, went to the aqueduct nearby, and there continued His instruction. I saw them on the way sometimes standing still and with many ges­ticulations putting questions and raising objections; and I saw Jesus, His forefinger raised, frequently explaining something to them. In talking, they gesticulated freely with hands and fingers. As Jesus insisted upon the great grace, upon the salvation that would be conferred upon man by Baptism, and by Baptism alone, after the consummation of the Sacrifice of which He had spoken, some of them asked whether their present Baptism possessed the same efficacy. Jesus answered, yes, if they perse­vered in faith and accepted that Sacrifice; for even the Patriarchs, who had not received that Baptism, but who had sighed after it and had had a presen­timent of it in the Spirit, received grace through both that Sacrifice and that Baptism.

Jesus spoke, too, of the advantages of fervent prayer during this Feast of Pentecost, which devout

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 Jews of all times had observed and upon which they conjured God for the promised Consoler of Israel.

Jesus told them many other deeply significant things which I cannot now rightly repeat. I saw that they sent, from the wedding feast, food to Jesus and His disciples at the inn to which He had returned with them toward the Sabbath.

The heathens from Salamis started for home, and Jesus with the disciples accompanied them part of the way. He warned them not to return again to their worship of idols, and not to engage in busi­ness speculations, but as soon as possible to leave their country, for in it the new way would be full of obstacles for them. He directed them to different regions, among which I can recall Jerusalem, the Jewish district between Hebron and Gaza, and that near Jericho. Jesus recommended them to go to Lazarus, John Mark, the nephews of Zachary, and to the parents of Manahem, the disciple whose sight had been restored.

Before the commencement of the Sabbath exer­cises, the rabbis were solemnly conducted to the syn­agogue by the school children; the brides, by their female attendants; and the bridegrooms, by the young men. Jesus also went thither with His disciples. Divine service of this day consisted in no special explana­tion of Scripture, only in singing and alternate read­ing and praying. The consecrated bread was divided into little pieces in the synagogue. It was regarded as a remedy against sickness and witchcraft. Many of the Jews, among others the seven newly married men, spent the night in the synagogue in prayer. Many of the inhabitants of the city went in bands of ten or twelve out to the gardens and hills of the country around, and there spent the whole night in prayer. They carried a torch on the end of a pole. The disciples and baptized pagans thus passed the night, but Jesus went alone to pray. The women too were gathered together in the houses for the same

Moses and the Israelites

401

 purpose. On the day of the feast itself, the whole morning was spent in the synagogue, praying, singing, and reading the Holy Scriptures. They made, like­wise, a kind of procession. The rabbis, with Jesus at their head and followed by crowds of the people, went processionally through the halls around the syna­gogue, paused several times at points that look toward different directions of the world, and pro­nounced a benediction over every region of land and sea. After an intermission of about two hours, they again returned to the synagogue in the afternoon, and the alternate reading and other exercises were resumed. At some of the pauses, Jesus asked: "Do ye understand this?" and then He explained different passages for them. The portions of Holy Scripture read were those from the Departure of the Israelites through the Red Sea to the giving of the Law upon Sinai. During the reading, I saw these events in detail, and of them I can recall the following.

Vision of the Passage of the Red Sea

The Israelites were encamped on a very low strip of land, about an hour long, on the shore of the Red Sea, which was here very wide. In it were several islands of half an hour in length and from seven to fifteen minutes in breadth. Pharao and his army at first sought the Israelites further up the shore, and found them at last through information given by their scouts. The king thought they would easily fall into his hands, flanked, as they were, by the sea. The Egyptians were very much incensed against them, on account of their carrying off with them their sacred vessels, many of their idols, and the myster­ies of their religion. When the Israelites became aware of the approach of the Egyptians, they were terror stricken. But Moses prayed and bade them trust in God and follow him. At that moment the pillar of cloud arose behind the Israelites, making so dense

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 a veil that the Egyptians entirely lost sight of them. Then Moses stepped to the shore with his staff (which was forked at the bottom and had a knob on the upper end), prayed, and struck the water. Then appeared before each wing of the army, right and left, as if springing out of the sea, two great lumi­nous pillars, which increased in brilliancy toward the top and terminated in a tongue of flame. At the same time, a strong wind parted the waters along the whole of the army (it was about an hour broad), and Moses proceeded by a gently inclining declivity down to the bed of the sea. The whole army fol­lowed, at least fifty men abreast. The ground was, at first setting out, somewhat slippery, but soon it became like the softest meadowland, like a mossy carpet. The pillars of fire lit the way before them, and all was as bright as day. But the most beauti­ful feature of the whole scene were the islands over which they shed their light. They looked like float­ing gardens full of the most magnificent fruits and all kinds of animals, which latter the Israelites col­lected and drove along before them. Without this precaution, they would have been in want of food on the other side of the sea.

The waters were not divided on either side like perpendicular walls, for they flowed off more in the form of terraces. The Hebrews went forward with hurrying, sliding steps, balancing themselves like one speeding downhill. It was toward midnight when they entered the bed of the river. The Ark contain­ing Joseph's relics was carried in the center of the fleeing host. The pillars of light rose up out of the water. They appeared to be constantly rotating, and passed not over the islands, but around them. At a certain height they were lost in a brilliant luster. The waters did not open all at once, but before Moses' steps, leaving a wedge-formed space until the pas­sage was completed. Near the islands, one could see by the light of the pillars the trees and fruits mir­rored

Jesus Consoles and Counsels

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 in the waters. Another wonderful thing was that the Israelites crossed in three hours, whereas it would have naturally taken nine hours to do so. Higher up the shore, about six to nine hours dis­tant, stood a city which was afterward destroyed by the waters.

About three o'clock, Pharao carne down to the shore, but was again repulsed by the fog. Soon, how­ever, he discovered the ford and rolled down into it with his magnificent war chariot, after which hur­ried his entire army. And now Moses, already on the opposite shore, commanded the waters to return to their original position. Then the fog and the fire uniting to blind and perplex the Egyptians, all per­ished miserably in the waves. Next morning upon beholding their deliverance, the Israelites chanted the praises of God. On the opposite shore, the two pillars of light united again into one of fire. I can­not do justice to the beauty of this vision.

Next day Jesus went with His disciples into two quarters of the city which He had not yet visited, and to which several persons had sent to invite Him. He cured some invalids, men and women, who lay off by themselves in cells annexed to the courts of the houses, exhorted and consoled many others afflicted with melancholy and whom some secret trou­ble was consuming. All things were so well regulated in Mallep that every misfortune by which one's honor might be wounded, could be kept secret. Several women asked Jesus how they should act. Their hus­bands were unfaithful to them, and yet, on account of the public scandal and severe punishment attached to such crimes, they were timid in laying a charge against them. Jesus consoled them and counseled them to patience. He told them to reflect as to whether they would have their husbands warned by Himself or by His disciples, strangers in those parts, that thereby suspicion of having lodged a complaint might not fall upon them and the affair might not become

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 known throughout the country. Many children were brought to Jesus in the different houses, to receive from Him a benediction.

That afternoon, He went to a large house where, in a hall back of the court and separated from one another, numbers of distinguished men lay sick. On the other side of the court lay the women. Among these poor invalids were some melancholy and quite inconsolable, whose tears flowed unceasingly. Jesus cured about twenty of them, prescribed what they should eat and drink, and sent them to the baths. He afterward caused them all to be assembled together and taught first the women, and then the men. This lasted almost till evening, when He went to the synagogue.

19. Jesus Delivers a More Severe Lecture in the Synagogue

The Scripture lessons of this day treated of God's curse upon those that transgressed His commands, of tithes, of idolatry, of the sanctification of the Sab­bath, etc.1 Jesus' words were so earnest and severe that many of His audience, penetrated with grief, sobbed and wept. The synagogue was open on all sides, and His voice rang out clear and pure like unto no other human voice. He inveighed especially against them that relied upon creatures and looked for help and comfort from human beings. He spoke of the diabolical influence of the adulterer and adul­teress over each other, of the malediction of the in­jured spouses which falls upon the children of such intercourse, but whose guilt rests upon the adul­terous parties. The people were so strongly affected that many of them, at the close of the discourse, exclaimed: "Ah, He speaks as if the Day of Judg­ment were already nigh!" He spoke likewise against

1. Lev. 26 et Jer. 17.

Jesus Exhorting and Reconciling

405

 pride, against subtle erudition and the close inves­tigation of trifles. By this He alluded to the doings of the great school of Jewish learning here estab­lished for such Jews as would afterward add to their store of knowledge by travelling.

After this castigatory discourse many persons sigh­ing for relief and reconciliation with God, sought Jesus at His inn. Among them were learned men and young students belonging to the school of the place seeking advice as to how they should pursue their studies, and others troubled in mind on account of their constant communication with the pagans with whom they carried on trade, though from a kind of necessity as their lands and workshops adjoined. The husbands of the women that had com­plained of them to Jesus were also among the num­ber, as well as others guilty of similar offenses, but against whom no charge had been laid. They pre­sented themselves individually as sinners before Jesus, cast themselves at His feet, confessed their guilt, and implored pardon. What troubled them espe­cially was the thought that the malediction of their wives might fall upon the illegitimate, though oth­erwise innocent, children, and they asked whether this curse could not be counteracted or annulled. Jesus answered that it might be annulled by the sincere charity and pardon of the one that had invoked it, joined to the contrition and penance of the guilty party. Besides this, the malediction of which I speak does not extend to the soul, for the Almighty Father has said: "All souls are Mine"; but it affects the body, the flesh, and temporal goods. The flesh is, however, the house, the instrument of the soul, consequently the flesh lying under such a curse causes great distress and embarrassment to the soul already oppressed with the burden of the body received with life. I saw on this occasion that the malediction varies in its baneful effects accord­ing to the intention of the one that invokes it and

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 the disposition of the child itself. Many subject to convulsions, many possessed by the demon, owe their condition to this source. The illegitimate children themselves I generally see possessed of remarkable advantages of nature, though of an order earthly and prone to sin. They have in them something in common with those that, in early times, sprang from the union of the sons of God with the daughters of men. They are often beautiful, cunning, very reserved in disposition, agitated by eager desires and, with­out wishing it to appear, they would like to draw all things to themselves. They bear in their flesh the stamp of their origin, and frequently their soul goes thereby to perdition.

After hearing and exhorting these sinners indi­vidually' Jesus bade them send their wives to Him. When they came, He related to each one separately the repentance of her husband, exhorted her to heart­felt forgiveness and entire forgetfulness of the past, and urged her to recall the malediction she had pro­nounced. If, He told them, they did not act sincerely in this circumstance, the guilt of their husband's relapse would fall upon them. The women wept and thanked and promised everything. Jesus reconciled several of these couples right away that same day. He made them come before Him, interrogated them anew, as is customary at the marriage ceremony, joined their hands together, covered them with a scarf, and blessed them. The wife of one of the faith­less husbands solemnly revoked the malediction that she had pronounced upon the illegitimate children. The mother of the poor little ones, who were being raised in the Jewish asylum for children, was a pagan. Standing before Jesus, the injured but now forgiving wife placed her hand crosswise with that of her husband over the children's heads, revoked the malediction, and blessed the children. Jesus imposed upon those guilty of adultery, as penance, alms, fasts, continence, and prayer. He who had

Jesus Exhorting and Warning

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 sinned with the pagan was completely transformed. He very humbly invited Jesus to dine with him. Jesus accepted and went, accompanied by His dis­ciples. A couple of the rabbis also were invited and they, as well as the whole city, marveled at the cour­tesy, for their host was known as a frivolous, worldly man who did not trouble himself much about priests and prophets. He was rich and owned landed prop­erty cultivated by servants. His house was near that hospital in which Jesus had cured the victims of melancholy. During the meal two of the little daugh­ters of the family entered the dining hall, and poured costly perfume over Jesus' head.

After dinner Jesus and all the people went to the synagogue for the closing exercises of the Sabbath. Jesus resumed His discourse of the day before, though not in terms so severe. He told His audience that God would not abandon them that call upon Him. He ended by dilating on their attachment to their houses and possessions, and exhorted them, if they put faith in His teaching, to forsake the great occa­sion of sin in which they were living among the pagans, and among those of their own belief to prac­tice truth in the Promised Land. Judea, He said, was large enough to harbor and support them, although at first they might have to live under tents. It was better to give up all than to lose their soul on ac­count of their idolatry, that is, their worship of their fine houses and possessions, better to give up all than to sin through love of their own convenience. That the Kingdom of God might come to them, it was nec­essary that they should go to meet it. They should not put their trust in their dwellings in a pleasant land, solid and magnificent though they might be, for the hand of God would fall suddenly upon them, scattering them in all directions, and overturning their mansions. He knew very well, He continued, that their virtues were more apparent than real, that they had no other basis than tepidity and the love

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 of their own ease. They hankered after the wealth of the pagans and sought to win it by their usury, traffic, mining, and marriages, but the day would come when they would see themselves stripped of all their ill-gotten gains. Jesus warned them like­wise against such marriages with the heathens as those in which both parties, indifferent to religion, enter into wedlock merely for the sake of property and money, greater freedom and the gratification of passion. All were deeply moved and impressed by Jesus' words, and many begged leave to be allowed to speak with Him in private.

The whole of the following day and even until late at night, was Jesus engaged visiting the different families in their homes, admonishing, consoling, and pardoning. Two women presented themselves before Him lamenting to Him over their illegitimate chil­dren. Jesus sent for their husbands, forgave the guilty parties, and united them once more to their lawful spouses. The children also—without understanding the ceremony, however—were received by the hus­bands and blessed as their own. It was harder for the wife to admit among her own the illegitimate children of her husband; she had to gain a great victory over herself. But all on this occasion did it so sincerely that they forced, so to say, their hus­bands to love them more and to bless children of their wives not their own. And so a general recon­ciliation was brought about, and scandal avoided.

Many sought comfort from Jesus on the score of His energetic admonition to them to emigrate from those pagan lands. Jesus' teaching indeed pleased them and, looking upon themselves as Jews sepa­rated from their people, they felt greatly honored by His visit to them, but they did not like the idea of following Him, of leaving their homes. Here they were rich and comfortable, owned a city built by themselves, had a share in a mine, and carried on extensive trade. They enriched themselves by means

Jesus Goes to the Mines

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 of the pagans. They were not tormented by the Phar­isees, not oppressed by Pilate. They were, as regards this life, in a most agreeable position, but their con­nection with the pagans was highly censurable. Pagan property and workshops were in their neigh­borhood. The pagan girls liked well to unite in mar­riage with the Jews, because they were not treated by them in so slavish a manner as by those of their own religion, and so they enticed the young Israelites in every way, by presents, attentions, and all kinds of allurements. When converted to Judaism, it was not from conviction, but from sordid views, and so insubordination and tepidity easily made their way into the family. The Jews of Mallep were besides less simple-hearted and hospitable than those of Palestine, their social surroundings were more stud­ied and refined, their Jewish origin not so pure; con­sequently they brought forward all kinds of scruples and difficulties against Jesus' counsel to emigrate to the Holy Land. Jesus argued that their forefa­thers owned houses and lands in Egypt, but that they had willingly and gladly abandoned them, and He repeated once more His prediction that if they persisted in remaining, misfortune would fall upon them. The disciples, Barnabas especially, went around a great deal in the environs teaching and exhorting the people. They were less timid in his presence and laid before him all their doubts. He always had a crowd around him.

20. Jesus Visits the Mines Near Chytrus

From Mallep, Jesus, accompanied by the disciples, the disciple recently arrived from Naim and the sons of Cyrinus just come from Salamis (in all about twelve), went to a village of miners near Chytrus. He took a roundabout road to it of seven hours. On the way He paused among the different bands of laborers and spoke of the path of a good life. Jesus

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 had by the family of Barnabas and several people of Chytrus been invited to this mining village, because the Jewish miners of the place were celebrating a feast at which they received from their employers various presents besides their share of the harvest. Jesus took a circuitous route to the village, that He might be able to speak to His disciples without inter­ruption and also that He might not arrive too early. During the journey, He permitted the disciple from Naim to deliver the messages and relate the news with which he had been charged; for although Jesus knew all Himself, He was careful not to let it appear, lest such knowledge might be a source of annoyance or anxiety to those around Him.

The disciple had left Jerusalem on the eve of Pen­tecost just after the money offering in the Temple, and the execution of Pilate's plot. He had gone straight to Naim, thence through Nazareth to Ptolomais, and from the latter place to Cyprus. He told Jesus that His Mother and the other holy women, together with John and some of the disciples, had quietly cele­brated the feast of Pentecost at Nazareth; that His Mother and friends sent greetings and entreated Him to stay some time in Cyprus, until minds had grown calm in His regard. The Pharisees, he continued, were already reporting that He had run away. Herod also wanted to summon Him to Machaerus under pretext of conferring with Him upon the subject of the prisoners freed at Thirza, but really to make Him prisoner as he had done John.

The disciple told likewise of Pilate's plot on the eve of Pentecost when the Jews brought their offer­ings to the Temple. Two friends of Jesus, relatives of Zachary and servers in the Temple, who happened to get mixed up in the tumult, lost their lives. Jesus already knew of the circumstance, and it made Him very sad. The news renewed His grief, as well as that of His disciples. Pilate on the preceding evening left the city, and with some of his troops proceeded

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

This document is: ACE_3_0391

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