Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

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The Holy Mystery


 more than was actually needed, for Jesus had inveighed against selfishness. They must, He said, be willing to sacrifice for God and the neighbor. The communication between Jesus and these people became more and more intimate and, in order to rescue them from the ignorance into which they had fallen, He taught under manifold similitudes upon the chastity, modesty, and self-conquest that should grace the married state. The similitudes referred to the sowing and the harvest. He went also to visit two parties who were about to marry notwith­standing their relationship to each other in pro­hibited degrees. One couple were blood relatives. Jesus summoned them into His presence and told them that their design sprang from the desire of temporal goods, and that it was not lawful. They were terrified on finding that He knew their thoughts, for no one had said anything to Him about it; so they relinquished their intention. Here they washed one another's feet, and the bride wiped Jesus' feet with the end of her veil, or the upper part of her mantle. Both the man and the woman recog­nized Jesus by His teaching as more than a Prophet. They were converted and followed Him. Jesus next went out to a house in the country, in which lived a stepmother who wanted to marry her stepson, though the latter as yet did not clearly comprehend her design. Jesus made known to the son the dan­ger in which he was, and bade him flee from the place and go labor at Salathiel's, which he obedi­ently did. The Lord washed his feet also. The step­mother, whom Jesus gravely rebuked for her guilt, was greatly exasperated. She did no penance and went to perdition.

The people of this region must have had, through their ancestors, some special relations with the Ark of the Covenant. They asked Jesus what had become of the Holy Mystery contained in the Ark. He answered that mankind had received so much of It,


Life of Jesus Christ

 that It had now passed into them, and that from the fact that it was no longer to be found, they might conclude that the Messiah was born. Many people of this country believed that the Messiah was put to death among the Holy Innocents.

Jesus Raises a Dead Man to Life

About one hour to the east of Sichar stood the dwelling of a rich herd proprietor. The house was surrounded by a moat. The owner had died suddenly in a field not far from his house, and his wife and children were in great affliction. The remains were ready for interment, and the family had sent mes­sengers into the city to beg the Lord and some oth­ers to come to the funeral. Jesus went, accompanied by His three disciples, Salathiel and his wife, and several others—about thirty in all. The corpse, ready for the grave, was placed in a broad avenue of trees before the house. The man had been struck dead in punishment of his sins, for he had seized upon part of the possessions of some shepherds who, owing to his oppressive treatment, were obliged to leave that section of the country. Shortly after the commission of this sin, he had fallen dead upon the very ground that he had unjustly appropriated. Standing in front of the corpse, Jesus spoke of the deceased. He asked of what advantage was it to him now that he had once pampered and served his body, that house which his soul had now to leave. He had, on account of that body, run his soul into debt which he neither had and which he never could discharge. The wife of the deceased was plunged in grief. She had con­stantly repeated before Jesus' coming: "If the Jew­ish King from Nazareth were here, He could raise him from the dead!" In reply to these words, Jesus said: "Yes, the Jewish King can do it. But men will persecute Him on that account. They will kill Him who gives life, and they will refuse to acknowledge

The Soul of Nazor


 Him!" To which those around responded: "If He were among us, we would acknowledge Him!"

Jesus resolved to put them to the test. He spoke of faith, and promised that the Jewish King would help them, provided they believed and practiced all that He taught. Then He separated the family of the deceased along with Salathiel and his wife from the rest of the assistants, whom He directed to with­draw, while He spoke with the wife, the daughter, and the son of the dead man. Even before the oth­ers had gone out, the wife had addressed these words to Jesus: "Lord, Thou speaketh as if Thou Thyself wert the King of the Jews!" But Jesus had motioned her to be silent. When now those others, whom He knew to be weaker in faith, had retired, Jesus told the family that if they would believe in His doctrine, if they would follow Him, and if they would keep silence upon the matter, He would raise the dead man to life, for his soul was not yet judged, it was still tarrying in the field, the scene of its injustice as well as of its separation from the body. The fam­ily promised with all their heart both obedience and silence, and Jesus went with them to the field in which the man had died. I saw the state in which the soul of the deceased was. I saw it in a circle, in a sphere above the spot upon which he had died. Before it passed pictures of all its transgressions with their temporal consequences, and the sight con­sumed it with sorrow. I saw too all the punishments it was to undergo, and it was vouchsafed a view of the satisfactory Passion of Jesus. Torn with grief, it was about to enter upon its punishment, when Jesus prayed, and called it back into the body by pro­nouncing the name Nazor, the name of the deceased. Then turning to the assistants, He said: "When we return, we shall find Nazor sitting up and alive!" I saw the soul at Jesus' call floating toward the body, becoming smaller, and disappearing through the mouth, at which moment Nazor rose to a sitting pos­ture


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 in his coffin. I always see the human soul repos­ing above the heart from which numerous threads run to the head.

When Jesus and His companions returned to the house they found Nazor, still enveloped in his fune­real bands and his hands bound, sitting up in the coffin. His wife unbound his hands and loosened the bands. He stepped forth from the coffin, cast him­self at Jesus' feet, and tried to embrace His knees. But the Lord drew back and told him that he should purify himself, should wash, and remain concealed in his chamber, that he should not speak of his res­urrection until He Himself had left that region. The wife then led her husband into a retired corner of the dwelling, where he washed and clothed himself. Jesus, Salathiel and his wife, and the three disci­ples took some food and remained at the house. The coffin was placed in the vault. The Lord taught until after nightfall. On the following morning He washed the feet of the resuscitated Nazor and exhorted him for the future to think more of his soul than of his body, and to restore the ill-gotten property. After that He called the children to Him, spoke of God's mercy which their father had experienced, and exhorted them to the fear of God; then He blessed them and led them to their parents. The mother, also, Jesus conducted to the father. He presented her to him as to one returned from afar, in order that they might live together in a stricter and more God fearing manner.

Jesus on that day taught many things relating to marriage, in similitudes. He addressed Himself especially to the newly married couple. To Salathiel He said: "Thou hast allowed thy heart to be moved by the beauty of thy wife! But think how great the beauty of the soul must be, since God sends His Son upon earth to save souls by the sacrifice of His Body! Whoever serves the body, serves not the soul. Beauty inflames concupiscence, and concupiscence

Admonitions on Marriage


 corrupts the soul. Incontinence is like a creeping plant that chokes and destroys the wheat and the vines." These last words turned the instruction again upon the subject of vine and wheat culture, and Jesus warned His hearers to keep far from their fields and vineyards two running weeds which He designated by name. At last He announced to them that on the coming Sabbath He would teach in the school at Cedar, and on that occasion they would hear what they must do to become His followers and share in His Kingdom. He told them, moreover, that He would then depart from that region and journey eastward to Arabia. When they asked Him why He was going among those heathens, those star-worshippers, He answered that He had friends among them who had followed a star in order to greet Him at His birth. These He wanted to search after, that He might invite them also into the vine­yard and the Kingdom of His Father, and put them on the straight road to it.

An extraordinarily great multitude assembled in Cedar to meet Jesus, who now began publicly to heal crowds of sick. Sometimes while passing among those that had been brought hither by their friends, He merely pronounced the words: "Arise! Follow Me!"­—and they rose up cured. The wonder and admiration produced by these miracles reached such a pitch of enthusiasm that had not Jesus Himself suppressed it, the whole country would have risen in one sud­den transport of joy.

Salathiel and his wife were among the assembly at Cedar. Jesus once more spoke to them of the duties of the married state, and gave them detailed instructions upon the way in which they should live together in order to become a good vine (that is, one that would produce pure and excellent fruit, such as would become disciples of His Apostles, saints, and martyrs). He inculcated the observance of mod­esty and purity, bade them in all their actions aim


Life of Jesus Christ

 at purity of intention, exhorted them to prayer and renunciation, and rigorously commanded perfect continence after the period of conception. He spoke of the mutual confidence that ought to exist between husband and wife, and of the obedience of the lat­ter to the former. The husband should not keep silence when the wife asks him questions. He ought to respect her and be indulgent toward her, since she is the weaker vessel. He should not mistrust her if he sees her talking with others, neither should she be jealous upon beholding him doing the same; still each should be careful not to give to the other cause for vexation. They should suffer no third party to come in between them, and should settle their lit­tle differences themselves. He told the wife that she should become a pious Abigail, and pointed out to them a region suitable for the cultivation of wheat. They must, He said, raise a hedge around their vine­yard, which hedge was to consist of the admonitions He had just given them.

Before leaving Cedar, Jesus gave in the synagogue another very long instruction, in which He again ex­plained the connection existing between all the points upon which up to that time he had here taught separately. He spoke in simple, childlike allegories of the mysteries of Original Sin, the vicious propa­gation of the human race, their ever-increasing cor­ruption, the dispositions of God's grace and His guidance of the chosen people from generation to generation down to the Blessed Virgin, the mystery of the Incarnation and the regeneration of fallen man from death to eternal life through the Son of the Virgin. Here He introduced the parable of the grain of wheat which had to be buried in the ground before it could spring forth into new fruit, but He was not understood by His hearers. He told them that they should follow Him not for a short time only, but on a long journey that would end only at the Judgment. He spoke of the resurrection of the

Jesus Journeys toward the Tent City


 dead and of the last Judgment, and He bade them watch! Then He related the parable of the slothful servants. Judgment comes like a thief in the night; death strikes at every hour. They, the Ishmaelite, were typified by the servants, and they ought to be faithful. Melchisedech, He said, was a type of Him­self. His sacrifice consisted of bread and wine, but in Him they would be changed into flesh and blood. At last Jesus told them in plain terms that He was the Redeemer. At this revelation, many became timid and fearful, while others grew more ardent and enthusiastic in their adherence to Him. He enforced upon them in particular love for one another, com­passion, sympathy in joy and sorrow such as the members of the body feel for one another.

The pagans from the pagan quarter of Cedar were present at this instruction, to which they listened from a distance. They had been very hostile toward the Jews, but from this time many approached them and questioned them in a friendly manner about Jesus' doctrine and miracles.

6. Jesus Reaches the First Tent City of the Star Worshippers

When Jesus with the three youths left Cedar, Nazor, the Ruler of the synagogue, who traced his origin up to Tobias, Salathiel, Eliud, and the youth Titus accompanied Him a good part of the way. They crossed the river and passed through the pagan quar­ter of the city, in which just at that time a pagan feast was being celebrated and sacrifice was being offered in front of the temple. The road ran first eastward and then to the south through a plain that lay between two high mountain ridges, sometimes over heaths, again over yellow or white sand, and sometimes over white pebbles. At last they reached a large, open tract of country covered with verdure, in which stood a great tent among the palm trees,


Life of Jesus Christ

 and around it many smaller ones. Here Jesus blessed and took leave of His escort, and then continued His journey awhile longer toward the tent city of the star worshippers. The day was on its decline when He arrived at a beautiful well in a hollow. It was surrounded by a low embankment, and near it was a drinking ladle. The Lord drank, and then sat down by the well. The youths washed His feet and He, in turn, rendered them the same service. All was done with childlike simplicity, and the sight was extremely touching. The plain was covered with palm trees, meadows, and at a considerable distance apart there were groups of tents. A tower, or terraced pyramid of pretty good size, still not higher than an ordinary church, arose in the center of the district. Here and there some people made their appearance and from a distance gazed at Jesus in surprise not unmingled with awe, but no one approached Him.

Not far from the well stood the largest of the tent houses. It was surmounted by several spires, and consisted of many stories and apartments connected together by partitions, some grated, others merely of canvas. The upper part was covered with skins. Altogether it was very artistically made and very beautiful. From this tent castle five men came forth bearing branches, and turned their steps in the direc­tion of Jesus. Each carried in his hand a branch of a different kind of fruit: One had little yellow leaves and fruit, another was covered with red berries, a third was a palm branch, one bore a vine branch full of leaves, and the fifth carried a cluster of grapes. From the waist to the knees they wore a kind of woolen tunic slit at the sides, and on the upper part of the body a jacket wide and full, made of some kind of transparent, woolen stuff, with sleeves that reached about halfway to the elbow. They were of fair complexion, had a short, black beard, and long, curling hair. On their head was a sort of spiral cap from which depended many lappets around their

Meal in the Tent


 temples. They approached Jesus and His compan­ions with a friendly air, saluted them and, while presenting to them the branches they held in their hands, invited them to accompany them back to the tent. The vine branch was presented to Jesus, the one who acted as guide carrying a similar one. On entering the tent Jesus and His companions were made to sit upon cushions trimmed with tassels, and fruit was presented to them. Jesus uttered only a few words. The guests were then led through a tent corridor lined with sleeping chambers containing couch beds, and furnished with high cushions, to that part of the tent in which was the dining hall. In the center of the hall rose the pillar that sup­ported the tent; and around it were twined garlands of leaves and fruits, vine branches, apples, and clus­ters of grapes—all so natural in appearance that I cannot say whether they really were natural or only painted. Here the attendants drew out a little oval table about as high as a footstool. It was formed of light leaves that could be opened quickly and its feet separated into two supports. They spread under it a colored carpet upon which were representations of men like themselves, and placed upon it cups and other table furniture. The tent was hung with tapes­try, so that no part of the canvas itself could be seen.

When Jesus and the young disciples stretched themselves on the carpet around the table, the men in attendance brought cakes, scooped out in the mid­dle, all kinds of fruits, and honey. The attendants themselves sat on low, round folding stools, their legs crossed. Between their feet they stood a little disk supported on a long leg, and on the disk they laid their plate. They served their guests themselves turnabout, the servants remaining outside the tent with everything that was necessary. I saw them going to another tent and bringing thence birds, which had been roasted on a spit in the kitchen. This last


Life of Jesus Christ

 named apartment consisted merely of a mud hut in which was an opening in the roof to let out the smoke from the fire on the hearth. The birds were served up in quite a remarkable manner. They were (but I know not how it was done) covered with their feathers, and looked just as if they were alive. The meal over, the guests were escorted by five men to their sleeping rooms, and there the latter were quite amazed at seeing Jesus washing the youths' feet, which service they rendered Him in return. Jesus explained to them its signification, and they resolved to practice in future the same act of courtesy.

Nocturnal Celebration of the Star Worshippers

When the five men took leave of Jesus and His young companions, they all left the tent together. They wore mantles longer behind than before, with a broad flap hanging from the back of the neck. They proceeded to a temple which was built in the shape of a large four-cornered pyramid, not of stone but of very light materials such as wood and skins. There was a flight of outside steps from base to summit. It was built in a hollow that rose in terraces and was surrounded by steps and parapets. The circu­lar enclosure was cut through by entrances to the different parts of the temple, and the entrances them­selves were screened by light, ornamental hedges. Several hundred people were already assembled in the enclosure. The married women were standing back of the men; the young girls, back of them; and last of all, the children. On the steps of the pyra­midal temple were illuminated globes that flashed and twinkled just like the stars of heaven, but I do not know how that was effected. They were regu­larly arranged, in imitation of certain constellations. The temple was full of people. In the center of the building rose a high column from which beams

The Idolatrous Celebration


 extended to the walls and up into the summit of the pyramid, bearing the lights by which the exterior globes were lighted. The light inside the temple was very extraordinary. It was like twilight, or rather moonlight. One seemed to be gazing up into a sky full of stars. The moon likewise could be seen, and far up in the very center of all blazed the sun. It was a most skillfully executed arrangement, and so natural that it produced upon the beholder an impression of awe, especially when he beheld by the dim light of the lower part of the temple the three idols that were placed around that central column. One was like a human being with a bird's head and a great, crooked beak. I saw the people offering to it in sacrifice all kinds of eatables. They crammed into its enormous bill birds and similar things which fell down into its body and out again. Another of these idols had a head almost like that of an ox, and was seated like a human being in a squatting posture. They laid birds in its arms, which were out­stretched as if to receive an infant. In it was a fire into which, through the holes made for that pur­pose, the worshippers cast the flesh of animals that had been slaughtered and cut up on the sacrificial table in front of it. The smoke escaped through a pipe sunk in the earth and communicating with the outer air. No flames were to be seen in the temple, but the horrible idols shone with a reddish glare in the dim light. During the ceremony, the multitude around the pyramid chanted in a very remarkable manner. Sometimes a single voice was heard, and then again a powerful chorus, the strains suddenly changing from plaintive to exultant; and when the moon and different stars shone out, they sent up shouts of enthusiastic welcome. I think this idola­trous celebration lasted till sunrise.

Before taking leave of these people on the fol­lowing morning, Jesus gave them a few words of instruction. To their questions as to who He was


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 and whither He was journeying, He answered by telling them about His Father's Kingdom. He was, He said, seeking friends that had saluted Him at His birth. After that He was going down to Egypt, to hunt up some companions of His childhood and to call them to follow Him, as He was soon to return to His Father. He spoke to them on the subject of their idolatrous worship for which they put them­selves to so much trouble and slaughtered so many sacrifices. They should adore the Father, the Cre­ator of all things, and instead of sacrificing victims to idols which they themselves had made, they should bestow those gifts upon their poor brethren. The abodes of the women were back of and entirely separate from the tents of the men, each of whom had many wives. They wore long garments, jewels in their ears, and headdresses in the form of a high cap. Jesus commended the separation of the women from the men. It was well, He said, for the former to stand in the background, but against a multi­plicity of wives He inveighed strenuously. They should have but one wife, He said, whom they should treat as one that owed submission, though not as a slave. During this instruction, Jesus appeared to them so lovable, so much like a supernatural being, that they implored Him to remain with them. They wanted to bring a wise, old priest to converse with Him, but Jesus would not allow it. Then they pro­duced some ancient manuscripts which they con­sulted. They were not rolls of parchment, but thick leaves, which looked as if made of bark, and upon which the writing was deeply imprinted. These leaves were very like thick leather. The pagans insisted upon the Lord's remaining and instructing them, but He refused, saying that they should follow Him when He had returned to His Father, and that He would not neglect to call them at the right time.

When about to leave, Jesus wrote for them with a sharp metallic rod on the stone floor of their tent

Jesus Instructs the Pagans


 the initials of five members of His race. It looked to me like only the letters, four or five of them, entwined together, and among them I recognized an M. They were deeply engraven on the stone. The pagans gazed in wonder at the inscription, for which they at once conceived great reverence. Later on they converted the stone upon which it was traced into an altar. I see it now at Rome enclosed in one of the corners of St. Peter's church, nor will the ene­mies of the Church be able to carry it off!

Jesus would not allow any of these pagans to accompany Him when He departed. He directed His steps southward with His young disciples through the widely scattered tents and passed the tower of the idols. He remarked to the youths how affec­tionately He had been received by these pagans for whom He had done nothing, and how maliciously the obstinate, ungrateful Jews had persecuted Him, although He had loaded them with benefits. Jesus and His young companions hurried on rapidly the whole of that day. It seems to me that He still had a journey of some days, about fifty miles, before reaching the country of the Kings.

Jesus Encounters a Pastoral Tribe

Shortly before the commencement of the Sabbath I saw Jesus in the neighborhood of some shepherd tents, where He and His young companions sat down by a fountain and washed one another's feet. Then He began to celebrate the Sabbath, praying with the youths and instructing them in order that even here in a strange land, the Jews' reproaches that He did not sanctify the Sabbath day might not be verified. He slept that night with the three youths in the open air by the well. There were no permanent dwellings in this place, and no women among the shepherds. They had only one temporary inn, or car­avansary, near their distant pasture grounds. Next


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 morning, the shepherds gathered around Jesus and listened to His words. He asked them whether they had not heard of some people who, three and thirty years before, had been guided by a star to Judea, to salute the newborn King of the Jews. They cried out: "Yes! Yes!" and He went on to tell them that He was now travelling in search of those men. The shep­herds exhibited a childlike joy and love for Jesus. On a lovely spot surrounded by palm trees, they made for Him a beautiful high seat or throne, up to which led steps covered with sod. They worked so very quickly, cutting and raising the sods with long stone, or bone knives, that the seat was soon fin­ished. The Lord seated Himself upon it, and taught in most beautiful parables. The shepherds, about forty in number, listened like little children and after­ward prayed with Jesus.

That evening the shepherds took down one of their tents, and uniting it to another, formed thereby one large hall, in which they prepared for the whole party an entertainment consisting of fruit, a kind of thick pap rolled into balls, and camel's milk. When Jesus blessed the food He was about to take, they asked Him why He did so, and when He explained the reason, they begged Him to bless all the rest of the food, which He did. They wanted Him also to leave behind Him some blessed food; and when they brought Him for that purpose things soft and very perishable, He called for fruits that would not decay. They brought them, and He blessed some white balls made of rice. He told them always to mix a little of the blessed provisions with their other food, which then would never spoil, and the blessing would never be taken away.

The Kings already knew through dreams that Jesus was coming to see them.

Jesus Instructs the Pagans


A Wonderful Globe

I saw the Lord again teaching from the mossy throne. He taught about the creation of the world, the Fall of Man, and the promise of Redemption. Jesus asked whether they preserved the tradition of any promise. But they knew only a few things connected with Abraham and David, and those were mixed up with fables. They were so simple, just like children in school. Whoever knew anything in answer to a question, said it right out. When Jesus saw how innocent and ignorant they were, He wrought a great miracle in their behalf. I cannot recall exactly what He said, but He appeared to catch with His right hand at a sunbeam from which He drew a ball like a little luminous globe, and let it hang from the palm of the same hand by a ray of light. It seemed to be large enough to contain all things, and all things could be seen in it. The good people and the disciples beheld in it everything just as the Lord related it to them, and they all stood in awe around Him. I saw the Most Holy Trinity in the globe, and when I saw the Son in it, I did not see Jesus any longer upon earth, only an angel hovering by the globe. Once Jesus took the globe upon His hand, and again it seemed as if His hand itself was the globe, in which innumerable pictures unfolded, one from another. I heard something about the number three hundred and sixty-five, as if relating to the days of the year, connected with which also there was some­thing in the pictures formed in the globe.

Jesus taught the shepherds a short prayer, in which occurred words like those of the Our Father, and He gave them three intentions for which they should alternately recite it. The first was to thank for cre­ation; the second, for Redemption; and the third, I think, was for the Last Judgment. The whole his­tory of the Creation, the Fall, and the Redemption was unfolded in successive pictures in this globe,


Life of Jesus Christ

 along with the means given to man to participate therein. I saw all things in the globe connected by rays of light with the Most Holy Trinity, out of whom all things proceeded, but from whom many sepa­rated miserably. The Lord gave to the shepherds an idea of Creation by the globe which sprang forth from His hand; an idea of the connection of the fallen world with the Godhead and its Redemption, by the suspension of the globe from His hand by a thread; and when He held it in His hand, He gave them some idea of Judgment. He taught them likewise about the year and the days that compose it inas­much as they are figures of this history of Creation, and then He showed by what prayers and good works they ought to sanctify the different seasons.

When the Lord concluded His instruction, the lumi­nous globe with its varied pictures disappeared as it had come. The poor people, quite overcome by the sense of their own profound misery and the godlike dignity of their Guest, showed signs of deep affliction and cast themselves, along with the three youths, pros­trate on the ground, weeping and adoring. Jesus too became very sad and prostrated on the grassy mound upon which He had been sitting. The youths attempted to raise Him; and when at last He arose of Himself, the shepherds rose also, and standing around Him timidly ventured to ask Him the cause of His sad­ness. Jesus answered that He was mourning with those who mourned. He then took one of the hyacinths that grew wild in that region (but which were far larger and more beautiful than those we have), and asked them whether they knew the properties of that flower. When the sky is troubled, He said, it wilts, it pines as it were, and its color grows pale, and so too a cloud had passed over His own sun. He told them many other remarkable things about these flowers and their signification. I heard Him also calling them by an exceedingly strange name which, I was told, corresponded to our name for it, the hyacinth.

Jesus Instructs the Pagans


Abolition of Idol Worship

Although Jesus knew full well, He questioned the shepherds upon the kind of worship they practiced. He was like a good teacher who becomes a child with his children. Thereupon the good people brought to Him their gods in the shape of all kinds of ani­mals, sheep, camels, asses—all very skillful imita­tions of the animals themselves. They appeared to be made of metal, and were covered with skins; and, what was truly laughable, all the idols represented female animals. They were provided with long bags, in imitation of udders, to which were attached reed nipples. These bags they filled with milk, milked them at their feasts, drank, and then danced and leaped about. Everyone selected from his herd the most beautiful, the most excellent cattle, which he raised with care and looked upon as sacred. It was after these holy models that the poor idolaters made their gods, and it was with their milk that they filled the udders. When they celebrated religious services, they brought all their idols together into one tent decorated for the occasion, and then began great carousing as at a kermess. The women and children also were in attendance, and milking and eating, drinking, singing, dancing, and adoring of the idols went on vigorously. It was not the Sabbath they were celebrating, but the day after.

While the pagans were relating all this to Jesus and showing Him their idols, I saw the whole thing taking shape and being enacted before my eyes. The Lord explained to them what a miserable shadow of true religious service theirs was and, after some more words to that effect, ended by telling them that He Himself was the Chosen from the herd. He was the Lamb from whom flowed all the milk that was to nourish the soul unto salvation. Then He commanded them to abolish their zoolatry, to drive the living animals back among the herds, and the


Life of Jesus Christ

 metal of which the idols were composed to be given to the poor. They should, He said, erect altars, burn upon them incense to the Almighty Creator, the Heav­enly Father, and give thanks to Him. They should moreover pray for the coming of the Redeemer, and divide their goods with their poor brethren, for not far off in the desert lived people so poor that they had not even tents to shelter them. Whatever parts of their slaughtered cattle they could not eat, ought to be burned as a sacrifice, also the bread that was over and not intended for the poor. The ashes should be sprinkled upon unproductive ground, which Jesus pointed out to them, in order to attract upon it a blessing. As He prescribed these different points He explained the reasons for observing them. Then He alluded again to the Kings that had visited Him. The people said, yes, they had heard that thirty-three years before, those Kings had journeyed afar in search of the Saviour and in the hope of finding along with Him everything that could be conducive to happiness and salvation. The Kings, they added, had returned to their country and changed some­thing in their religious worship, but that was all they had ever heard about them.

Jesus next went around with these shepherds among their herds and huts, teaching them all kinds of things, even about the different herbs growing there. He promised to send someone to them soon to instruct them. He assured them that He had come on earth not merely for the Jews alone, as they in their humility thought, but for every single human being that sighed for His coming. From the little that they knew of Abraham, this poor shepherd tribe had conceived great esteem for sobriety. The three youths were impressed in a special manner by the late miracle of the luminous globe. Their relations toward the Lord were very different from those of the Apostles. They served Him in dependence, silence, and childlike simplicity. Unlike the Apostles, they

Jesus and His Young Companions


 never had anything to reply to their Master. The Apostles, however, held an office, whereas these youths were like poor, dependent scholars.

Jesus Continues His Journey to the Tent City of the Kings

When Jesus left the shepherds and pursued His journey to the land of the Three Kings, about twelve of them bore Him company. They appeared to have some kind of a tax to pay for which they were tak­ing with them birds in baskets. This journey was a very lonely one, for on the whole length of the route they did not meet one dwelling house. The road was, however, distinctly marked out, and there was no chance of the traveler’s losing his way in the desert. Trees lined the roadside bearing edible fruits the size of figs, and here and there were found berries. At certain points, marking one day's journey, rest­ing places were formed. They consisted of a covered well surrounded by trees, whose tops were drawn together in a large hoop, their pendent branches thus forming an arbor. These resting places were furnished with conveniences for making a fire and passing the night. During the great noonday heat, Jesus and the youths rested at one of these wells and refreshed themselves with some fruit. Each time they thus paused on their journey, Jesus and the youths washed one another's feet. The Lord never permitted any of the others to touch Him. The youths, drawn by His goodness, at times treated Jesus with childlike confidence, but again, when they thought of His miracles, His divinity, they cast timid and frightened glances toward Him and looked at one another. I saw too that Jesus often appeared to van­ish before them, although He did not fail to direct their attention to all that they met on their way and instruct them upon the same.


Life of Jesus Christ

They journeyed a part of the night. When they paused to rest, the youths struck fire by revolving two pieces of wood together. They had also a lantern at the end of a pole. It was open on top, and its lit­tle flame shed around a reddish glare. I do not know of what it consisted. I saw during the night wild animals running furtively about. The road ran some­times over high mountains, not steep but gently ris­ing. In one field I saw many rows of nut trees, and people filling sacks with the nuts that had fallen. It looked something like a gleaning. There were other trees whose leaves were gone but the fruit was still remaining, peach trees with slender trunks planted on rising ground, and another that looked almost like our laurel. Some of the resting places for travelers were under large juniper bushes whose branches were as thick as the arm of a good -sized man. They were closely grown together overhead, but thinned out below, so as to afford a delightful shelter. The greater part of the journey, however, was through a desert of white sand interspersed with places covered, some with small white pebbles, others with little polished ones like birds' eggs; and there were large beds of black stones, like the remains of fractured pipkins, or pieces of hollow pot­tery. Some of these fragments were provided with holes like regular rings, or handles, and the people in the country around used to come in search of them in order to utilize them as bowls and other vessels. The last mountain the travelers crossed was covered with gray stones only. They found on descend­ing its opposite side a dense hedgerow, behind which flowed a rapid stream around a piece of cultivated land. By the shore lay a ferryboat formed of the trunks of trees woven together with osiers. On this they crossed the stream, and then directed their steps to a row of huts built of sticks woven together and overlaid with moss. They had pointed roofs, and all around the central apartment were sleeping

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

This document is: ACE_3_0511

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