Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
1774-1824
Vol 4

This document is: ACE_4_0061

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_4_0041 List of documents Next document: ACE_4_0081
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)

The Paschal Lamb

61

 As far as I can remember, John, James the Greater, and James the Less stood on Jesus' right; then came Bartholomew, still on the right, but more toward the narrow end of the table; and round the corner at the inner side stood Thomas, and next to him Judas Iscariot. On Jesus' left were Peter, Andrew, and Thad­deus; then as on the opposite side, came Simon; and round at the inner side, Matthew and Philip.

In the center of the table lay the Paschal lamb on a dish, its head resting on the crossed forefeet, the hind feet stretched out at full length. All around the edge of the dish were little bunches of garlic. Nearby was another dish with the Paschal roast meat, and on either side a plate of green herbs. These latter were arranged in an upright position and so closely together that they looked as if they were growing. There was another plate with little bunches of bitter herbs that looked like aromatic herbs. Directly in front of Jesus' place stood a bowl of yellowish-green herbs, and another with some kind of a brownish sauce. Small round loaves served the guests for plates, and they made use of bone knives.

After the prayer, the master of the feast laid on the table in front of Jesus the knife for carving the Paschal lamb, placed a cup of wine before Him, and from a jug filled six other cups, each of which he set between two of the Apostles. Jesus blessed the wine and drank, the Apostles drinking two and two from one cup. The Lord cut up the Paschal lamb. The Apostles in turn reached their little loaves on some kind of an instrument that held them fast, and received each one a share. They ate it in haste, separating the flesh from the bone with their ivory knives, and the bones were afterward burned. They ate also, and that very quickly, the garlic and green herbs, first dipping them into the sauce. They ate the Paschal lamb standing, leaning a little on the back of the seats. Jesus then broke one of the loaves of unleavened bread, covered up one part of it, and

62

Life of Jesus Christ

 divided the other among the Apostles. After that they ate the little loaves that had served as plates. Another cup of wine was brought, Jesus thanked, but drank not of it. He said: "Take this wine and divide it among you, for I shall henceforth drink no more wine, until the Kingdom of God cometh." After the Apostles had drunk, two and two, they chanted, and Jesus prayed and taught. After that they again washed their hands, and then reclined on the seats. During the preceding ceremony, they had been stand­ing' or at least supporting themselves somewhat, and everything was done in haste. Jesus had also cut up another lamb, which was carried to the holy women in the side building where they were taking their meal. The Apostles partook of the herbs, the salad, and the sauce. Jesus was exceedingly serene and recollected, more so than I ever before saw Him. He bade the Apostles forget their cares. Even the Blessed Virgin was bright and cheerful as she sat at table with the women. It was very touching to see her turning so simply to the other women when, at times, they approached her and drew her atten­tion by a little pull at her veil.

While the Apostles were eating the herbs, Jesus continued to converse with them still quite lovingly, though He afterward became grave and sad. He said: "One among you will betray Me—one whose hand is with Me in the dish." He was at that moment dis­tributing one of the vegetables, namely, the lettuce of which there was only one dish. He was passing it down His own side, and He had directed Judas, who was sitting crosswise from Him, to distribute it on the other side. As Jesus made mention of a traitor, the Apostles became very much alarmed. Then He repeated: "One whose hand is with Me at table, or whose hand dips with Me into the dish," which was as much as to say: "One of The Twelve who are eating and drinking with Me—one with whom I am breaking My bread." By these words, Jesus did not

"Lord, Is It I?”

63

 betray Judas to the others, for "to dip into the same dish" was a common expression significant of the most intimate friendship. Still Jesus intended by it to warn Judas, for He really was dipping His hand with him into the dish while distributing the let­tuce. Later on, He said: "The Son of Man indeed goeth as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man shall be betrayed! It were better for him had he never been born."

At these words the Apostles became very much troubled, and asked in turn: "Lord, is it I?" for all knew well that they did not understand Him per­fectly. Peter meantime, leaning behind Jesus toward John, motioned to him to ask the Lord who it was, for having often received reproofs from Jesus, he was anxious lest it might be himself. Now, John was reclining at Jesus' right, and as all were leaning on the left arm in order to eat with the right hand, John lay with his head close to Jesus' breast. At the sign from Peter, John approached his head to Jesus' breast, and asked: "Lord, who is it?”—at which word he was interiorly admonished that Jesus referred to Judas. I did not see Jesus saying with His lips: "He to whom I shall give the morsel dipped," and I can­not say whether or not He said it softly to John. But John understood it when Jesus, having dipped into the sauce the morsel of bread folded in lettuce, offered it affectionately to Judas, who too was ask­ing, "Lord, is it I?" Jesus looked at him lovingly and answered in general terms. To give bread dipped was a mark of love and confidence, and Jesus did it with heartfelt love, to warn Judas and to ward off the suspicions of the others. But Judas was in­teriorly inflamed with rage. During the whole meal, I saw sitting at his feet a little monster, which fre­quently rose to his heart. I did not see John repeat­ing to Peter what he had learned from Jesus, though I saw him setting his mind at rest by a glance.

64

Life of Jesus Christ

6. The Washing of the Feet

They arose from table and, while putting on and arranging their robes, as was the custom before solemn prayer, the master of the feast with two ser­vants came in to take away the table and put back the seats. While this was being done, Jesus ordered some water to be brought Him in the anteroom, and the master again left the hall with his servants.

Jesus, standing in the midst of the Apostles, spoke to them long and solemnly. But I have seen and heard so many things that it is not possible for me to give the Lord's discourse exactly. I remember that He spoke of His Kingdom, of His going to His Father, and He told them that He would, before leaving them, give over to them all that He possessed. Then He gave them instructions upon penance, the knowl­edge and confession of sin, contrition, and justifica­tion. I felt that this bore some reference to the washing of the feet, and I saw that all, with the exception of Judas, acknowledged their sins with sorrow. This discourse was long and solemn. When it was ended, Jesus sent John and James the Less to bring the water from the anteroom, and directed the others to place the seats in a half-circle. Mean­time, He Himself retired to the anteroom to lay aside His mantle, gird up His robe, and tie around Him a towel, one end of which He allowed to hang.

While these preparations were being made, the Apostles got into a kind of dispute as to who among them should have the first place, for as the Lord had expressly announced that He was about to leave them and that His Kingdom was near, they were strengthened anew in their idea that He had some­where a secret force in reserve, and that He would achieve some earthly triumph at the very last moment.

Jesus, still in the anteroom, commanded John to take a basin, and James the Less a leathern bottle

Jesus Washes His Apostles' Feet

65

 of water. The latter carried the bottle before his breast, the spout resting on his arm. After He had poured some water from the bottle into the basin, Jesus bade the two follow Him into the hall in the center of which the master of the feast had set another large, empty basin.

Entering the hall in this order, Jesus in a few words reproved the Apostles for the strife that had arisen among them. He said among other things that He Himself was their servant, and that they should take their places on the seats for Him to wash their feet. They obeyed, observing the same order as at table. They sat on the backs of the seats, which were arranged in a half-circle, and rested their naked feet upon the seat itself. Jesus went from one to another and, from the basin held under them by John, with His hand scooped up water over the feet presented to Him. Then taking in both hands the long end of the towel with which He was girded, He passed it over the feet to dry them, and then moved on with James to the next. John emptied the water after each one into the large basin in the center of the room, and then returned to the Lord with the empty one. Then Jesus again poured water from the bottle held by James over the feet of the next, and so on.

During the whole of the Paschal Supper, the Lord's demeanor was most touching and gracious, and at this humble washing of His Apostles' feet, He was full of love. He did not perform it as if it were a mere ceremony, but like a sacred act of love spring­ing straight from the heart. By it He wanted to give expression to the love that burned within.

When He came to Peter, the latter, through humil­ity, objected. He said: "Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?" And the Lord answered: "What I do, thou know­est not now, but thou shalt know hereafter." And it appeared to me that He said to him in private: "Simon, thou hast deserved that My Father should reveal to thee who I am, whence I came, and whither

66

Life of Jesus Christ

 I go. Thou alone hast known and confessed it, there­fore I will build My Church upon thee, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. My power shall continue with thy successors till the end of the world." Here Jesus pointed to Peter while saying to the oth­ers: "Peter shall be My representative with you when I shall have gone from among you. He shall direct you and make known to you your mission." Then said Peter: "Never shalt Thou wash my feet!" And the Lord replied: "If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with Me!" Thereupon, Peter exclaimed: "Lord, wash me—not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!" To which Jesus replied: "He that is washed needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean, but not all." At these last words, Jesus was thinking of Judas.

In His instruction, Jesus had spoken of the wash­ing of the feet as of a purification from daily faults, because the feet, coming in continual contact with the earth in walking, are constantly liable to become soiled. This was a spiritual foot-washing, a kind of absolution. Peter, however, in his zeal, looked upon it as too great a humiliation for his Master. He knew not that to save him, Jesus would the next day hum­ble Himself for love of him to the shameful death of the Cross.

When Jesus washed Judas' feet, it was in the most touching and loving manner. He pressed them to His cheek and in a low tone bade him enter into him­self, for that he had been unfaithful and a traitor for the past year. But Judas appeared not to notice, and addressed some words to John. This roused Peter's anger, and he exclaimed: "Judas, the Master is speaking to thee!" Then Judas made some vague, evasive remark, such as: "Lord, far be it from me!"

Jesus' words to Judas had passed unremarked by the other Apostles, for He spoke softly, and they did not hear. They were, besides, busy putting on their sandals. Judas' treachery caused Jesus more pain

Judas

67

 than any other part of His Passion. Jesus then washed the feet of John and James; first those of the latter while Peter held the water bottle; then the former, for whom James held the basin.

Jesus next delivered an instruction upon humili­ation. He told them that he who was the greatest among them should be the servant, and that for the future they should in humility wash one another's feet. Many other things He said bearing reference to their dispute as to who should be the greatest, as is recorded in the Gospel. Jesus now resumed the garments that He had laid aside, and the Apostles let down theirs that had been girded up for the eat­ing of the Paschal lamb.

7. The Institution of the Most Blessed Sacrament

At the command of the Lord, the master of the feast again set out the table, which he raised a lit­tle higher. It was placed in the middle of the room and covered with a cloth, over which two others were spread, one red, and the other white and transpar­ent. Then the master set two jugs, one of water, the other of wine, under the table.

Peter and John now brought from the back part of the hall, where was the Paschal hearth, the chal­ice they had brought from Veronica's house. They carried it between them in its case, holding it on their hands, and it looked as if they were carrying a tabernacle. They placed the case on the table before Jesus. The plate with the ribbed Paschal loaves, thin and whitish, stood near under a cover, and the other half of the loaf that had been cut at the Paschal Supper was also on the table. There was a wine and water vessel, also three boxes, one with thick oil, another with liquid oil, and a third empty. A spat­ula, or flat knife, lay near.

The breaking and distributing of bread and drink­ing

68

Life of Jesus Christ

 out of the same cup were customary in olden times at feasts of welcome and farewell. They were used as signs of brotherly love and friendship. I think there must be something about it in the Scrip­tures. Today Jesus elevated this custom to the dig­nity of the Most Holy Sacrament, for until now it was only a typical ceremony. One of the charges brought before Caiaphas on the occasion of Judas' treason was that Jesus had introduced something new into the Paschal ceremonies, but Nicodemus proved from Scripture that this was an ancient prac­tice at farewell feasts.

Jesus' place was between Peter and John. The doors were closed, for everything was conducted with secrecy and solemnity. When the cover of the chal­ice had been removed and taken back to the recess in the rear of the Coenaculum, Jesus prayed and uttered some very solemn words. I saw that He was explaining the Last Supper to the Apostles, as also the ceremonies that were to accompany it. It reminded me of a priest teaching others the Holy Mass.

Jesus then drew from the flat board upon which the vessels stood a kind of shelf, took the white linen that was hanging over the chalice, and spread it on the shelf. I saw Him next take a round, flat plate from the chalice and place it on the covered shelf. Then taking the loaves from the covered plate nearby, He laid them on the one before Him. The loaves were four-cornered and oblong, in length sufficient to extend beyond the edge of the plate, though nar­row enough to allow it to be seen at the sides.

Then He drew the chalice somewhat nearer to Himself, took from it the little cup that it contained, and set to the right and left the six smaller vessels that stood around it. He next blessed the Passover loaves and, I think, the oil also that was standing near, elevated the plate of bread with both hands, raised His eyes toward Heaven, prayed, offered, set it down on the table, and again covered it. Then tak­ing

The Most Blessed Sacrament

69

 the chalice, He received into it wine and water, the former poured by Peter, and the latter by John. The water He blessed before it was poured into the chalice. He then added a little more water from the small spoon, blessed the chalice, raised it on high, praying and offering, and set it down again.

After that Jesus held His hands over the plate upon which the loaves had lain, while at His bid­ding Peter and John poured water on them; then with the spoon that He had taken from the foot of the chalice. He scooped up some of the water that had flowed over His own hands, and poured it upon theirs. Lastly, that same plate was passed around, and all the Apostles washed their hands in it. I do not know whether these ceremonies were performed in this precise order, but these and all the others that reminded me so much of the Holy Mass, I looked upon with deep emotion.

During all this time, Jesus was becoming more and more recollected. He said to the Apostles that He was now about to give them all that He pos­sessed, even His very Self. He seemed to be pour­ing out His whole Being in love, and I saw Him becoming perfectly transparent. He looked like a luminous apparition.

In profound recollection and prayer, Jesus next broke the bread into several morsels and laid them one over another on the plate. With the tip of His finger, He broke off a scrap from the first morsel and let it fall into the chalice, and at the same moment I saw, as it seemed to me, the Blessed Vir­gin receiving the Blessed Sacrament, although she was not present in the Coenaculum. It seemed to me that I saw her enter at the door and come before the Lord to receive the Blessed Sacrament, after which I saw her no more.

Again Jesus prayed and taught. His words, glow­ing with fire and light, came forth from His mouth and entered into all the Apostles, excepting Judas.

70

Life of Jesus Christ

 He took the plate with the morsels of bread (I do not remember whether He had placed it on the chal­ice or not) and said, "Take and eat. This is My Body which is given for you." While saying these words, He stretched forth His right hand over it, as if giv­ing a blessing, and as He did so, a brilliant light emanated from Him. His words were luminous as also the Bread, which as a body of light entered the mouth of the Apostles. It was as if Jesus Himself flowed into them. I saw all of them penetrated with light, bathed in light. Judas alone was in darkness. Jesus presented the Bread first to Peter, then to John,1 and next made a sign to Judas, who was sit­ting diagonally from Him, to approach. Thus Judas was the third to whom Jesus presented the Blessed Sacrament, but it seemed as if the word of the Lord turned back from the mouth of the traitor. I was so terrified at the sight that I cannot describe my feel­ings. Jesus said to Judas: "What thou art about to do, do quickly." The Lord then administered the Blessed Sacrament to the rest of the Apostles, who came up two and two, each one holding for his neigh­bor a little, stiff cover with an ornamental edge that had lain over the chalice.

Jesus next raised the chalice by its two handles to a level with His face, and pronounced into it the words of consecration. While doing so, He was wholly transfigured and, as it were, transparent. He was as if passing over into what He was giving. He caused Peter and John to drink from the chalice while yet in His hands, and then He set it down. With the lit­tle spoon, John removed some of the Sacred Blood from the chalice to the small cups, which Peter handed to the Apostles who, two by two, drank from the same cup, Judas also (though of this I am not quite certain) partook of the chalice, but he did not

1. Sister Emmerich was not certain that the Blessed Sacrament was ad­ministered in the order mentioned above, for on another occasion she saw John receive last.

Judas

71

 return to his place, for he immediately left the Coenaculum. The others thought that Jesus had given him some commission to execute. He left without prayer or thanksgiving. And here we may see what an evil it is to fail to give thanks for our daily bread and for the Bread that endures to life eternal. Dur­ing the whole meal, I saw a little red monster with one foot like a bare bone sitting at Judas' feet and often rising up to his heart, but when outside the door, I saw three devils pressing around him. One entered into his mouth, one urged him on, and the third ran in front of him. It was night. They seemed to be lighting him as he hurried on like a madman.

The remains of the Sacred Blood in the chalice, the Lord poured into the small cup that fitted into it; then holding His fingers over the chalice, He bade Peter and John pour water and wine upon them. This ablution He gave to the two to drink from the chalice and, pouring what remained into the smaller cups, passed it down among the rest of the Apos­tles. After that Jesus wiped out the chalice, put into it the little cup with what was left of the Sacred Blood, laid upon it the plate with the remains of the consecrated Paschal Bread, replaced the cover, wrapped the whole in the linen cloth, and deposited it in its case among the smaller cups. After the Res­urrection, I saw the Apostles partaking of Commu­nion from this Bread and Wine consecrated by Jesus.

I do not remember having seen the Lord Himself receive the Sacred Species. I must have let that pass unnoticed. When He administered His Body and Blood to the Apostles, it appeared to me as if He emptied Himself, as if He poured Himself out in tender love. It is inexpressible. Neither did I see Melchisedech, when sacrificing bread and wine, receive it himself. It was given me to know why priests partake of the Sacrifice, although Jesus did not.

(While uttering these words, Sister Emmerich glanced quickly around, as if listening to someone.

72

Life of Jesus Christ

 She received an explanation on the above, but was able to communicate the following only:) Had angels been deputed to administer the Holy Eucharist, they would not receive It, but if priests did not partake of It, It would long since have been lost. It is by their participation that the Sacrament is preserved.

Jesus' movements during the institution of the Most Blessed Sacrament were measured and solemn, preceded and followed by explanations and instruc­tions. I saw the Apostles after each noting down some things in the little parchment rolls that they carried about them. Jesus' turning to the right and left was full of gravity, as He always was when engaged in prayer. Every action indicated the insti­tution of the Holy Mass. I saw the Apostles, when approaching one another and in other parts of it, bowing as priests are wont to do.

8. Private Instructions and Consecrations

Jesus now gave to the Apostles an instruction full of mystery. He told them how they were to preserve the Blessed Sacrament in memory of Him until the end of the world, taught them the necessary forms for making use of and communicating It, and in what manner they were by degrees to teach and publish the Mystery. He told them likewise when they were to receive what remained of the conse­crated Species, when to give some to the Blessed Virgin, and how to consecrate It themselves after He should have sent them the Comforter.

Then He instructed them upon the priesthood, the sacred unction, and the preparation of the Chrism and the Holy Oils.1 Three boxes, two with a mixture

1. Some years after these communications of Sister Emmerich, the edi­tor saw with surprise, in the Latin edition of the Roman Catechism (Mayence. Muller), p. 231, in reference to the holy Sacrament of Con­firmation, that according to the tradition of the holy Pope Fabian, Jesus had at the institution of the Blessed Sacrament instructed the Apos­tles how to prepare the sacred Chrism. This Pope, in the 54th chap­ter of his second Epistle to the Bishops of the East, says: "Our predecessors received from the holy Apostles and delivered to us that the Lord Jesus Christ on that day, after He had celebrated the Last Supper with His Apostles and washed their feet, taught them how to prepare the Holy Chrism."

Chrism, Holy Oils

73

 of balsam and oil, also some raw cotton, stood near the chalice case. They were so formed as to admit being placed one on the other. Jesus taught many secret things concerning them: how to mix the oint­ment, what parts of the body to anoint, and upon what occasions. I remember among other things Jesus' mentioning a certain case in which the Blessed Sacrament could not be administered. Perhaps it was something bearing reference to Extreme Unc­tion, though I do not now know clearly. He spoke of different kinds of anointing, among them that of kings. He said that even wicked kings who were anointed, possessed a certain interior and mysteri­ous power that was wanting to others. Then Jesus put some of the viscous ointment and oil into the empty box and mixed them together, but I cannot say whether it was at this moment or at the conse­cration of the bread and wine that the Lord blessed the oil.

After that I saw Jesus anointing Peter and John, on whose hands, at the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, He had poured the water that had flowed over His own, and who had drunk from the chalice in His hand.

From the center of the table, where He was stand­ing, Jesus stepped a little to one side and imposed hands upon Peter and John, first on their shoulders and then on their head. During this action, they joined their hands and crossed their thumbs. As they bowed low before Him (and I am not sure that they did not kneel) the Lord anointed the thumb and forefinger of each of their hands with Chrism, and made the Sign of the Cross with it on their head.

74

Life of Jesus Christ

 He told them that this anointing would remain with them to the end of the world. James the Less, Andrew, James the Greater, and Bartholomew, were likewise consecrated. I saw too that the Lord twisted cross­wise over Peter's breast the narrow scarf that he wore around his neck, but that on the others He drew it across the breast over the right shoulder and under the left arm. Still I do not remember clearly whether this took place at the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, or not till the anointing.

Then I saw—but how, I cannot say—that Jesus at this anointing communicated to the Apostles something essential, something supernatural. He told them also that after they should have received the Holy Ghost they were to consecrate bread and wine for the first time, and anoint the other Apostles. At these words of Jesus, I saw at a glance Peter and John, on the day of Pentecost and before the great Baptism, imposing hands upon the other Apostles, and eight days later upon several of the disciples. I saw also that John, after the Resurrection, gave the Most Blessed Sacrament to the Blessed Virgin for the first time. This event used to be commemo­rated by the Apostles as a feast. The Church no longer keeps it, but in the Church Triumphant I see the day still celebrated. In the first days after Pen­tecost, I saw only Peter and John consecrating the Most Blessed Sacrament; but later the others also consecrated.

The Lord blessed fire in a brass vessel. It burned ever after, even during the long absence of the Apos­tles. It was kept near the spot in which the Blessed Sacrament was deposited, in one division of the ancient Paschal hearth whence it was always removed for religious purposes.

All that Jesus did at the institution of the Blessed Eucharist and the anointing of the Apostles was done very secretly, and was later on taught as a Mystery. It has to this day remained essentially in

The Blessed Sacrament

75

 the Church, though she has, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, developed it according to her needs.

During the preparing and consecrating of the Holy Chrism, the Apostles lent their aid, and when Jesus anointed and imposed hands upon them, it was done with ceremony.

Whether Peter and John were both consecrated Bishops,2 or Peter alone as Bishop and John as priest, and what dignity the four others received, Sister Emmerich forgot to state. But the different way in which the Lord arranged the narrow scarf on Peter and the others seems to indicate different degrees of consecration.

When these holy ceremonies were concluded, the chalice, near which stood the consecrated Chrism, was recovered, and the Blessed Sacrament carried by Peter and John into the back part of the room. This portion of the hall was cut off from the rest by a curtain that opened in the middle, and it now became the Holy of Holies. The Blessed Sacrament was deposited back of and a little above the Paschal oven. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus always took care of the Sanctuary and the Coenaculum in the Apostles' absence.

Jesus again delivered a long instruction and prayed several times with deep recollection. He often appeared to be conversing with His Heavenly Father, and to be overflowing with love and enthusiasm. The Apostles also were full of joy and zeal. They asked questions about different things, all of which Jesus answered. Of all this, I think many things are recorded in the Holy Scriptures. During this dis­course Jesus addressed some words in private to Peter and John, who were sitting next to Him, in reference to some of His earlier instructions. They were to communicate them to the other Apostles,

2. After Pentecost she saw John imposing hands, therefore the first seems the more worthy of credit.

76

Life of Jesus Christ

 and these in turn to the disciples and holy women, according to the capacity of each for such knowl­edge. He spoke for some time to John alone. Of this I remember only that Jesus told him that his life would be longer than that of the others, and that He said something about seven churches, something about crowns and angels and similar significant sym­bols by which, as well as I know, He designated cer­tain epochs. The other Apostles felt slightly jealous at this special communication to John.

Jesus alluded several times to His traitor, saying, "Now he is doing this, now he is doing that," and as He spoke, I saw Judas doing just what He said. When Peter vehemently protested that he would cer­tainly remain faithful to Him, Jesus said to him: "Simon, Simon! Behold Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith fail not; and you, being once converted, confirm your brethren." When Jesus said that whither He was going, they could not follow, Peter again exclaimed that he would follow Him even unto death, Jesus replied: "Amen, amen, I say to thee, before the cock crow twice, thou wilt deny Me thrice!" When revealing to the Apostles the try­ing times they were to encounter, Jesus asked, "When I sent you without purse or scrip or shoes, did you want any thing?" They answered: "No!" Then He replied: "But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat and buy a sword. For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in Me: And with the wicked was He reckoned. For the things concerning Me have an end."

The Apostles understood these words in a carnal sense, and Peter showed Him two swords, short and broad like cleavers.

Jesus said: "It is enough. Let us go hence!" Then they recited the hymn of thanksgiving, put aside the table, and went into the anteroom.

The Mount of Olives

77

Here Jesus met His Mother, Mary Cleophas, and Magdalen, who besought Him imploringly not to go to the Mount of Olives, for it was reported that He would there be arrested. Jesus comforted them in a few words, and stepped quickly past them. It was then about nine o'clock. They went in haste down the road by which Peter and John had come up that morning to the Coenaculum, and directed their steps to Mount Olivet.

I have indeed always seen the Paschal Supper and the institution of the Blessed Sacrament take place as just related. But I have always been so deeply affected by it that I could remember only some part of the ceremony; now, however, I have seen it more distinctly. Such a sight exhausts beyond the power of words to say; for in it one beholds the recesses of hearts, one sees the love, the constancy of the Lord, and knows at the same time all that is to befall Him. It is altogether impossible under such circumstances to observe external actions closely. One is dissolved in admiration, thanksgiv­ing, and love. One cannot comprehend the errors of others, while the ingratitude of mankind and the thought of one's own sins weigh heavily. The eat­ing of the Paschal Lamb was performed by Jesus in haste and in perfect conformity to the Law. The Pharisees interspersed the ceremony with some observances of their own.

9. Jesus on the Mount of Olives

When Jesus left the Coenaculum with The Eleven, His soul was already troubled and His sadness on the increase. He led The Eleven to the Mount of Olives by an unfrequented path through the Valley of Josaphat. As they left the house, I saw the moon, which was not yet quite full, rising above the moun­tain. While walking in the Valley of Josaphat with the Apostles, the Lord said that He would one day

78

Life of Jesus Christ

 return hither, though not poor and powerless as He then was, to judge the world. Then would men trem­ble with fear and cry out: "Ye mountains, cover us!" But the disciples understood Him not. They thought, as several times before during the evening, that from weakness and exhaustion He was wandering in speech. Sometimes they walked on, at others stood still talking to Him. He said to them: "All you shall be scandalized in Me this night. For it is written: I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed. But after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee."

The Apostles were still full of the enthusiasm and devotion inspired by the reception of the Most Holy Sacrament, and the loving, solemn discourse of Jesus afterward. They crowded eagerly around Him and expressed their love in different ways, protesting that they never could, they never would, abandon Him. But as Jesus continued to speak in the same strain, Peter exclaimed: "Although all should be scandalized in Thee, I will never be scandalized in Thee!" The Lord replied: "Amen, I say to thee that in this night before the cock crow, thou wilt deny Me thrice." "Yea, though I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee." And so said all the others. They walked and paused alternately, and Jesus' sadness continued to increase. The Apostles tried to dissipate it by human argu­ments, assuring Him that just the opposite of what He dreaded would take place. But finding their efforts vain and fruitless, they grew weary, and began already to doubt and fall into temptation.

They crossed the brook Cedron, but not by the bridge over which later on Jesus was led bound, for they had taken a byway. Gethsemani on Mount Olivet, whither they were going, was in a direct line one-half hour from the Coenaculum, for it was fif­teen minutes from the Coenaculum to the valley of Josaphat, and the same distance from the latter to Gethsemani. This spot, in which during His last days

The Garden of Olives

79

 Jesus had sometimes passed the night with His Apos­tles and instructed them, consisted of a large plea­sure garden surrounded by a hedge. It contained some magnificent shrubbery and a great many fruit trees. Outside the garden were a few deserted houses, open for any that might wish to lodge there. Several persons, as well as the Apostles, had keys to this garden, which was used both as a place of recreation and prayer. Oftentimes, too, people that had no gar­dens of their own gave there their feasts and enter­tainments. There were in it several arbors formed of dense foliage. The Garden of Olives was separated by a road from that of Gethsemani and was higher up the mountain. It was open, being surrounded by only a rampart of earth. It was smaller than the pleasure garden of Gethsemani, a retired corner of the mountain full of grottos, terraces, and olive trees. One side of it was kept in better order. There were seats and benches and roomy caverns, cheerful and cool. Whoever wished, might find here a place suited to prayer and meditation. The spot chosen by Jesus was the wildest.

It was about nine o'clock when Jesus reached Geth­semani with the disciples. Darkness had fallen upon the earth, but the moon was lighting up the sky. Jesus was very sad. He announced to the Apostles the approach of danger, and they became uneasy. Jesus bade eight of them to remain in the Garden of Gethsemani, where there was a kind of summer­house built of branches and foliage. "Remain here," He said, "while I go to My own place to pray." He took Peter, John, and James the Greater with Him, crossed the road, and went on for a few minutes, until He reached the Garden of Olives farther up the mountain. He was inexpressibly sad, for He felt His approaching agony and temptation. John asked how He, who had always consoled them, could now be so dejected. He replied: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death." He glanced around and on all sides saw

80

Life of Jesus Christ

 anguish and temptation gathering about Him like dense clouds filled with frightful pictures. It was at that moment He said to the three Apostles: "Remain here and watch with Me. Pray lest ye enter into temptation!" and they stayed in that place. Jesus went a few steps forward. But the frightful visions pressed around Him to such a degree that, filled with alarm, He turned to the left from the Apostles and plunged down into a grotto formed by an over­hanging rock. The Apostles remained in a hollow to the right above. The grotto in which Jesus concealed Himself was about six feet deep. The earth sank gently toward the back, and plants and shrubs hang­ing from the rocks towering over the entrance made it a place into which no eye could penetrate.

When Jesus left the Apostles, I saw a great num­ber of frightful figures surrounding Him in an ever narrowing circle. His sorrow and anguish increased. He withdrew tremblingly into the back of the cave, like one seeking shelter from a violent tempest, and there He prayed. I saw the awful visions following Him into the grotto, and becoming ever more and more distinct. Ah! It was as if that narrow cave encompassed the horrible, the agonizing vision of all the sins, with their delights and their punish­ments, committed from the Fall of our first parents till the end of the world; for it was here on Mount Olivet that Adam and Eve, driven from Paradise, had first descended upon the inhospitable earth, and in that very grotto had they in fear and alarm bewailed their misery. I felt in a most lively man­ner that Jesus, in resigning Himself to the suffer­ings that awaited Him and sacrificing Himself to Divine Justice in satisfaction for the sins of the world, caused in a certain manner His Divinity to return into the Most Holy Trinity. This He did in order—out of infinite love, in His most pure and sensitive, His most innocent and true Humanity, supported by the love of His human Heart alone—

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
1774-1824
Vol 4

This document is: ACE_4_0061

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_4_0041 List of documents Next document: ACE_4_0081
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)