Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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Peter's Third Denial


 took a seat by the fire. He had sat there a consid­erable time when some that had seen him outside and noticed his preoccupied and excited manner re­entered and again directed their attention to him, while referring in slighting terms to Jesus and His affairs. One of them said: "Truly, thou also dost belong to His adherents! Thou art a Galilean. Thy speech betrays thee." Peter began to evade the remark and to make his way out of the hall, when a brother of Malchus stepped up to him and said: "What! Did I not see thee with Him in the Garden of Olives? Didst thou not wound my brother's ear?"

Peter became like one beside himself with terror. While trying to free himself, he began in his impetu­ous way to curse and swear that he knew not the man, and ended by running out of the atrium into the court that surrounded the house. The cock again crowed. Just at that moment, Jesus was being led from the circular hall and across this court down into a prison under it. He turned toward Peter and cast upon him a glance of mingled pity and sadness. Forcibly and with a terrifying power, the word of Jesus fell upon his heart: "Before the cock crows twice, thou wilt deny Me thrice!" Worn out with grief and anxiety, Peter had entirely forgotten his pre­sumptuous protestation on the Mount of Olives, rather to die with his Master than to deny Him, as also the warning he had then received from Jesus. But at that glance, the enormity of his fault rose up before him and well-nigh broke his heart. He had sinned. He had sinned against his ill-treated, unjustly condemned Saviour, who was silently enduring the most horrible outrages, who had so truly warned him to be on his guard. Filled with remorse and sorrow, he covered his head with his mantle and hurried into the other court, weeping bitterly. He no longer feared being accosted. To everyone he met he would willingly have proclaimed who he was, and how great was the crime that rested on him. Who would pre­sume


Life of Jesus Christ

 to say that in such danger, affliction, anxiety, and perplexity, in such a struggle between love and fear, worn out with fatigue, consumed by watching, pursued by dread, half-crazed from pain of mind caused by the overwhelming sorrows of this most pitiful night, with a temperament at once so child­like and so ardent, he would have been stronger than Peter? The Lord left Peter to his own strength, there­fore did he become so weak, just as they always do that lose sight of the words: "Pray and watch, that ye enter not into temptation."

18. Mary in the Judgment Hall Of Caiaphas

The Blessed Virgin, united in constant, interior com­passion with Jesus, knew and experienced in her soul all that happened to Him. She suffered everything with Him in spiritual contemplation, and like Him she was absorbed in continual prayer for His execu­tioners. But at the same time, her mother-heart cried uninterruptedly to God that He might not suffer these crimes to be enacted, that He might ward off these sufferings from her Most Blessed Son, and she irre­sistibly longed to be near her poor, outraged Jesus. When then John, after the frightful cry: "He is guilty of death!" left the court of Caiaphas and went to her at Lazarus' in Jerusalem, not far from the corner gate; and when, by his account of the terrible suffer­ings of her Son, he confirmed what she already well knew from interior contemplation, she ardently desired to be conducted together with Magdalen (who was almost crazed from grief), and some others of the holy women, to where she might be near her suffering Jesus. John, who had left the presence of His Divine Master only to console her who was next to Jesus with him, accompanied the Blessed Virgin when led by the holy women from the house. Magdalen, wring­ing her hands, staggered with the others along the

The Most Afflicted Mother


 moonlit streets, which were alive with people return­ing to their homes. The holy women were veiled. But their little party, closely clinging to one another, their occasional sobs and expressions of grief, which could not be restrained, drew upon them the notice of the passersby, many of whom were Jesus' enemies; and the bitter, abusive words which they heard uttered against the Lord added to their pain. The most afflicted Mother suffered in constant, interior con­templation the torments of Jesus, which, however, like all other things, she quietly kept in her heart; for, like Him, she suffered with Him in silence. The holy women supported her in their arms. When pass­ing under an arched gateway of the inner city, through which their way led, they were met by some well disposed people returning from Caiaphas' judgment hall and lamenting the scenes they had witnessed. They approached the holy women and, recognizing the Mother of Jesus, paused a moment to salute her with heartfelt compassion: "O thou most unhappy Mother! Thou most afflicted Mother! O thou most dis­tressed Mother of the Holy One of Israel!" Mary thanked them earnestly, and the holy women with hurried steps continued their sorrowful way.

As they drew near to Caiaphas', the route led to the side opposite the entrance where there was only one surrounding wall, while on the side of the entrance itself, it ran through two courts. Here a fresh and bitter sorrow was in store for the Mother of Jesus and her companions. They had to pass a high, level place upon which, under a light awning, the Cross of Christ was being constructed by torch­light. The enemies of Jesus had already, as soon as Judas went out to betray Him, commanded the Cross to be prepared for Him just as soon as He should be seized, for then Pilate would have no cause for delay. They thought they would deliver the Lord very early to him for sentence of death; they did not expect it to be so long delayed. The Romans had


Life of Jesus Christ

 already prepared the crosses for the two robbers. The workmen, full of chagrin at being obliged to labor during the night, uttered horrible curses and abusive epithets which, with every stroke of the ham­mer, pierced the heart of the most afflicted Mother. Still she prayed for those blind wretches who, curs­ing and swearing, were putting together the instru­ment for their own redemption, and the cruel martyrdom of her Son.

When now they reached the outer court of the house, Mary, in the midst of the holy women and accompanied by John, withdrew into a corner under the gateway leading into the inner court. Her soul, filled with inexpressible sufferings, was with Jesus. She sighed for the door to be opened, and hoped, through John's intervention, to be allowed admit­tance. She felt that this door alone separated her from her Son who, at the second crowing of the cock, was to be led out of the house and into the prison below. At last the door opened and Peter, weeping bitterly, his head covered and his hands outstretched, rushed to meet the crowd issuing forth. The glare of the torches, added to the light shed by the moon, enabled him at once to recognize John and the Blessed Virgin. It seemed to him that conscience, which the glance of the Son had roused and terri­fied, stood before him in the person of the Mother. Oh, how the soul of poor Peter quivered when Mary accosted him with: "O Simon, what about my Son, what about Jesus?" Unable to speak or to support the glance of Mary's eyes, Peter turned away wring­ing his hands. But Mary would not desist. She approached him and said in a voice full of emotion: "O Simon, son of Cephas, thou answerest me not?" Thereupon in the deepest woe, Peter exclaimed: "O Mother, speak not to me! Thy Son is suffering cru­elly. Speak not to me! They have condemned Him to death, and I have shamefully denied Him thrice!" And when John drew near to speak to him, Peter,

The Most Afflicted Mother


 like one crazed by grief, hurried out of the court and fled from the city. He paused not until he reached that cave on Mount Olivet upon whose stones were impressed the marks of Jesus' hands while He prayed. In that same cave our first father Adam did penance, for it was here that he first reached the curse-laden earth.

The Blessed Virgin, in compassion for Jesus in this new pain, that of being denied by the disciple who had been the first to acknowledge Him the Son of the Living God, at these words of Peter sank down upon the stone pavement upon which she was stand­ing by the pillar of the gateway. The marks of her hand or foot remained impressed upon the stone, which is still in existence, though I do not now remember where I have seen it. Most of the crowd had dispersed after Jesus was imprisoned, and the gate of the court was still standing open. Rising from where she had fallen and longing to be nearer her beloved Son, John conducted the Blessed Virgin and the holy women to the front of the Lord's prison. Mary was indeed with Jesus in spirit and knew all that was happening to Him, and He too was with her. But this most faithful Mother wished to hear with her bodily ears the sighs of her Son. She could in her present position hear both the sighs of Jesus and the insults heaped upon Him. The little group could not here remain long unobserved. Magdalen was too greatly agitated to conquer the vehemence of her grief, and though the Blessed Virgin by a spe­cial grace appeared wonderfully dignified and venera­ble in her exterior manifestation of her exceedingly great suffering, yet even while going this short dis­tance she was obliged to listen to words of bitter import, such as: "Is not this the Galilean's Mother? Her Son will certainly be crucified, though not before the festival, unless, indeed He is the greatest of criminals." The Blessed Virgin turned and, guided by the Spirit that enlightened her interiorly, went


Life of Jesus Christ

 to the fireplace in the atrium where only a few of the rabble were still standing. Her companions fol­lowed in speechless grief. In this place of horror, where Jesus had declared that He was the Son of God and where the brood of Satan had cried out: "He is guilty of death," the most afflicted Mother's anguish was so great that she appeared more like a dying than a living person. John and the holy women led her away from the spot. The lookers-on became silent, as if stupefied. The effect produced by Mary's presence was what might be caused by a pure spirit passing through Hell.

The little party proceeded along a way that ran back of the house, and passed that mournful spot upon which the Cross was being prepared. As it was found difficult to pronounce sentence upon Jesus, so was it hard to get ready His Cross. The workmen were obliged frequently to bring fresh wood, because this or that piece proved a misfit or broke under their hands. It was in this way that the various kinds of wood were employed that God willed to be used. I have had many visions on this subject, and I have seen the angels hindering the laborers in their work until they recommenced and finished it as God would have it done. But as I do not clearly remember the several circumstances, I shall pass them over.

19. Jesus Imprisoned

The prison cell into which Jesus was introduced lay under the judgment hall of Caiaphas. It was a small, circular vault. A part of it, I see in existence even now. Only two of the four executioners remained with Jesus. After a short interval they exchanged places with two others, and these again were soon relieved. They had not given the Lord His own gar­ments again. He was clothed with only the filthy mantle of mockery, and His hands were still bound.

When the Lord entered the prison, He prayed His

Jesus Imprisoned


 Heavenly Father to accept all the scorn and ill treatment that He had endured up to that moment and all that He had still to suffer in atonement for the sins of His executioners and for all those that, in future ages, might be in danger of sinning through impatience and anger.

Even in this prison, the executioners allowed Jesus no rest. They bound Him to a low pillar that stood in the center of the prison, though they would not permit Him to lean against it. He was obliged to stagger from side to side on His tired feet, which were wounded and swollen from frequent falls and the strokes of the chain that hung to His knees. They ceased not to mock and outrage Him, and when the two executioners in charge were wearied, two others replaced them, and new scenes of villainy were enacted.

It is not possible for me to repeat all the acts of wickedness performed against the Purest and the Holiest. I am too sick. I am almost dying from com­passion. Ah, how ashamed we should be that through effeminacy and fastidiousness we cannot bear to talk of or to listen to the details of all that the innocent Redeemer patiently suffered for us. Horror seizes upon us on such occasions, similar to that of a mur­derer forced to lay his hands upon the wounds of his victim. Jesus endured all without opening His lips; and it was man, sinful man, who thus raged against His Brother, His Redeemer, and His God. I too am a poor, sinful creature, and it was for my sake that all this suffering fell upon Him. On the Day of Judgment, all things will be laid open. Then shall we see how, in the ill-treatment of the Son of God, when as the Son of Man He appeared in time, we have had a share by the sins we so frequently commit, and which are indeed a kind of continua­tion of and participation in the outrages offered to Jesus by those diabolical miscreants. Ah! If we rightly reflected upon this, we should more earnestly


Life of Jesus Christ

 than ever repeat the words found in so many of our prayer books: "Lord, let me rather die than ever out­rage Thee again by sin!"

Standing in His prison, Jesus prayed uninterrupt­edly for His tormentors. When at last they grew tired of their cruel sport and became somewhat quiet, I saw Jesus leaning against the pillar and surrounded by light. Day was dawning, the day of His infinite sufferings and atonement. The day of our Redemp­tion glanced faintly through an opening overhead in the prison wall and shone upon our holy, ill-used Paschal Lamb, who had taken upon Himself all the sins of the world. Jesus raised His manacled hands to greet the dawning light and clearly and audibly pronounced a most touching prayer to His Father in Heaven. In it He thanked Him for sending this day after which the Patriarchs had sighed, after which He too, since His coming upon earth, had longed so ardently as to break forth into the cry: "I have a Bap­tism wherewith I am to be baptized, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!" How touchingly the Lord thanked for this day, which was to accom­plish the aim of His life, our salvation; which was to unlock Heaven, subdue Hell, open the source of bless­ings to mankind, and fulfill the will of His Father!

I repeated that prayer after Jesus, but I cannot now recall it. I was so sick from compassion, and I had to weep over His pains. As He continued to thank for all the terrible sufferings which He bore for me, I desisted not from imploring: "Ah, give me, give me Thy pains! They are mine by right, they are all for my crimes!" In streamed the light, and Jesus greeted the day in a prayer of thanksgiving so touch­ing that, quite overcome with love and compassion, I repeated His words after Him like a child. It was a scene indescribably sad, sacred, and solemn, a scene full of love—to see Jesus after the horrible turmoil of the night standing radiant with light by that low pillar in the center of His narrow prison cell, and

The Day of Redemption


 hailing with thanksgiving the first ray of dawn on that great day of His propitiatory sacrifice. Ah! That ray of light came to Jesus as a judge might visit a criminal in prison to be reconciled to him before the execution of the sentence. Jesus thanked it so lov­ingly. The executioners, worn out, appeared to be dozing. Suddenly they looked up in wonder, but did not disturb Jesus. They appeared frightened and amazed. Jesus may have been something over an hour in this prison.

20. Judas at the Judgment Hall

While Jesus was in prison, Judas, who until then—like one in despair and driven by the demon—was wandering around the Vale of Hinnom, on the steep southern side of Jerusalem, where lay naught but refuse, bones, and carrion, approached the precincts of Caiaphas' judgment hall. He stole around with the bundle of silver pieces, the price of his treach­ery, still hanging to the girdle at his side. The pieces were linked together by a little chain. All was silent. Judas, unrecognized, asked the guard what was going to happen to the Galilean. They replied: "He has been condemned to death, and He will be crucified." He heard some persons telling one another how dreadfully Jesus had been treated and how patient He was, while others said that at daybreak He was to appear again before the High Council to receive solemn condemnation. While the traitor, in order to escape recognition, gathered up this news here and there, day dawned and things began to be astir both in and around the hall. Judas, to escape being seen, slipped off behind the house. Like Cain, he fled the sight of men. Despair was taking possession of his soul. But what did he meet here? This was the place where the Cross had been put together. The several pieces lay in order side by side, and the workmen, wrapped in their mantles, were lying asleep. The


Life of Jesus Christ

 sky glistened with a white light above the Mount of Olives, as if shuddering at sight of the instru­ment of our Redemption. Judas glanced at it in hor­ror, and fled. He had seen the gibbet to which he had sold the Lord! He fled from the spot and hid, resolved to await the result of the morning trial.

21. The Morning Trial

As soon as it was clear daylight, Caiaphas, Annas, the Ancients and Scribes assembled in the great hall to hold a trial perfectly lawful. Trial by night was not legal. That of the preceding night had been held only because time pressed on account of the feast, and that some of the preparatory attestations might be taken. Most of the members had passed the rest of the night in side chambers in Caiaphas' house, or on couches prepared for them above the judgment hall; but many, such as Nicodemus and Joseph of Ari­mathea, went away and returned at daybreak. It was a large assembly, and business was conducted in a very hurried manner. When now they held council against Jesus in order to condemn Him to death, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and a few others opposed His enemies. They demanded that the case should be postponed till after the festival in order not to give rise to a tumult among the people. They argued also that no just sentence could be rendered upon the charges as yet brought forward, since all the witnesses had contradicted one another. The High Priests and their large party became exasperated by this opposition, and they told their opponents in plain terms that they understood clearly why this trial was so repugnant to them since, perhaps, they themselves were not quite innocent of having taken part in the doctrines of the Galilean. The High Priests even went so far as to exclude from the Council all those that were in any way well-disposed toward Jesus. These members protested against taking any part in its pro­ceedings,

Jesus Brought Before the Council


 left the judgment hall, and betook them­selves to the Temple. From that time forward they never sat in the Council, Caiaphas now ordered poor, abused Jesus, who was consumed from want of rest, to be brought from the prison and presented before the Council, so that after the sentence He might with­out delay be taken to Pilate. The servants hurried tumultuously into the prison, overwhelmed Jesus with words of abuse, loosened His hands, dragged the old tattered mantle from His shoulders, put on Him His own long, woven robe, which was still covered with all kinds of filth, fastened the ropes again around His waist, and led Him forth from the prison. All this was accompanied with blows, by way of hastening the operation, for now as before all took place with vio­lent hurry and horrible barbarity. Like a poor ani­mal for sacrifice, with blows and mockery, Jesus was dragged by the executioners into the judgment hall through the rows of soldiers assembled in front of the house. And as through ill-treatment and ex­haustion He presented so unsightly an appearance, His only covering being His torn and soiled under­garment, the disgust of His enemies filled them with still greater rage. Compassion found no place in any one of those hardened Jewish hearts.

Caiaphas, full of scorn and fury for Jesus stand­ing before him in so miserable a plight, thus addressed Him: "If Thou be the Anointed of the Lord, the Messiah, tell us!" Then Jesus raised His head and with divine forbearance and solemn dignity said: "If I shall tell you, you will not believe Me. And if I shall also ask you, you will not answer Me, nor let Me go. But hereafter the Son of Man shall be sitting on the right hand of the power of God." The members of the Council glanced from one to another and, smiling scornfully, said to Jesus with disdain: "So then, Thou! Thou art the Son of God?" With the voice of Eternal Truth, Jesus answered: "Yes, it is as ye say, I am He!" At this word of the Lord all


Life of Jesus Christ

 looked at one another, saying: "What need we any further testimony? For we ourselves have heard it from His own mouth."

Then all rose up with abusive words against Jesus, "the poor, wandering, miserable, destitute creature of low degree, who was their Messiah, and who would one day sit upon the right hand of God!" They ordered the executioners to bind Him anew, to place the chain around His neck, and to lead Him as a con­demned criminal to Pilate. A messenger had already been dispatched to notify Pilate to hold himself in readiness to judge a malefactor at an early hour, because on account of the coming festival, there was no time to be lost. Some words of dissatisfaction passed among them with regard to the Roman Gov­ernor; they were vexed at having to send Jesus first to him. But they dared not themselves pronounce sentence of death in cases that concerned other than their religious laws and those of the Temple; and as they wanted to bring Jesus to death with a greater appearance of justice, they desired that He should be judged as an offender against the Emperor, and that the condemnation should come principally from the Roman Governor. Soldiers were ranged in the outer court and in front of the house, and many of Jesus' enemies and others of the rabble were already gathered outside. The High Priest and some other members of the Council walked first, then followed the poor Saviour among the executioners and a crowd of soldiers, and lastly came the mob. In this order they descended Sion into the lower city, and pro­ceeded to Pilate's palace. Many of the priests that had assisted at the late trial now went to the Tem­ple, where there was much to be done today.

The Despair of Judas


22. The Despair of Judas

Judas, the traitor, lurking at no great distance, heard the noise of the advancing procession, and words such as these dropped by stragglers hurry­ing after it: "They are taking Him to Pilate. The Sanhedrim has condemned the Galilean to death, He has to die on the Cross. He cannot live much longer, for they have already handled Him shock­ingly. He is patient as one beside himself with hor­ror. He speaks not, excepting to say that He is the Messiah and that He will one day sit at the right hand of God. That is all that He says, therefore He must be crucified. If He had not said that, they could have brought no cause of death against Him, but now He must hang on the cross. The wretch that sold Him was one of His own disciples and he had only a short time previously eaten the Paschal lamb with Him. I should not like to have a share in that deed. Whatever the Galilean may be, He has never delivered a friend to death for money. In truth, the wretch that sold Him deserves to hang!" Then anguish, despair, and remorse began to strug­gle in the soul of Judas, but all too late. Satan insti­gated him to flee. The bag of silver pieces hanging from his girdle under his mantle was for him like a hellish spur. He grasped it tightly in his hand, to prevent its rattling and striking him at every step. On he ran at full speed, not after the proces­sion, not to cast himself in Jesus' path to implore mercy and forgiveness, not to die with Jesus. No, not to confess with contrition before God his awful crime, but to disburden himself of his guilt and the price of his treachery before men. Like one bereft of his senses, he rushed into the Temple, whither several of the Council, as superintendents of the priests whose duty it was to serve, also some of the Elders, had gone directly after the condemnation of Jesus. They glanced wonderingly at one another,


Life of Jesus Christ

 and then fixed their gaze with a proud and scorn­ful smile upon Judas, who stood before them, his countenance distorted by despairing grief. He tore the bag of silver pieces from his girdle and held it toward them with the right hand, while in a voice of agony he cried: "Take back your money! By it ye have led me to betray the Just One. Take back your money! Release Jesus! I recall my contract. I have sinned grievously by betraying innocent blood!" The priests poured out upon him the whole measure of their contempt. Raising their hands, they stepped back before the offered silver, as if to preserve them­selves from pollution, and said: "What is it to us that thou hast sinned? Thinkest thou to have sold innocent blood? Look thou to it! It is thine own affair! We know what we have bought from thee, and we find Him deserving of death, Thou hast thy money. We want none of it!" With these and simi­lar words spoken quickly and in the manner of men that have business on hand and that wish to get away from an importunate visitor, they turned from Judas. Their treatment inspired him with such rage and despair that he became like one insane. His hair stood on end, with both hands he rent asun­der the chain that held the silver pieces together, scattered them in the Temple, and fled from the city.

I saw him again running like a maniac in the Vale of Himmon with Satan under a horrible form at his side. The evil one, to drive him to despair, was whispering into his ear all the curses the Prophets had ever invoked upon this vale, wherein the Jews had once sacrificed their own children to idols. It seemed to him that all those maledictions were directed against himself; as, for instance, "They shall go forth, and behold the carcasses of those that have sinned against Me, whose worm dieth not, and whose fire shall never be extinguished." Then sounded again in his ears: "Cain, where is

The Despair of Judas


 Abel, thy brother? What hast thou done? His blood cries to Me. Cursed be thou upon the earth, a wan­derer and a fugitive!" And when, reaching the brook Cedron, he gazed over at the Mount of Olives, he shuddered and turned his eyes away, while in his ears rang the words: "Friend, whereto hast thou come? Judas, dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?"

Oh, then horror filled his soul! His mind began to wander, and the fiend again whispered into his ear: “It was here that David crossed the Cedron when fleeing from Absalom. Absalom died hanging on a tree. David also sang of thee when he said: ‘And they repaid me evil for good. May he have a hard judge! May Satan stand at his right hand, and may every tribunal of justice condemn him! Let his days be few, and his bishopric let another take! May the iniquity of his father be remembered in the sight of the Lord, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out, because he persecuted the poor with­out mercy and put to death the broken in heart! He has loved cursing, and it shall come unto him. And he put on cursing like a garment, and like water it went into his entrails, like oil into his bones. May it be unto him like a garment which covereth him, and like a girdle may it enclose him forever!’” Amid these frightful torments of con­science, Judas reached a desolate spot full of rub­bish, refuse, and swampy water southeast of Jerusalem, at the foot of the Mount of Scandals where no one could see him. From the city came repeated sounds of noisy tumult, and Satan whis­pered again: "Now He is being led to death! Thou hast sold Him! Knowest thou not how the law runs: he who sells a soul among his brethren, and receives the price of it, let him die the death? Put an end to thyself, thou wretched one! Put an end to thy­self!" Overcome by despair, Judas took his girdle and hung himself on a tree. The tree was one that


Life of Jesus Christ

 consisted of several trunks,1 and rose out of a hol­low in the ground. As he hung, his body burst asun­der, and his bowels poured out upon the earth.

23. Jesus is Taken to Pilate

The inhuman crowd that conducted Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate passed through the most popu­lous part of the city, which was now swarming with Paschal guests and countless strangers from all parts of the country. The procession proceeded northward from Mount Sion, down through a closely built street that crossed the valley, then through a section of the city called Acre, along the west side of the Tem­ple to the palace and tribunal of Pilate, which stood at the northwest corner of the Temple opposite the great forum, or market.

Caiaphas and Annas, with a large number of the Chief Council in robes of state, stalked on in advance of the procession. After them were carried rolls of writing. They were followed by numerous Scribes and other Jews, among them all the false witnesses and the exasperated Pharisees who had been par­ticularly active at the preceding accusation of the Lord. Then after a short intervening distance, sur­rounded by a crowd of soldiers and those six func­tionaries who had been present at the capture, came our dear Lord Jesus bound as before with ropes which were held by the executioners. The mob came streaming from all sides and joined the procession with shouts and cries of mockery. Crowds of people were standing along the way.

Jesus was now clothed in His woven undergar­ment, which was covered with dirt and mud. From His neck hung the heavy, rough chain, which struck His knees painfully as He walked, His hands were fettered as on the day before, and the four execu­tioners

1. Sister Emmerich described this tree in detail, but she was too sick and weak to make herself understood.

Outrage and Mockery


 dragged Him again by the cords fastened to His girdle. By the frightful ill-treatment of the pre­ceding night, He was perfectly disfigured. He tot­tered along, a picture of utter misery—haggard, His hair and beard torn, His face livid and swollen with blows. Amid fresh outrage and mockery, He was dri­ven onward. Many of the mob had been instigated by those in power to scoff in this procession at Jesus' royal entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. They saluted Him in mockery with all kinds of regal titles; cast on the road at His feet stones, clubs, pieces of wood, and filthy rags; and in all kinds of satirical songs and shouts reproached Him with His solemn entrance. The executioners pushed Him and dragged Him by the cords over the objects that impeded His path, so that the whole way was one of uninter­rupted maltreatment.

Not very far from the house of Caiaphas, crowded together in the corner of a building, and waiting for the coming procession, were the blessed and afflicted Mother of Jesus, Magdalen, and John. Mary's soul was always with Jesus, but wherever she could approach Him in body also, her love gave her no rest. It drove her out upon His path and into His footsteps. After her midnight visit to Caiaphas' tribunal, she had in speechless grief tarried only a short time in the Coenac­ulum; for scarcely was Jesus led forth from prison for the morning trial when she too arose. Enveloped in mantle and veil, and taking the lead of John and Mag­dalen, she said: "Let us follow My Son to Pilate. My eyes must again behold Him." Taking a bypath, they got in advance of the procession, and here the Blessed Virgin stood and waited along with the others. The Mother of Jesus knew how things were going with her Son. Her soul had Him always before her eyes, but that interior view could never have depicted Him so disfigured and maltreated as He really was by the wickedness of human creatures. She did, in truth, see constantly His frightful sufferings, but all aglow with


Life of Jesus Christ

 the light of His love and His sanctity, with the glory of that patient endurance with which He was accom­plishing His sacrifice. But now passed before her gaze the frightful reality in all its ignoble signifi­cance. The proud and enraged enemies of Jesus, the High Priests of the true God, in their robes of cere­mony, full of malice, fraud, falsehood, and blasphemy, passed before her, revolving deicidal designs. The priests of God had become priests of Satan. Oh, ter­rible spectacle! And then that uproar, those cries of the populace! And lastly, Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Man, Mary's own Son, disfigured and mal­treated, fettered and covered with blows, driven along by the executioners, tottering rather than walk­ing, jerked forward by the barbarous executioners who held the ropes that bound Him, and overwhelmed by a storm of mockery and malediction! Ah! Had He not been the most wretched, the most miserable in that tempest of Hell unchained, had He not been the only one calm and in loving prayer, Mary would never have known Him, so terribly was He disfigured. He had, besides, only His undergarment on, and that had been covered with dirt by the malicious execu­tioners. As He approached her, she lamented as any Mother might have done: "Alas! Is this my Son? Ah! Is this my Son! O Jesus, my Jesus!" The procession hurried by. Jesus cast upon His Mother a side glance full of emotion. She became unconscious of all around, and John and Magdalen bore her away. But scarcely had she somewhat recovered herself when she requested John to accompany her again to Pilate's palace.

That friends abandon us in our hour of need, Jesus likewise experienced on this journey, for the inhab­itants of Ophel were all assembled at a certain point on the way. But when they beheld Jesus so despised and disfigured, led forward in the midst of the exe­cutioners, they too wavered in their faith. They could not imagine that the King, the Prophet, the Mes­siah,

The People of Ophel


 the Son of God could possibly be in such a sit­uation. They heard their attachment to Jesus jeered at by the Pharisees as they passed. "There, look at your fine King!" they cried. "Salute Him! Ah, now you hang your head when He is going to His coro­nation, when He will so soon mount His throne! It is all over with His prodigies. The High Priest has put an end to His witchcraft." The poor people, who had received so many cures and favors from Jesus, were shaken in their faith by the frightful specta­cle exhibited before them by the most venerable per­sonages of the land, the High Priest and the members of the Sanhedrim. The best of them turned away in doubt, while the viciously inclined, with scoffs and jeers, joined the procession wherever they could, for the avenues of approach were here and there occu­pied by guards appointed by the Pharisees in order to prevent a tumult.

24. The Palace of Pilate and Its Surroundings

At the foot of the northwestern corner of the Tem­ple Mount1 stood the palace of Pilate, the Roman Gov­ernor. It was on somewhat of an elevation, and was reached by a long flight of marble steps. It overlooked a spacious square surrounded by a colonnade under which vendors sat to sell their wares. A guardhouse and four entrances on the north, south, east, and west sides, respectively, broke the uniformity of the colon­nade enclosing the square, which was called the forum, and which on the east stretched over the northwest corner of the Temple Mount. From this end of the forum, one could see as far as Mount Sion. Pilate's palace lay to the south. The forum was somewhat higher than the surrounding streets, which sloped down from it. On the outer side of the colonnade, the

1. Probably close to the Fortress of Antonia, which Sister Emmerich often mentions as standing here.


Life of Jesus Christ

 houses of the neighboring streets adjoined it in some places. Pilate's palace did not adjoin the forum—a spacious court separated the two. On the eastern side of this court was a high arched gateway, which opened into a street that led to the sheep gate on the road to Mount Olivet. On the western side was another gateway like the first, which led to the west of the city through the section Acre and up to Sion. From Pilate's steps one could see across the court and into the forum, which lay to the north and whose entrance at that point was furnished with columns and stone seats, the latter resting against the court­yard wall. As far as these seats and no farther would the Jewish priests approach the judgment hall of Pilate, in order not to incur defilement; a line was even drawn across the pavement of the court to indi­cate the precise boundary. Near the western gate­way of the court was erected in the precincts of the square a large guardhouse, which extending to the forum on the north, and on the south connecting by means of the gateway with the praetorium of Pilate, formed a fore court and an atrium from the forum to the praetorium. That part of Pilate's palace used as a judgment hall was called the praetorium. The guardhouse was surrounded by columns. It had an open court in the center, under which were the pris­ons in which the two robbers were confined. This court was alive with Roman soldiers. In the forum, not far from this guardhouse and near the colon­nade that surrounded it, stood the whipping pillar. Several others were standing in the enclosure of the square. The nearest were used for corporal punish­ment; to the most distant were fastened the beasts for sale. On the forum in front of the guardhouse was a terrace, level and beautiful, something like a place of execution, furnished with stone seats and reached by a flight of stone steps. From this place, which was called Gabbatha, Pilate was accustomed to pronounce solemn sentence. The marble steps that

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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