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

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“Feed My Sheep”

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 denial, again answered: "Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee!" Jesus again addressed him solemnly: "Feed My sheep!" Again I had a vision of the rising Church and her persecutions. I saw the Chief Bishop gathering together the numerous scat­tered Christians, protecting them, providing them with shepherds, and governing them.

After another pause and still walking, Jesus said once more: "Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me?" I saw that Peter grew troubled at the thought that Jesus asked him so often, as if He doubted his love. It reminded him of his thrice-repeated denial, and he answered: "Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee!" I saw that John was thinking: "Oh, what love must Jesus have, and what ought a shepherd to have, since He thrice questions Peter, to whom He confides His flock, concerning his love!" Jesus again said: "Feed My sheep! Amen, amen, I say to thee: when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not. Follow Me!"

Jesus turned again to go on. John walked with Him, for Jesus was saying something to him alone, but what it was I could not hear. I saw that Peter, noticing this, asked the Lord while pointing to John: "Lord, what will become of this man?" Jesus, to rebuke his curiosity, answered: "So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? Follow thou Me!" And Jesus turning again, they went forward.

When Jesus said for the third time: "Feed My sheep!" and that Peter would in his old age be bound and led away, I had a vision of the spreading Church. I saw Peter in Rome bound and crucified, also the martyrdom of the saints. Peter too had a vision of his own martyrdom and of John's future sufferings. While Jesus was predicting his death to Peter, the latter glanced at John and very naturally thought:

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 "Shall not this man whom Jesus loves so dearly be crucified like Him?" Putting the question to Jesus, he was answered with a rebuke. I had at this moment a vision of John's death in Ephesus. I saw him stretch himself out in his grave, address some words to his disciples, and die. After his death I saw his body no longer on earth, but in a place as resplendent as the sun off toward the southeast, and it seemed as if John here received something from above that he transmitted to the earth. I became aware also that some understand these words of Jesus falsely and think they mean: "I will that he so remain," or "If I will that he so remain." But they mean: "If I will that he remains." They therefore that heard these words thought that John would not die. But he did die. I had on this occasion, as I have said, a vision of his death and his subsequent sojourn.

The Apostles and disciples went on a little far­ther with Jesus, who was instructing them upon their future conduct. He then vanished before them eastward of the sea toward Gerasa and they returned to Tiberias, though not by a route that would lead them past the place in which Jesus had given them to eat.

Of the fish that the Apostles caught, none were used at that meal. When Jesus said that they should bring them ashore, Peter threw them in rows at Jesus' feet, that they might be numbered. By this it was acknowledged that they had caught the fish not by themselves and for themselves, but by His miraculous power and for Him. When the fish were deposited on the shore, Jesus said to the Apostles: "Come and eat!" and conducted them over the little hill, or mound, where the sea could no longer be seen, to the mud hut over the furnace. Jesus did not at once place Himself at table, but went to the pan and brought to each a portion of fish on a piece of bread. He blessed the portions and they shone with light. The honey cakes were not in the pan. They

Paradise

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 were already prepared, and lay in a pile one above the other. Jesus distributed them, and when all were served, He too ate with them. There was only one fish in the pan, but it was larger than any they had caught. There was some mystery connected with this meal. The presence of the souls of the Patriarchs and others, their participation in the preparation of the meal, and the subsequent call of Peter, gave me to understand that in this spiritual meal the Church Suffering, the holy souls, should be committed to Peter's care, should be incorporated with the Church Militant, and the Church Triumphant, in short, that they should occupy a third place in the Church as a whole. I cannot explain how this was to be done, but I had in vision this intimate conviction. It was in reference to this also that Jesus closed with the prophecy of Peter's death and John's future.

Jesus next went with the souls of the ancient Patriarchs to the country in which He had driven the demons into the swine. There He released some other souls that had been confined in dreary and desolate regions, for there were many possessed in these parts, and innocent people had here been mur­dered whose souls, according to God's decrees, were here condemned to sojourn.

Jesus went with the souls to Paradise also, which I distinctly saw as beautiful as ever. He explained to them all that their first parents had lost by their fall, and what a happiness it was for them that He could free them from its effects. I saw that the souls sighed indeed after Redemption, though ignorant of the way in which it was to be effected, just as men on earth had only vague notions on the same point. Jesus walked with them and instructed them in a manner suited to their peculiar condition, as He had done in His communications with men upon earth. I again understood that man was created to fill up the places of the angelic choirs that had fallen from Heaven. If the Fall had not taken place, men would

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 have multiplied only until that number was reached, and then creation would have come to an end. But by the Fall, a dispersing, an arbitrary scattering, a transplanting arose mixed up with impurity and darkness; therefore is the punishment of death a necessary consequence, a real benefit, a real kind­ness to man. As to what is said of the end of the world, this much is certain: it will not end until all the wheat is separated from the chaff and those choirs of the fallen angels filled up with it.

I saw Jesus with the souls on great battlefields, explaining to them how they had been led to salva­tion. As He was speaking, I saw visions of the bat­tles and everything connected with them, just as if they were going on under my eyes. I never saw any­one terrified in these ghostlike encounters. It was like a pleasant breeze blowing over the country, and joy abounded in all creatures. Jesus went with the ancient Patriarchs to those regions also into which the Apostles were first to carry the Gospel, and blessed them with His presence. In this way, He vis­ited the whole universe.

When Peter, with the three Apostles and the three disciples, returned that afternoon to the fisherman Aminadab, who for the last two years had had pos­session of Peter's fishery, they took a meal with him. Peter related the miracle that they had witnessed, the apparition of the Lord, the meal, and the abun­dant draught offish, and gave an instruction on leav­ing all things and following the Lord. The old fisherman, on seeing the ship approaching laden with fish and hearing from his sons who accompanied it an account of the same miracle, resolved at once to abandon all his worldly goods. The fish were distrib­uted among the poor, the fishery was handed over to another, and he went that night with his two sons, Isaac and Josaphat, to join the disciples. Their route lay for some distance along the west side of the sea, and then turned off inland. The fisherman's inten­tion

Jesus Appears in Galilee

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 was not perfectly pure. He thought that by leav­ing all he had he would get something in return.

Toward dawn the next morning, the Apostles reached a synagogue of considerable size. It stood in an open field, surrounded by inns, and formed the central point of three villages. A great many dis­ciples were here assembled, to whom Peter related the miracle of the draught of fishes and the meal, and repeated the words of Jesus. He taught in the school, taking for his subject the miraculous draught and the following of the Lord. There was a large gathering of people here, among them many sick, also some possessed. Peter was the only one that healed on this occasion, and he did it in the name of Jesus; the other Apostles and disciples served and taught. All the good and those best disposed toward Jesus' doctrine were here gathered from the whole country around. Peter spoke also of the Lord's Pas­sion and Resurrection, told how the Apostles had seen Him, and invited his hearers to follow Him. The people were carried away by Peter's words, for his whole deportment had undergone an entire change since the last two apparitions. He was full of inspiration, full of gentleness. He so touched the hearts of these people that all wanted to follow him right away, and he had to command many of them to go back to their homes.

10. Jesus Appears to the Five Hundred

From that last place, which was some hours south of Tiberias, Peter went with the other Apostles, the disciples, and many of the people westward to an elevated region which had on the north an extraor­dinarily fertile valley. Even in the depth of winter, it was covered with beautiful, tall grass, for there was a brook running through it; but in hot weather it was parched. Sometimes the whole valley was inun­dated

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 by the rains that flowed down the mountains in streams. Up on this plateau they came to a hill, around which lay houses with gardens behind them extending up its sides. The hill was not much higher than the houses themselves. Five pathways planted with hedges and trees ran up the hill, whose sum­mit afforded ample space for about a hundred peo­ple to walk about freely. From it the view extended far around the country and over the Galilean sea. It was a very beautiful prospect. At no great distance arose the mountain of the multiplication of the loaves, and it was in this region that Jesus deliv­ered His Sermon on the Mount. The well of Caphar­naum was at the base of this elevated plateau. The rest of the Apostles, many of the disciples, and all the holy women were here, besides the Mother of God and Veronica. Peter's wife and daughter, the wives of Andrew and Matthew were come down from Bethsaida, along with many others. The Apostles and disciples knew that they were all to meet here. They scattered around, some under sheds, some in the open air. Peter related to the Apostles and the women the miraculous draught of fishes, and then went with them up the mountain, upon which the people had already been ranged by some of the disciples.

There was on it a hollow place in whose center stood a teacher's pillar overgrown with moss. One could mount into it as into a pulpit. The hollow in which the pillar stood was furnished with steps in tiers, so that the numerous audience could see over one another. Peter placed five Apostles on the five several pathways that led up the mountain, and they taught the people, because all could not hear him, on account of the crowd. He himself stood on the pillar in the center, the Apostles, disciples, and many of the people around him, and published the Pas­sion, the Resurrection, the apparitions of the Lord, and the obligation of following Him.

And now I saw Jesus approaching by the same

Jesus Appears in Galilee

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 route that Peter had come. He went up the moun­tain. The holy women, who were standing on one of the paths, prostrated before Him, and He spoke to them as He passed. As, resplendent with light, He stepped in through the crowd, many shuddered and became alarmed. These did not remain faithful. Then Jesus went to the pillar on which Peter was stand­ing. Peter resigned his place and took up a position opposite Jesus, who now addressed the multitude. He spoke of abandoning one's relatives, of following Him, and of the persecution that they would have to endure. About two hundred of His hearers with­drew when they heard Him talking of such things. All these were gone away, said Jesus. He had spo­ken to them mildly in order not to scandalize the weak. He uttered some very grave words upon the sufferings and persecution of those that would fol­low Him upon earth, and He alluded to their eter­nal reward. He addressed these remarks to the Apostles and disciples, as He had once before done in His last instruction in the Temple. He told them that they should at first remain in Jerusalem. When He should have sent them the Spirit, they should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and should at once establish a Community. Then He told them how they should disperse, form distant Communities, meet together once more, again separate for far-off countries, and receive at last the Baptism of blood.

While Jesus was speaking, the spirits of the ancient Patriarchs encircled the whole assembly, though invisibly. Jesus vanished. His disappearance was like a light suddenly extinguished in their midst. Many fell prostrate on their face. Peter again taught and prayed. This was Jesus' principal apparition in Galilee, where He taught and gave proof to all of His Resurrection. The other apparitions were more secret.

Peter, Thaddeus, Andrew, and James the Less, I

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 saw after that in another place, where they healed many sick whom lately in the region of Sichar they could not cure. Their fault was that, wishing to imi­tate the great dignity and reserve of Jesus in His demeanor, they did something extraordinary, they assumed an air of importance. They did not give humbly what they had received, but they gave it as coming from themselves, therefore success was not theirs. But now I saw them (and the sight touched me greatly) humbling themselves, kneeling down by the sick, and begging their pardon for failing to assist them. The sick were all cured. There were people even from Cedar among them. The cured went with the Apostles to Bethania for the Sabbath.

11. Love Feast (Agape) in Bethania And in the House Of the Last Supper. The Destruction Of the Holy Places By the Jews

I saw the Apostles in Bethania, whither they were followed by about three hundred of the Faithful, among them fifty women. They had given over their goods to the Community. The Blessed Virgin also had come from Jerusalem to Bethania, and was stop­ping in Martha and Magdalen's house. There was a great Love Feast of bread-breaking and passing round of the cup held in the open hall of Lazarus' court.

Peter afterward gave an instruction before a great multitude. There were some spies among the listen­ers. When Peter announced that they should leave all and join the Community, and that he would give them what they needed, the spies laughed derisively. He had nothing himself, they said, He was only a poor fisherman, a vagrant, who could hardly sup­port

Peter, the Rock

409

 his wife at home. Peter still continued to teach, more on the command of Jesus than from any inte­rior, quickening sentiment which the Apostles received only with the Holy Ghost. He now spoke in the assemblies, excepting when the crowd was very great, for then he ordered some of the others to teach on various points. Since his reception of the mantle from Jesus and the meal offish (which indeed was not a natural fish), at which he had received special power, he had become quite another being. All recognized him as the head, the mouth, the hand of the Community. At Jesus' prediction on the seashore respecting Peter's death and John's future, at the command, "Feed My lambs!" I felt that Peter, in his successors, was forever to provide for the guid­ing and feeding of the flocks, while John should stand ever at the source of the water that was to refresh and irrigate the meadow and quicken the sheep. It seemed to me that Peter's influence belonged more to time, more to the exterior condition, and therefore was it divided among his successors; but that John's was more interior, that it consisted more in inspiration, in the sending abroad of inspired mes­sengers. Peter was more like the rock, the edifice; John more like a wind, a cloud, a thunderstorm, a son of thunder, a voice sender. Peter was more like the frame, the cords, and the tone of a harp; John was the sighing of the breeze through its strings, I am unable to express in more significant words what I inwardly perceived.

About fifty soldiers, the same that seized the Lord on Mount Olivet, came from Jerusalem to Bethania. They were guards belonging to the Temple and the High Priests. Some deputies also of the Sanhedrim made their appearance at the Council House in Bethania, and summoned the Apostles before them. Peter, John, and Thomas presented themselves and replied boldly and openly to the charge that they convened assemblies and occasioned disturbance

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 among the people. Soldiers were placed at Lazarus'. The deputies from Jerusalem interrogated the Apos­tles publicly before the Council House. The magis­trates of Bethania opposed them, saying that if they knew anything against those men, they ought to take them into custody, but that they must not dis­turb the peace of the place by the presence of sol­diers. Peter, in order to avoid giving offense, dismissed one hundred and twenty-three of the assembled Faithful. Those from the greatest distance were directed to remain at the dwellings in the neighbor­hood, for they already had all things in common. The fifty women also withdrew and lived together in separate abodes. Peter gave orders for all to return to Bethania before the day of Christ's Ascension.

The Apostles, on leaving Bethania, went to the house of the Last Supper near Jerusalem, where they prayed under the lamp before the Holy of Holies. There were about seven disciples with them. They could no longer reach the house of the Last Supper through the city, for the road on that side had been partly destroyed by the Jews. They had to go to the left of the Temple, and strike into the road taken by Peter and John on Maundy Thursday. There were numerous inns for the accommodation of strangers on this road, and the people living around these parts were not of pure Jewish origin. The Jews had expelled from their society and from public offices all that declared themselves for Jesus and that frat­ernized with the disciples. The places upon which Jesus fell during His sorrowful journey to Calvary, or at which something noteworthy had happened, they cut through with ditches. The ways leading to the sections chiefly inhabited or frequented by the followers of Jesus, they walled up. It appeared to me very strange to see a person caught in such a street as in a blind alley, and have to turn round and come out again. Sometimes the friends of Jesus again opened the ways to Calvary by night. All places

Destruction of the Holy Places

411

 around Jerusalem especially consecrated by the pres­ence or the sufferings of Jesus, and on that account held in particular veneration by His followers, were maliciously laid waste by the Jews. The charming sites upon which Jesus had taught and tarried were rendered impassable and closed in with hedges. In some places they actually dug pitfalls into which the pious pilgrim might fall, but I saw some of those vicious Jews plunging into them themselves. Mount Calvary was rendered unapproachable by hedges and beams. Its summit was dug up and the earth scat­tered like manure over the paths, also over the five grassy, heart-shaped plots that were formed by the pathways running up to the place of crucifixion. When they had taken away the mound that encircled the place of crucifixion, there remained a white stone. In it was a four-cornered hole about an ell deep, in which the cross had been planted. I saw the work­men toiling with crowbars, trying to upturn that stone, but the more they tried, the deeper it sank, so they buried it at last under some rubbish. The Holy Sepulcher alone was left unmolested, for that was Nicodemus' property. Christ's head, while in the tomb, lay toward the east. If a person on leaving the cave went around toward the south, he would have the sun directly above him, and the west on his right.

I was interiorly instructed that all demolishers of representations of the Holy Way of the Cross, of Cru­cifixes, chapels or churches, of ancient devotions, of holy exercises and practices, and in general of all objects that draw us into closer relation with the history of Redemption, whether in building, picture, and writing, or by custom, festival, and prayer, will be judged with the enemies of Jesus' bloody foot­steps and as belonging to them.

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12. The Majesty and Dignity of the Blessed Virgin

On the evening of the following day, I saw the Apostles and twenty of the disciples in the hall at prayer under the lamp. The Blessed Virgin, all the holy women, Lazarus, Nicodemus, Joseph of Ari­mathea, and Obed were present. The prayer over, John addressed the Apostles, and Peter, the disci­ples. They spoke in words full of mystery of their relations to the Mother of the Lord and what she should be to them. During this instruction of the two Apostles, which they based on a communication received from Jesus, I saw the Blessed Virgin hov­ering over the assembly in a shining, outspread man­tle whose folds embraced them all, and on her head descended a crown from the Most Holy Trinity through the open heavens above her. I no longer saw her kneeling outside the hall in prayer, and I had the conviction that Mary was the legitimate head of them all, the temple that enclosed them all. I think this vision was symbolical of what God designed to take place for the Church at this moment through the exposition of the Apostles upon Mary's dignity.

Toward nine o'clock, I saw a meal set in the outer hall. The guests wore festal robes and Mary her wed­ding garment. When at prayer, however, she wore a white mantle and veil. She sat between Peter and John at the table of the Apostles, who were seated, their back to the court, the door of the hall in view. The other women and disciples were seated right and left at separate tables. Nicodemus and Joseph served. Peter carved the lamb, just as Jesus had done the Paschal lamb. At the end of the meal, there was a breaking of bread and a passing around of blessed (not consecrated) bread and wine.

After that I saw the Blessed Virgin with the Apos­tles in the Supper Room. She was standing between Peter and John under the lamp. The Holy of Holies

Mary, a Living Tabernacle

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 was open, and they were praying on their knees before it.

When midnight had sounded, the Blessed Virgin, kneeling, received the Blessed Sacrament from Peter. He carried the Bread that had been consecrated and broken by Jesus on the little plate belonging to the chalice. At that instant I saw Jesus appear to her, though not visible to the others. Mary was pene­trated with light and splendor. She was still in prayer. I saw that the holy Apostles were very reverent in their manner toward her. Mary next went to the lit­tle dwelling on the right of the entrance into the court of the Coenaculum, in which she now had her apartment. Here standing she recited the Magnifi­cat, the Canticle of the three youths in the fiery fur­nace, and the 130th Psalm. The day was beginning to dawn when I saw Jesus entering through the closed doors. He spoke long to her, telling her that she was to help the Apostles, and explaining what she was to be to them. He gave her power over the whole Church, endued her with His strength, His protecting influence, and it was as if His light flowed in upon her, as if He penetrated her through and through. I cannot express it. A covered way of mats across the court to the house of the Last Supper was made for the Blessed Virgin, so that she could go from her little room to the Holy of Holies and the choir of the Apostles and disciples. John also resided in the little dwelling. When Jesus appeared to Mary in her cell, I saw her head encircled by a crown of stars as it had been at her Communion.

It was revealed to me also that as often as the Blessed Virgin communicated, the form of the Bread remained in her unchanged from one Communion to another, so that she always adored in her breast the Sacramental Presence of the God-Man. During a period of persecution, after the stoning of St. Stephen, the Apostles for a time refrained from consecrating. But even then the Church was not without the Blessed

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Sacrament, for It was preserved in the living taber­nacle of Mary's most holy heart. I also learned at the same time that this was a grace entirely special, and that it could be imparted to the Blessed Virgin alone.

13. Increase of the Community

The number of the Faithful continued to increase, Many came to join them, especially from the Galilean Sea, with asses laden with baggage. It kept some busy procuring them quarters. They generally stopped first at the disciples' inn outside Bethania, where the disciples dwelt in turn to receive the strangers, and give them advice and directions. The newcomers were sent by them to Lazarus, who owned many houses and dwellings. Many of them lived at Jerusalem also, in the quarter of Mount Sion. Only a few poor Jews were scattered around here. There were numerous old walls of extraordi­nary thickness, and vacant lots on which I saw asses grazing. Strangers who had come for the feast pitched their tents around this quarter. Besides the house of the Last Supper, there was another on Mount Sion, a very large, dilapidated old building (the Citadel of David), and numbers of the Faithful found shelter under its surroundings. They dwelt in huts, or in lodgings adjoining them. I saw that people dwelt below in the massive walls, while on their top were erected tents of coarse tapestry.

The Chaldeans from Sikdor, whom Jesus had directed to the Centurion of Capharnaum, and who had from there returned to their homes, were now come back again in great numbers with their beasts of burden and baggage. Their beasts and packs were standing in the inner court of the large, dilapidated building. The Jews did not molest them; only the road to the Temple mount and to the quarter of the city belonging to it was entirely walled up on the

The Community

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 side of Mount Sion near the Pool of Bethsaida where the Christians were stopping. The Community was thereby completely separated, cut off from the Jews.

I saw the newcomers resigning, for the good of the Community, quantities of stuffs of fine and coarse, white and yellowish wool, carpets, canvas for tents, all in great rolls. Nicodemus and Joseph managed everything. Garments for religious service and Bap­tism were made out of some, and some was given to the needy, all of whom were cared for.

There was, at the Pool of Bethsaida, an old syn­agogue formerly used only by strangers come for the feast. It stood at some elevation above the pool. The Apostles now appropriated it to their own use. In it the newcomers assembled to be instructed by some of the Apostles. But all these strangers were not at once admitted to the Community, much less to the house of the Last Supper. I saw neither the Apos­tles nor the disciples, nor these newly arrived again frequenting the Temple. True, the Apostles, having received the Holy Ghost, went there after Pentecost, but it was only that they might preach to the assem­bled multitude. Their Temple was the house of the Last Supper that sheltered the Blessed Sacrament. The Mother of all was the Blessed Virgin. The Apos­tles consulted with her, and she was for them like an Apostle herself.

Peter's wife and daughter, Mark's wife, and other women had now come from Bethsaida to Bethania, where they dwelt under tents. They had no commu­nication whatever with the men. They came into the presence of the Apostles only for instruction, and they employed themselves in weaving and twisting long strips of stuff and coarse covers for tents, many of them working at the same time upon one piece. The Blessed Virgin also, along with Martha and Mag­dalen, worked at embroidery, sometimes reclining, sometimes walking about, work in hand. I saw the Blessed Virgin embroidering in delicate colors figures

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 something like an Apostle, or the Lord Himself, on a yellow, brown, or sky-blue ground. The figures were not so enveloped in mantles as formerly. Once they embroidered a representation of the Most Holy Trin­ity. It was like God the Father handing the cross to the Son, who looked like a High Priest. From both proceeded the Holy Ghost, though not in the form of a dove, for instead of wings there were arms. The fig­ures were arranged more in a triangular form than one below the other. I have seen in the earliest churches of that period vestments that Mary had embroidered.

The Apostles themselves lent a hand in prepar­ing the dwellings of the newcomers. They carried to them wood and matting and wicker partitions, and worked hard. The poor were provided with clothing, and even their food was prepared for them, for Lazarus had contributed toward the foundation of a general fund.

The holy women, among whom was the wife of Zacheus, busied themselves in helping the newly arrived women. No one had anything of his own. He that brought something with him gave it up, and he that had nothing, received something. The house of Simon the Leper was crowded with disciples. Simon himself no longer dwelt in it, for he had resigned it to the Community, and he now lived among the brethren. On the flat roof of the house there was formed, by means of movable wicker partitions, a kind of hall in which was placed an orator's chair. It was reached from outside by steps in the wall. They built everywhere, they put up tents and sheds, they made use of every corner of walls and old build­ings. There were also many vacant dwellings both here and in Jerusalem, for numbers of Jews went away after the Crucifixion.

The newly converted and the baptized became so numerous after Pentecost that the Apostles had to negotiate with the Jewish magistrates for procuring

The Community

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 suitable dwelling-places for the newcomers. They sent Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Nathanael, and oth­ers well known among the Jews, to the magistrates who were assembled, about twenty in number, in a hall over the gate of the women's porch. Three places outside the city and distant from the usual routes were assigned the converts: one to the west of Betha­nia, between it and Bethphage, where some huts and sheds were already put up; and two others south of Bethania, distant also from the highroads. In ex­change for these, the disciples were to vacate the inn on the road outside Bethania, nor should they live permanently or put up at the inn beyond Jerusalem and on the road to Bethlehem, where Mary had stopped before her Purification in the Temple. I saw the magistrates indicating from the Temple the regions named, the deputies carrying back the news to the Community, some parties of the Faithful going thither, and Peter and John pointing out to them sites for building. Supplies of all kinds were trans­ported on asses, and water in great leathern bottles, to the place between Bethania and Bethphage, where there was no water. But when the Christians began to dig a well, water at once gushed forth. I saw Simon of Bethania, who had had a household of his own and understood domestic economy, under an awning near the Pool of Bethsaida, and he appeared to be noting down on a roll of parchment the goods and chattels of the people, who had brought with them sheep, goats, doves, and great birds with red beaks and legs. All were distributed to those in need of them, also covers and woolen stuffs for clothing. Admirable order was observed in this distribution. The women received their portion through the hands of women; the men, from men. There were people from the most widely scattered regions, who did not understand one another's language, but who with the greatest love handed over their property for distri­bution. The Apostles alone understood all.

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Magdalen and Martha gave up their houses at Bethania to the new converts, and Lazarus deliv­ered over all that he owned to the Community. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea did the same. They assumed the charge of providing for the Com­munity and distributing the alms. But when they were ordained priests, Peter appointed deacons in their place.

14. The Days Immediately Preceding the Ascension

Jesus communicated with the Apostles quite nat­urally in those last days. He ate and prayed with them, walked with them in many directions, and repeated all that He had before told them. He appeared also to Simon of Cyrene as he was work­ing in a garden between Bethphage and Jerusalem. Jesus, resplendent with light, approached him as if floating in the air. Simon fell on his knees and kissed the ground at Jesus' feet, who signed to him with His hand to keep silence, and then vanished. Some others that were working nearby likewise saw Jesus, and they too fell on their knees like Simon. When Jesus was walking with the Apostles around Jerusalem, some of the Jews perceived the appari­tion, and were terrified. They ran to hide them­selves, or to shut themselves up in their houses. Even the Apostles and disciples accompanied Him with a certain degree of timidity, for there was in Him something too spiritual for them. Jesus appeared also in other places, Bethlehem and Nazareth for instance, to those especially with whom He and His Blessed Mother had formerly had intercourse. He scattered blessings everywhere, and they that saw Him believed and joined the Apostles and disciples.

On the last day but one before the Ascension, I saw Jesus with five of the Apostles approaching Bethania from the east, whither the Blessed Virgin

Jesus Takes Leave of Lazarus

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 also, with other holy women, was coming from Jerusalem. Many of the Faithful were gathered around Lazarus'. They knew that Jesus was soon to leave them, and they wanted to see Him once more and bid Him goodbye. When Jesus had entered the house, these people were admitted into the spacious courtyard and the gates closed. Jesus took with the Apostles and disciples some refreshments standing, and to the latter, who were weeping bitterly, He said: "Why do ye weep, dear brethren? Behold this Woman! She is not weeping!" and He pointed to His Blessed Mother, who was standing with the holy women at the entrance of the hall. A long table was set in the court for the numerous strangers. Jesus went out to them, blessed little rolls, and distributed them, after which He gave them a sign to retire. And now His Blessed Mother humbly approached, to present to Him a petition. But Jesus, checking her with a ges­ture of His hand, told her that He could not grant it. Mary thanked most humbly, and withdrew.

Jesus took a singularly touching leave of Lazarus. He gave him a shining morsel, blessed him, and extended to him His hand. Lazarus, who generally remained hidden in his own house, did not accom­pany Jesus when He left for Jerusalem with the Apostles and disciples. They took the Palm Sunday route, though with many turnings into side ways. They went in four companies, allowing considerable distance to intervene between them. The Eleven went on with Jesus; the holy women followed last. I saw Jesus shining with light, a conspicuous figure in their midst. The marks of His wounds were not always visible to me, but when I did see them, they were brilliant as the sun. All were anxious and greatly depressed. Some were in tears; others were talking to one another, saying: "He has often before vanished from us," for they did not want to think that He would really leave them. Peter and John alone appeared more calm, as if they understood the

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Life of Jesus Christ

 Lord better, for Jesus often spoke to them interiorly and explained to them many things. He often dis­appeared and then suddenly reappeared in their midst, as if desirous of preparing them for His final departure.

The way ran past charming little gardens where Jews were busy weaving and clipping the hedges, on which lovely bushes covered with flowers were growing in the form of pyramids. The laborers often covered their faces with their hands, fell to the earth, or fled among the shrubbery, I know not whether from fright and terror or from deep emotion. I do not know whether they saw the Lord, or whether they could not see Him. Once I heard Jesus saying to the disciples: "After all these places shall have been converted to the Faith by your preaching, and after others shall have driven the Faithful away and laid all things waste—then shall come a sad time. Ye do not as yet comprehend Me, but when ye will for the last time celebrate with Me the Last Sup­per, then ye will understand Me better."

Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea had prepared a meal, which was served in the entrance hall of the house of the Last Supper. The hall opened on all sides, and a passage ran from the left through the courtyard, which was planted with trees, to the little house with the kitchen hearth built near the surrounding wall. The covered walks on the right were opened into the courtyard, and here were set the tables for the disciples. They consisted of long planks only. The table for Jesus and The Eleven was prepared in the entrance hall. On it stood little mugs and a large dish ornamented with delicate foliage, in which lay a fish along with some small rolls. On the disciples' table were fruits and three-cornered dishes containing honeycombs. Flat bone knives were placed around. Near every dish lay three slices of bread, for there was one dish for every three of the guests.

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

This document is: ACE_4_0401

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