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

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Jesus’ Last Love Feast

421

The sun had set and it was beginning to grow dark when Jesus drew near with the Apostles. The Blessed Virgin, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea received Him at the gate. He went with His Blessed Mother into her little abode, while the Apostles pro­ceeded to the entrance hall. When the disciples and holy women arrived somewhat later, Jesus joined The Eleven in the hall. The table, only one long side of which they occupied, was higher than those in general use. The Apostles reclined on cross-seats, but Jesus stood. At His side reclined John, who was more cheerful than the others. He was just like a child in disposition, now quickly troubled, and again full of consolation and joy. The lamp over the table was lighted. Nicodemus and Joseph served. I saw the Blessed Virgin standing at the entrance of the Supper Room. Jesus blessed the fish, the bread, and the herbs, and passed them around with words of earnest instruction. I saw His words like rays of light issuing from His mouth and entering that of the Apostles, into some quickly, into others slowly, according to their greater or less desire, their greater or less hunger after the teaching of Jesus. At the end of the meal, Jesus blessed the cup, drank from it, and then passed it around. This, however, was not a consecration.

The love feast over, all assembled outside the hall under the trees. Jesus addressed to them a long instruction, and ended by giving them His blessing. To His Blessed Mother, who was standing in front of the holy women, He extended His hand. All were very much affected, and I felt that Magdalen ardently longed to embrace Jesus' feet. But she restrained her desire, for His demeanor was so grave that He inspired holy fear. When He left them, they wept very much. It was not, however, an exterior weep­ing; it was like the weeping of the soul. I did not see the Blessed Virgin shedding tears. I never saw her actually weeping excepting when she lost Jesus,

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 a Boy of twelve, on her return journey from the Paschal festival, and again when she stood under the cross after His death. The assembly broke up before midnight.

15. Jesus' Ascension into Heaven

On the night before His wonderful Ascension, I saw Jesus in the inner hall of the house of the Last Supper with the Blessed Virgin and The Eleven. The disciples and the holy women were praying in the side halls. In the Supper Room the Communion Table was standing under the lighted lamp, and on it the Paschal Bread and chalice. The Apostles were in their robes of ceremony. The Blessed Virgin was oppo­site Jesus who, as on Maundy Thursday, was conse­crating bread and wine.

I saw the Blessed Sacrament entering the mouths of the Apostles in the form of a luminous body, and Jesus' words at the consecration of the wine flow­ing into the chalice like a stream of red light.

During the last days, Magdalen, Martha, and Mary Cleophas received the Blessed Sacrament.

Toward morning, Matins were solemnly recited as usual under the lamp, Jesus again imparted to Peter jurisdiction over the others, again laid upon him the mantle of which I have spoken, and repeated what He had said on the mountain by the Sea of Tiberias. He gave some instructions also on Baptism and the blessing of water. During Matins and the instruc­tions, I saw seventeen of the most confidential dis­ciples standing in the hall behind the Blessed Virgin.

Before leaving the house, Jesus presented the Blessed Virgin to the Apostles and disciples as their Mother, their Mediatrix, and their Advocate, and she bestowed upon Peter and all the rest her blessing, which they received bowing very low. At that instant I beheld Mary raised upon a throne, a sky-blue man­tle around her, a crown upon her head. This was

The Day of the Ascension

423

 symbolical of her dignity as Queen of Mercy.

At dawn of day Jesus left the house of the Last Supper with The Eleven. The Blessed Virgin fol­lowed them closely; the disciples, at some little dis­tance. They passed through the streets of Jerusalem where all was quiet, the inhabitants still buried in sleep. At each moment the Lord became more earnest, more rapid in speech and action. On the preceding evening He appeared to me much more sympathetic in His words to His followers. I recognized the route that they took as that of the Palm Sunday proces­sion. I saw that Jesus went with them over all the paths trodden by Him during His Passion, in order to inspire them by His teachings and admonitions with a lively appreciation of the fulfillment of the Promise. In every place in which some scene of His Passion had been enacted, He paused a moment to instruct them upon the accomplishment of the words of the Prophets, upon the Promises, and to explain the symbolical relation of the place to the same. On those sites which the Jews had laid waste, over which they had thrown heaps of stones, through which they had opened ditches, or which they had rendered impassable in other ways in order to prevent their being venerated, Jesus ordered the disciples in His train to go on ahead and clear away all obstructions, which they quickly did. Then bowing low as He passed, they allowed Him to take the lead again while they followed. Just before the gate that led out to Mount Calvary, they turned aside from the road to a delightful spot shaded by trees. It was one of several places of prayer that lay around Jerusalem. Jesus paused to teach and comfort the little flock. Meanwhile, day dawned brightly; their hearts grew lighter, and they even began to think that Jesus would still remain with them.

New crowds of believers arrived, but I saw no women among them. Jesus again took the road that led to Mount Calvary and the Holy Sepulcher. But

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 He did not follow it up to those points; He turned off and went around the city to the Mount of Olives. Some of the places on these roads consecrated to prayer and sanctified by Jesus' teaching, and which had been laid waste or hedged in by the Jews, were now restored by the disciples. The tools for their work they found in the gardens on their way. I remember round shovels that looked like our bake oven shovels.

Jesus paused awhile with the crowd in an exceed­ingly cool and lovely spot covered with beautiful long grass, I was surprised to see that it was nowhere trodden down. The multitude that here surrounded Jesus was so great that I could no longer count them. Jesus spoke to them a very long time, like one who is about closing his discourse and coming to a con­clusion. His hearers divined that the hour of part­ing was near, and yet they had no idea that the time still intervening was to be so short. The sun was already high, was already far above the horizon. I know not whether I express it rightly, for in that country it seems to me the sun is not so high as it is here. It always appears to me as if it were nearer to one. I do not see it as here, rising like a small globe. It shines there with far more brilliancy. Its rays are, on the whole, not so fine. They often look like a broad pathway of light, Jesus and His follow­ers tarried here fully an hour. By this time the peo­ple in Jerusalem were all on the alert, amazed at the crowds of people they descried around Mount Olivet. Out of the city, too, crowds were pouring in bands. They consisted of all that had gone out to meet Jesus on Palm Sunday. The narrow roads were soon thronged, though around Jesus and His own, the space was left free.

The Lord went only to Gethsemani and from the Garden of Olives up to the summit of the mount. He did not set foot upon the path on which He had been arrested. The crowd followed as in a proces­sion,

Jesus' Radiant Ascension

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 ascending by the different paths that encircled the mount. Many even pressed through the fences and garden hedges. Jesus at each instant shone more brightly and His motions became more rapid. The disciples hastened after Him, but it was impossible to overtake Him. When He reached the top of the mountain, He was resplendent as a beam of white sunlight. A shining circle, glancing in all the colors of the rainbow, fell from Heaven around Him. The pressing crowd stood in a wide circle outside, as if blending with it. Jesus Himself shone still more brightly than the glory about Him. He laid the left hand on His breast and, raising the right, turned slowly around, blessing the whole world. The crowd stood motionless. I saw all receive the benediction. Jesus did not impart it with the flat, open hand, like the rabbis, but like the Christian Bishops. With great joy I felt His blessing of the whole world.

And now the rays of light from above united with the glory emanating from Jesus, and I saw Him dis­appearing, dissolving as it were in the light from Heaven, vanishing as He rose. I lost sight of His head first. It appeared as if one sun was lost in another, as if one flame entered another, as if a spark floated into a flame. It was as if one were gazing into the full midday splendors of the sun, though this light was whiter and clearer. Full day compared with this would be dark. First, I lost sight of Jesus' head, then His whole person, and lastly His feet, radiant with light, disappeared in the celes­tial glory. I saw innumerable souls from all sides going into that light and vanishing on high with the Lord. I cannot say that I saw Him becoming appar­ently smaller and smaller like something flying up in the air, for He disappeared as it were in a cloud of light.

Out of that cloud, something like dew, like a shower of light fell upon all below, and when they could no longer endure the splendor, they were seized with

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 amazement and terror. The Apostles and disciples, who were nearest to Jesus, were blinded by the daz­zling glare. They were forced to lower their eyes, while many cast themselves prostrate on their faces. The Blessed Virgin was standing close behind them and gazing calmly straight ahead.

After some moments, when the splendor began to diminish, the whole assembly in deep silence—their souls swayed by varying emotions—gazed fixedly up at the brightness, which continued visible for a long time, I saw two figures appear in this light. They looked small at first, but seemed to grow larger and larger as they descended. They were clothed in long white garments, and each held a staff in one hand. They looked like Prophets. They addressed the mul­titude, their voices like trumpets resounding loud and clear. It seemed to me that they could surely be heard in Jerusalem. They made no motion, stood perfectly still, and said: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking up to Heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come as you have seen Him going into Heaven."1 After these words the figures vanished. The brightness remained for a while longer and then disappeared like day­light retiring before the darkness of night. The dis­ciples were quite out of themselves, for they now comprehended what had happened to them. The Lord had left them and gone to His Heavenly Father! Many, stunned by grief and amazement, fell to the earth. When the glare had entirely died away, they arose again, and the others gathered around them. They formed groups, the Blessed Virgin stepped for­ward, and so they stood for some time longer recover­ing themselves, talking together, and gazing upward. At last, the Apostles and disciples went back to the house of the Last Supper, and the Blessed Virgin

1. These words were not repeated by Sister Emmerich. She merely said: "They spoke some words." The writer has transcribed them from the Acts of the Apostles.

Peter Takes The Lord's Place

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 followed. Some were weeping like children that refuse to be comforted, others were lost in thought. The Blessed Virgin, Peter, and John were very calm and full of consolation. I saw, however, some among the different groups who remained unmoved, unbe­lieving, and full of doubts. They withdrew from the rest.

On the top of Mount Olivet, from which Jesus as­cended, there was a level rock. On it He stood addressing the multitude before He blessed them and the cloud of light received Him. His footsteps remained impressed on the stone, and on another the mark of one hand of the Blessed Virgin. It was past noon before the crowd entirely dispersed.

The Apostles and disciples now felt themselves alone. They were at first restless and like people forsaken. But by the soothing presence of the Blessed Virgin they were comforted, and putting entire con­fidence in Jesus' words that she would be to them a mediatrix, a mother, and an advocate, they regained peace of soul.

A certain fear stole over the Jews in Jerusalem. I saw many closing doors and windows, others gath­ering together in groups. During the last days, they had experienced some peculiar feelings of alarm, which today were greatly intensified.

On the following days I saw the Apostles always together and the Blessed Virgin with them in the house of the Last Supper. At the last repast of Jesus, and ever after, I saw Mary when at prayer and the breaking of bread always opposite Peter, who now took the Lord's place in the prayer circle and at meals. I received at the time the impression that Mary now held a position of high importance among the Apostles, and that she was placed over the Church.

The Apostles kept themselves very much aloof. I saw no one out of the great crowd of Jesus' follow­ers going to them into the house of the Last Supper.

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 They guarded more against persecution from the Jews and gave themselves up to more earnest and well regulated prayer than did the disciples dispersed in bands throughout the other apartments of the same house. The latter went in and out more freely. I saw many of them also very devoutly traversing the way of the Lord by night.

At the election of Mathias to the Apostolate, I saw Peter in the house of the Last Supper. He was clothed in his episcopal mantle and was standing in the cen­ter of the circle formed by the Apostles. The disci­ples were gathered in the open side halls. Peter proposed Joses Barsabas and Mathias, both of whom were standing off among the bands of disciples. There were some among these that wanted to be chosen in Judas' place. The two mentioned had never thought of such a thing, and had no desires on the subject. N ext day the lots were cast, Barsabas and Mathias being excluded from the assembly. When it was found that the lot had fallen on Mathias, someone went into the disciples' apartments and led him to the Apostles.

16. The Holy Day of Pentecost

The whole interior of the Last Supper room was, on the eve of the feast, ornamented with green bushes in whose branches were placed vases of flowers. Gar­lands of green were looped from side to side. The screens that cut off the side halls and the vestibule were removed; only the gate of the outer court was closed. Peter in his episcopal robe stood at a table covered with red and white under the lamp in front of the curtained Holy of Holies. On the table lay rolls of writing. Opposite him in the doorway lead­ing from the entrance hall stood the Blessed Virgin, her face veiled, and behind her in the entrance hall stood the holy women. The Apostles stood in two rows turned toward Peter along either side of the

The Descent of The Holy Ghost

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 hall, and from the side halls, the disciples ranged behind the Apostles took part in the hymns and prayers. When Peter broke and distributed the bread that he had previously blessed, first to the Blessed Virgin, then to the Apostles and disciples who stepped forward to receive it, they kissed his hand, the Blessed Virgin included. Besides the holy women, there were in the house of the Last Supper and its dependencies one hundred and twenty of Jesus' fol­lowers.

After midnight there arose a wonderful movement in all nature. It communicated itself to all present as they stood in deep recollection, their arms crossed on their breast, near the pillars of the Supper Room and in the side halls, silently praying. Stillness per­vaded the house, and silence reigned throughout the whole enclosure.

Toward morning I saw above the Mount of Olives a glittering white cloud of light coming down from Heaven and drawing near to the house. In the dis­tance it appeared to me like a round ball borne along on a soft, warm breeze. But coming nearer, it looked larger and floated over the city like a luminous mass of fog until it stood above Sion and the house of the Last Supper. It seemed to contract and to shine with constantly increasing brightness, until at last with a rushing, roaring noise as of wind, it sank like a thunder cloud floating low in the atmosphere. I saw many Jews, who espied the cloud, hurrying in ter­ror to the Temple. I myself experienced a childlike anxiety as to where I should hide if the stroke were to follow, for the whole thing was like a storm that had suddenly gathered, that instead of rising from the earth came down from Heaven, that was light instead of dark, that instead of thundering came down with a rushing wind. I felt that rushing motion. I t was like a warm breeze full of power to refresh and invigorate.

The luminous cloud descended low over the house,

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 and with the increasing sound, the light became brighter. I saw the house and its surroundings more clearly, while the Apostles, the disciples, and the women became more and more silent, more deeply recollected. Afterward there shot from the rushing cloud streams of white light down upon the house and its surroundings. The streams intersected one another in sevenfold rays, and below each in­tersection resolved into fine threads of light and fiery drops. The point at which the seven streams intersected was surrounded by a rainbow light, in which floated a luminous figure with outstretched wings, or rays of light that looked like wings, attached to the shoulders. In that same instant the whole house and its surroundings were penetrated through and through with light. The five-branched lamp no longer shone. The assembled Faithful were ravished in ecstasy. Each involuntarily threw back his head and raised his eyes eagerly on high, while into the mouth of everyone there flowed a stream of light like a burning tongue of fire. It looked as if they were breathing, as if they were eagerly drinking in the fire, and as if their ardent desire flamed forth from their mouth to meet the entering flame. The sacred fire was poured forth also upon the disciples and the women present in the antechamber, and thus the resplendent cloud gradually dissolved as if in a rain of light. The flames descended on each in different colors and in different degrees of intensity. After that effusion of heavenly light, a joyous courage pervaded the assembly. All were full of emotion, and as if intoxicated with joy and confidence. They gath­ered around the Blessed Virgin who was, I saw, the only one perfectly calm, the only one that retained a quiet, holy self-possession. The Apostles embraced one another and, urged by joyous confidence, ex­claimed: "What were we? What are we now?" The holy women too embraced. The disciples in the side halls were similarly affected, and the Apostles has­tened

Peter Imposes Hands on Five Apostles

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 out to them. A new life full of joy, of confi­dence, and of courage had been infused into all. Their joy found vent in thanksgiving. They ranged for prayer, gave thanks and praised God with great emotion. The light meanwhile vanished. Peter deliv­ered an instruction to the disciples, and sent sev­eral of them out to the inns of the Pentecost guests.

Between the house of the Last Supper and the Pool of Bethsaida there were several sheds and pub­lic lodging houses for the accommodation of guests come up for the feast. They were at this time very numerous, and they too received the grace of the Holy Ghost. An extraordinary movement pervaded all nature. Good people were roused interiorly, while the wicked became timid, uneasy, and still more stiff-necked. Most of these strangers had been encamped here since the Pasch, because the distance from their homes rendered a journey to and fro between that feast and Pentecost altogether impracticable. They were become, by all that they had seen and heard, quite intimate and kindly disposed toward the dis­ciples, so that the latter, intoxicated with joy, announced to them the Promise of the Holy Ghost as fulfilled. Then too did they become conscious of a change within their own souls and, at the sum­mons of the disciples, they gathered around the Pool of Bethsaida.

In the house of the Last Supper, Peter imposed hands on five of the Apostles who were to help to teach and baptize at the Pool of Bethsaida. They were James the Less, Bartholomew, Mathias, Thomas, and Jude Thaddeus. The last-named had a vision during his ordination. It seemed to him that he was clasping to his breast the Body of the Lord.

Before departing for the Pool of Bethsaida to conse­crate the water and administer Baptism, they received on their knees the benediction of the Blessed Virgin. Before Jesus' Ascension, this ceremony was performed standing. On the following days I saw

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 this blessing given whenever the Apostles left the house, and also on their return. The Blessed Virgin wore on such occasions, and generally when she appeared among the Apostles in her post of dignity, a large white mantle, a creamy white veil, and a scarf of sky-blue stuff that hung from her head down both sides to the ground. It was ornamented with embroidery, and was held firmly on the head by a white silken crown.

Baptism at the Pool of Bethsaida had been arranged by Jesus Himself for this day's feast, and the disciples had, in consequence, made all kinds of preparations at the pool, as well as in the old syn­agogue that they had appropriated for their own use. The walls of the synagogue were hung with tapestry, and from the building down to the pool a covered tent-way was erected.

The Apostles and disciples went in solemn proces­sion, two by two, from the house of the Last Supper to the Pool. Some of the disciples carried a leathern bottle of holy water and an asperges. The five Apos­tles upon whom Peter had imposed hands separated, each taking one of the five entrances to the pool, and addressed the people with great enthusiasm. Peter stepped upon the teacher's chair that had been pre­pared for him in the third circle of the Pool, count­ing from the outside one. This terrace was the broadest. The hearers filled all the terraces of the pool. When the Apostles spoke, the multitude hear­kened in amazement, for everyone listened to what sounded to him his own language. It was owing to this astonishment of the people that Peter lifted up his voice, as is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. (Acts 2:14-40).

As many presented themselves for Baptism, Peter, assisted by John and James the Less, solemnly blessed the water. The holy water, which they had brought in a leathern bottle from the house of the Last Supper, Peter sprinkled in fine streams far over

The Apostles Preaching and Baptizing

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the pool with an asperges. The preparations for Bap­tism and the Baptism itself occupied the whole day. The neophytes approached Peter's chair in bands and by turns, the other Apostles preaching and baptiz­ing at the entrances. The Blessed Virgin and the holy women were busy in the synagogue near the pool, distributing the white garments to the neophytes. The sleeves of these garments were bound over the hands with black bands, which were taken off after Baptism and laid together in a pile. The neophytes leaned upon a railing. The water was scooped up in a basin and then with the hand poured three times over the head. It flowed again through a channel into the pool below. One basin held enough water for about ten couples. Every two baptized gave place to two neophytes upon whom they laid their hands as sponsors. Those baptized here today were they that had received John's baptism only. The holy women too were baptized. The people added to the Commu­nity today amounted to three thousand. That evening the Apostles and disciples returned to the house of the Last Supper, where they took a repast and dis­tributed blessed bread. Then came the evening prayer.

The Jews offered today in the Temple little bas­kets containing two small loaves made of this year's grain. The baskets were deposited one upon another, until they formed high heaps, and they were after­ward distributed to the poor. Once I saw that the High Priest had in his hand a bunch of ears, thick like maize. Something like roots also was offered, and some kind of fruit unknown to me. The strangers under the sheds had asses laden with them, and the people made purchases of them. The bread was of their own baking. The Apostles offered only the two loaves through Peter.

On the following days also, preaching and baptiz­ing went on at the pool. Before the Apostles and dis­ciples went down for these duties, they received the blessing of the Blessed Virgin.

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17. The Church at the Pool of Bethsaida

The Pool of Bethsaida lay in a ravine of the val­ley that separated Mount Sion from the Temple and the rest of that quarter of the city, and which declined eastward into the Valley of Josaphat. It seemed to have been constructed in such a way as to cut off the view of the Temple on the west, for on one side one could not see all around, as could be done on the others. The way to it was indeed broad enough, but the walls were partly overturned and the road was full of grass and sedge. Just at that point it ran down into a ravine which became greener in pro­portion to its depth. From the pool could be seen off to the southwest an angle of the Holy of Holies. The sheep pool lay to the north of the Temple near the cattle market, and was entirely enclosed by a wall. From the house of the Last Supper, which stood on the eastern height of Mount Sion, the way led to the Pool of Bethsaida first to the east around the height of Sion, then wound in a half-circle to the north, then turned to the west, and lastly eastward again down into a curve. The whole of this quarter of Sion as far as the pool and across down into the Valley of Josaphat, presented an appearance of des­olation. In the dilapidated buildings were formed dwellings for the poor, on the slopes grew groves of juniper trees, and the hollows were covered with high grass and reeds. The Jews shunned this locali­ty, so the new converts now began to settle in it.

The Pool of Bethsaida was oval in form and sur­rounded by five terraces, like an amphitheater. Five flights of steps led down to the pool from these ter­races to the little trough like skiffs in which the sick who were seeking a cure were laid when waiting to be sprinkled by the bubbling waters. There was also in the pool a copper pump, which arose to nearly the height of a man above the surface of the water

The Pool of Bethsaida

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 and was about as large around as a churn. A little wooden bridge with a railing led to it. I saw by the bridge a tube and piston, which were connected with the pump. When the piston was forced down, a valve was opened and a stream of water squirted out of the pump. By changes made in the opening, the stream could be increased or diminished and made to flow in different directions. The top of the pump could be closed also, and from side jets the streams could be made to spurt all around, like water from a watering pot. I often saw the sick in the skiffs rowing up to the pump to receive the streams over them. The entrance to the Pool was usually closed. It was opened for the sick only. This pump was out of use, and on the feast of Pentecost was not yet repaired, but a few days later I saw it restored. The terrace walls contained little vaulted halls in which were stone benches hollowed out in the form of a trough. They were for the accommodation of the sick. They could from all sides look down upon the pool, to see whether the waters were being stirred or not. The lowest terrace, the one nearest the pool, was provided with little parapets, or bars. The bottom of the pool was covered with shining white sand, through which three springs bubbled up and some­times jetted above the surface of the water. The blood of the animals offered in sacrifice flowed through pipes under the altar in the Temple down into the Pool. With its surroundings and the old buildings in its vicinity, the pool covered a very large area. Before reaching it, one had to pass a wall through which there were only three openings. To the east of the pool, the valley made a steep descent, but westward, back of the pool, it was less deep and was spanned by a little bridge. The north side too was steep and overgrown, and on the northeast was a road con­ducting to the Temple. But it was now gone to ruin and altogether impracticable. Little footpaths, how­ever, led into the city, so that one did not have to

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 go by the public gates. Jesus had often made use of these paths.

The whole pool had hitherto been out of use, for it as well as its surroundings had been allowed to fall to decay. Like many old sanctuaries of our own day, it was quite neglected. Only some poor people with lively faith still held it in veneration and vis­ited it. After the healing of the paralytic by Jesus, the pool was again more frequented, though all the more hateful to the Pharisees. The outer walls were in some places quite in ruins, and many parts of the terraces were in a dilapidated condition. But now all was repaired. The fallen walls were partly replaced by movable screens, and from the pool to the synagogue was raised a covered tent-way.

The old synagogue, which was now erected into a church, was less hemmed in by buildings than the house of the Last Supper, whose court on one side adjoined a row of houses. I saw the Apostles and disciples, after the Feast of Pentecost, working con­tinually at the interior arrangements of the Church. Peter, John, Andrew, and James the Less took turns in preaching at three different places around the pool and on the third terrace, upon which was Peter's chair of instruction. A great many of the Faithful were always in attendance, and I often saw them prostrate on the ground in ardent prayer. Words can­not say what activity reigned throughout the whole Community at all times. Weaving, plaiting, and every kind of work for the new church and for the poor were carried on.

The church was a large, long, quadrangular edi­fice with real windows high up in the walls. By means of steps in the wall, one could mount up on the outside to the flat roof, which was surrounded by a gallery. On it were three little cupolas that could be opened like draught holes. The inside, on the two lengths and one of the ends, was furnished with stone benches for the congregation, and the

The Church at the Pool of Bethsaida

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 building was in all respects turned into a church. At one end was the altar, at such a distance from the wall that sufficient space was left behind for a sacristy, which was formed by wickerwork screens that reached from the altar to the side walls. These screens were covered in front with fine white stuff, on the other side with coarser. The altar was portable. It consisted of a long, four-cornered piece of wood covered, and resting on three steps. On either side, however, there was only a single step, which could be opened to allow carpets to be laid in, and the back of the altar likewise opened to receive the vest­ments. On it was a bell-shaped tabernacle with a fine white cover closed in front by two little metal­lic shields. There was a knob on top, by which it could be lifted. On either side of the tabernacle were branched lamps with burning wicks. The whole altar was enclosed by a white curtain with colored stripes, which was supported by a canopy. It hung down only a little below the top of the altar. The canopy itself formed a niche and depended by five straps from the hand of a figure embroidered by the holy women. It represented an old man in the robes of a High Priest, a triangular halo around the head. It stood in a bowed posture, as if looking down through an opening in the cover, one hand outstretched as if giving a blessing, the other grasping the five straps of the canopy. The curtain was in one piece at the back, but in front it could be drawn to either side or closed with metal clasps.

From the raised altar down to the pulpit was a space set aside apart for the choir ceremonies of the Apostles and disciples. After the holy Resurrection I saw them assembled every day in the Last Sup­per room for prayer in choir. The Apostles stood along either side of the hall facing the Holy of Holies, while the disciples occupied the vestibule thrown open for the occasion. They sang and prayed, choir and choir. I saw Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea,

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 and Obed present also. The Blessed Virgin usually stood under the middle entrance of the vestibule, her face turned toward the Holy of Holies. She wore the long white mantle and was veiled. Jesus had Himself arranged the choral service, and about the time of the eating of the fish at Tiberias, or perhaps during the meal itself, explained to the Apostles the mysterious signification of this religious ceremony. He had repeated the same on the occasion of Thomas' touching His sacred wounds and giving testimony of his faith. Once also I saw that Jesus appeared to them while they were chanting in choir before day­break. They daily assembled twice, in the evening till after dark, and before dawn in the morning. Below the pulpit the congregation was cut off from the choir by a grating, through many places of which the Blessed Sacrament could be reached to them. It was almost like the grating seen in cloisters. On either side of the pulpit there were small doors by which the Apostles and disciples could enter the choir. The congregation was arranged in a certain order, the women separate from the men.

I saw the Apostles and disciples going in proces­sion with the Blessed Sacrament from the house of the Last Supper to the new church. Before setting out, Peter, standing in the entrance to the courtyard and surrounded by about twenty of the disciples, delivered a public discourse before many people. He spoke in fiery words. Many Jews ran to hear, and tried to interrupt him by advancing objections, but their efforts were fruitless. The discourse over, the procession wound down to the new church near the Pool, Peter bearing in his hands the chalice contain­ing the Blessed Sacrament. The chalice was covered with a white linen, something like a bag, which was suspended from his neck. The Blessed Virgin walked after the Apostles with the other women and the disciples. A part of the way was hung with screens of matting, and in the vicinity of the church, the

Peter Preaches in the Temple

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 road was even covered in with awnings. The Blessed Sacrament was placed in the new tabernacle on the altar. The tray full of blessed bread had also been brought.

The floor of the church, like that of the house of the Last Supper in these latter days, was covered with colored carpets. The Faithful entered barefoot.

The Blessed Sacrament was deposited in a vessel whose cover could be turned to one side. It lay in morsels on a plate that covered the bottom of the vessel and which could be raised by means of a han­dle, the more conveniently to get at them.

18. Peter Celebrates the First Holy Mass in the Last Supper Room

On the eighth day after Pentecost, I saw the Apos­tles busily engaged the whole night in the house of the Last Supper, praying, etc. At daybreak they went with many of the disciples into the Temple, to which the Blessed Virgin and the holy women had pre­ceded them. There appeared to be a feast going on, for in front of the entrance a triumphal arch had been erected upon which stood a figure holding a conqueror's sword. Beneath this arch Peter addressed a great crowd of people in powerful language. He told them openly that no punishment, neither scourg­ing nor crucifixion, should deter them from publicly proclaiming Jesus Christ. He then entered the Tem­ple and preached from the teacher's chair that Jesus had so often occupied. Once I heard all the Apos­tles and disciples interrupting Peter's discourse with a loud "Yes," as if in confirmation of his words. After­ward, when they were engaged in prayer, I saw a cloud of light hovering over the Temple, and such rays streaming down upon them that the tiny flames of the lamps looked quite dim and red compared with them.

Toward eight o'clock that morning, they left the

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 Temple. In the court of the heathens they formed in a long procession, two by two, first the Apostles, after them the disciples, then the baptized and the newly converted. They proceeded across the cattle market to the sheep gate, out into the Valley of Jos­aphat, and thence up Sion to the house of the Last Supper. The Blessed Virgin and the other women had left the Temple some time previously, in order to kneel alone before the Blessed Sacrament and pray. Magdalen prayed in the entrance hall some­times standing, sometimes kneeling, or again pros­trate on the ground, her arms outstretched. The other women had retired into their cells adjoining the church of Bethsaida. There they dwelt two together, occupying their time in washing and preparing the baptismal garments for the neophytes, and with the arrangement of such things for distribution.

When the procession reached the court of the Last Supper house, the new converts were ranged in order by the Apostles outside the entrance hall. Peter and John went into the house and escorted the Blessed Virgin to the door of the entrance hall. She was clothed in robes of ceremony. She wore the long white mantle with the embroidered facing down the sides, and over her veil the narrow scarf that hung down on either side and was kept in place by a wreath. Peter addressed the new converts and presented them to the Blessed Virgin as to their common Mother. He led them forward in bands of about twenty, one after another, and they received the benediction of the Blessed Virgin.

After that I saw solemn service celebrated in the Last Supper room, into which the side halls and entrance hall were thrown open. In the sanctuary over the altar hung a festal wreath of green leaves and flowers. On either side of the chalice, that used at the Last Supper, were lighted lamps. The chalice was raised on a stand of some kind, and concealed under a little white cover. There was also on the

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

This document is: ACE_4_0421

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