Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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4. Magdalen's Last Anointing

Next morning Jesus instructed a large number of the disciples, more than sixty, in the court before Lazarus' house. In the afternoon, about three o'clock, tables were laid for them in the court, and during their meal Jesus and the Apostles served. I saw Jesus going from table to table handing something to this one, something to that, and teaching all the time, Judas was not present. He was away making purchases for the entertainment to be given at Simon's. Magdalen also had gone to Jerusalem, to buy precious ointment. The Blessed Virgin, to whom Jesus had that morning announced His approach­ing death, was inexpressibly sad. Her niece, Mary Cleophas, was always around her, consoling her. Full of grief, they went together to the disciples' inn.

Meantime, Jesus conversed with the disciples upon His approaching death and the events that would follow it. One, He said, that had been on inti­mate terms with Him, one that owed Him a great debt of gratitude, was about to sell Him to the Phar­isees. He would not even set a price upon Him, but would merely ask: "What will ye give me for Him?" If the Pharisees were buying a slave, it would be at a fixed price, but He would be sold for whatever they chose to give. The traitor would sell Him for less than the cost of a slave! The disciples wept bit­terly, and became so afflicted that they had to cease eating, but Jesus pressed them graciously. I have often noticed that the disciples were much more affec­tionate toward Jesus than were the Apostles. I think as they were not so much with Him, they were on that account more humble.

This morning Jesus spoke of many things with His Apostles. As they did not understand everything, He commanded them to write down what they could not comprehend, saying that when He would send


Life of Jesus Christ

 His Spirit to them, they would recall those points and be able to seize their meaning. I saw John and some of the others taking notes, Jesus dwelt long upon their flight, when He Himself would be deliv­ered up to the Pharisees. They could not think that such a thing would ever happen to them, and yet they really did take to flight. He predicted many things that were to follow that event, and told them how they should conduct themselves.

At last He spoke of His holy Mother. He said that through compassion, she would suffer with Him all the cruel torture of His death, that with Him she would die His bitter death, and still would have to survive Him fifteen years.

Jesus indicated to the disciples whither they should betake themselves: some to Arimathea, some to Sichar, and others to Kedar. The three that had accompanied Him on His last journey were not to return home. Since their ideas and sentiments had undergone so great a change, it would not be well for them to return to their country, otherwise they might give scandal or, on account of the opposition of friends, run the risk of falling back into their for­mer way of acting. Eliud and Eremenzear went, I think, to Sichar, but Silas remained where he was. And thus Jesus went on instructing His followers with extraordinary love, counseling them on every­thing. I saw many of them dispersing toward evening.

It was during this instruction that Magdalen came back from Jerusalem with the ointment she had brought. She had gone to Veronica's and stayed there while Veronica saw to the purchase of the ointment, which was of three kinds, the most precious that could be procured. Magdalen had expended upon it all the money she had left. One was a flask of the oil of spikenard. She bought the flasks together with their contents. The former were of a clear, whitish, though not transparent material, almost like mother­-of-pearl, though not mother-of-pearl. They were in

Entertainment at Simon’s


 shape like little urns, the swelling base ornamented with knobs, and they had screw-tops. Magdalen car­ried the vessels under her mantle in a pocket, which hung on her breast suspended by a cord that passed over one shoulder and back across the back. John Mark's mother went back with her to Bethania, and Veronica accompanied them a part of the way. As they were going through Bethania, they met Judas who, concealing his indignation, spoke to Magdalen. Magdalen had heard from Veronica that the Phar­isees had resolved to arrest Jesus and put Him to death, but not yet, on account of the crowds of strangers and especially the numerous pagans that followed Him. This news Magdalen imparted to the other women.

The women were at Simon's helping to prepare for the entertainment, for which Judas had pur­chased everything necessary. He had entirely emp­tied the purse today, secretly thinking that he would get all back again in the evening. From a man who kept a garden in Bethania, he bought vegetables, two lambs, fruit, fish, honey, etc. The dining hall used at Simon's today was different from that in which Jesus and His friends had dined once before, that is, on the day after the triumphal entrance into the Temple. Today they dined in an open hall at the back of the house, and which looked out upon the courtyard. It had been ornamented for the occasion. In the ceiling was an opening which was covered with a transparent veil and which looked like a lit­tle cupola. On either side of this cupola hung ver­dant pyramids of a brownish-green, succulent plant with small round leaves. The pyramids were green likewise at the base, and it seemed to me that they always remained green and fresh. Under this ceil­ing ornamentation stood the seat for Jesus. One side of the table, that toward the open colonnade through which the viands were brought across the courtyard, was left free. Simon, who served, alone had his place


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 on that side. There too on the floor, under the table, stood three water jugs, tall and flat.

The guests reclined during this repast on low cross­benches, which in the back had a support, and in front an arm upon which to lean. The benches stood in pairs, and they were sufficiently wide to admit of the guests' sitting two and two, facing each other. Jesus reclined at the middle of the table upon a seat to Himself. On this occasion the women ate in an open hall to the left. Looking obliquely across the courtyard, they could see the men at table.

When all was prepared, Simon and his servant, in festal robes, went to conduct Jesus, the Apostles, and Lazarus. Simon wore a long robe, a girdle embroi­dered in figures, and on his arm a long fur-lined maniple. The servant wore a sleeveless jacket. Simon escorted Jesus; the servant, the Apostles. They did not traverse the street to Simon's, but went in their festal robes back through the garden into the hall. There were numbers of people in Bethania, and the crowds of strangers who had come through a desire to see Lazarus raised somewhat of a tumult. It was also a cause of surprise and dissatisfaction to the people that Simon, whose house formerly stood open, had purchased so large a supply of provisions and closed his establishment. They became in a short time angry and inquisitive, and almost scaled the walls during the meal. I do not remember having seen any foot-washing going on, but only some lit­tle purification before entering the hall.

Several large drinking glasses stood on the table, and beside each, two smaller ones. There were three kinds of beverages: one greenish, another red, and the third yellow. I think it was some kind of pear juice. The lamb was served first. It lay stretched out on an oval dish, the head resting on the forefeet. The dish was placed with the head toward Jesus. Jesus took a white knife, like bone or stone, inserted it into the back of the lamb, and cut, first to one

Jesus Carves the Lamb


 side of the neck and then to the other. After that He drew the knife down, making a cut from the head along the whole back. The lines of this cut at once reminded me of the Cross. He then laid the slices thus detached before John, Peter and Himself, and directed Simon, the host, to carve the lamb down the sides, and lay the pieces right and left before the Apostles and Lazarus as they sat in order.

The holy women were seated around their own table. Magdalen, who was in tears all the time, sat opposite the Blessed Virgin. There were seven or nine present. They too had a little lamb. It was smaller than that of the other table and lay stretched out flat in the dish, the head toward the Mother of God. She it was who carved it.

The lamb was followed by three large fish and several small ones. The large ones lay in the dish as if swimming in a stiff, white sauce. Then came pastry, little rolls in the shape of lambs, birds with outstretched wings, honeycombs, green herbs like lettuce, and a sauce in which the last-named were steeped. I think it was oil. This course was followed by another of fruit that looked like pears. In the center of the dish was something like a gourd upon which other fruit, like grapes, were stuck by their stems. The dishes used throughout the meal were partly white, the inside partly yellow; and they were deep or shallow according to their contents.

Jesus taught during the whole meal. It was near­ing the close of His discourse; the Apostles were stretched forward in breathless attention. Simon, whose services were no longer needed, sat motionless, listening to every word, when Magdalen rose quietly from her seat among the holy women. She had around her a thin, bluish-white mantle, something like the material worn by the three Holy Kings, and her flow­ing hair was covered with a veil. Laying the ointment in a fold of her mantle, she passed through the walk that was planted with shrubbery, entered the hall,


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 went up behind Jesus, and cast herself down at His feet, weeping bitterly. She bent her face low over the foot that was resting on the couch, while Jesus Himself raised to her the other that was hanging a little toward the floor. Magdalen loosened the san­dals and anointed Jesus' feet on the soles and upon the upper part. Then with both hands drawing her flowing hair from beneath her veil, she wiped the Lord's anointed feet, and replaced the sandals. Mag­dalen's action caused some interruption in Jesus' discourse. He had observed her approach, but the others were taken by surprise. Jesus said: "Be not scandalized at this woman!" and then addressed some words softly to her. She now arose, stepped behind Him and poured over His head some costly water, and that so plentifully that it ran down upon His garments. Then with her hand she spread some of the ointment from the crown down the hind part of His head. The hall was filled with the delicious odor. The Apostles whispered together and muttered their displeasure—even Peter was vexed at the interrup­tion. Magdalen, weeping and veiled, withdrew around behind the table. When she was about to pass before Judas, he stretched forth his hand to stay her while he indignantly addressed to her some words on her extravagance, saying that the purchase money might have been given to the poor. Magdalen made no reply. She was weeping bitterly. Then Jesus spoke, bidding them let her pass, and saying that she had anointed Him for His death, for later she would not be able to do it, and that wherever this Gospel would be preached, her action and their murmuring would also be recounted.

Magdalen retired, her heart full of sorrow. The rest of the meal was disturbed by the displeasure of the Apostles and the reproaches of Jesus. When it was over, all returned to Lazarus'. Judas, full of wrath and avarice, thought within himself that he could no longer put up with such things. But con­cealing

The Thirty Pieces of Silver


his feelings, he laid aside his festal garment, and pretended that he had to go back to the public house to see that what remained of the meal was given to the poor. Instead of doing that, however, he ran full speed to Jerusalem. I saw the devil with him all the time, red, thin-bodied, and angular. He was before him and behind him, as if lighting the way for him, Judas saw through the darkness. He stumbled not, but ran along in perfect safety. I saw him in Jerusalem running into the house in which, later on, Jesus was exposed to scorn and derision. The Pharisees and High Priests were still together, but Judas did not enter their assembly. Two of them went out and spoke with him below in the court­yard. When he told them that he was ready to deliver Jesus and asked what they would give for Him, they showed great joy, and returned to announce it to the rest of the council. After awhile, one came out again and made an offer of thirty pieces of silver. Judas wanted to receive them at once, but they would not give them to him. They said that he had once before been there, and then had absented himself for so long, that he should do his duty, and then they would pay him. I saw them offering hands as a pledge of the contract, and on both sides tearing something from their clothing. The Pharisees wanted Judas to stay awhile and tell them when and how the bar­gain would be completed. But he insisted upon going, that suspicion might not be excited. He said that he had yet to find things out more precisely, that next day he could act without attracting attention. I saw the devil the whole time between Judas and the Pharisees. On leaving Jerusalem, Judas ran back again to Bethania, where he changed his garments and joined the other Apostles.

Jesus remained at Lazarus', while His followers withdrew to their own inn. That night Nicodemus came from Jerusalem, and on his return Lazarus accompanied him a part of the way.


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5. The Last Paschal Supper

Before break of day Jesus, calling Peter and John, spoke to them at some length upon what they should order, what preparations they should make in Jerusalem for the eating of the Paschal lamb. The disciples had questioned Jesus the day before upon where this supper was to be held. Jesus told the two Apostles that they would, when ascending Mount Sion, meet a man carrying a water pitcher, one whom they already knew as he was the same that had attended to the Paschal meal for Jesus the year before at Bethania. They were to follow him into the house and say to him: "The Master bids us say to thee that His time is near at hand. He desires to celebrate the Pasch at thy house." They should then ask to see the supper room, which they would find prepared, and there they should make ready all that was needed.

I saw the two Apostles going up to Jerusalem through a ravine that ran south of the Temple and north of Sion. On the south side of the mount upon which the Temple stood, there were some rows of houses opposite which a rapid stream flowed down the height; on the other side of this stream ran the road by which the Apostles ascended. On reaching a point of Sion higher than the Temple mount, they turned toward the south and met the man de­signated by Jesus on a somewhat rising open space, and in the neighborhood of an old building sur­rounded by courts. They followed him and, when near the house, delivered to him Jesus' message. He showed great pleasure at seeing them and learning their errand. He told them that he had already been ordered to prepare a supper (probably by Nicode­mus), though he knew not for whom, but now he greatly rejoiced that it was for Jesus. This man was Heli, the brother-in-law of Zachary of Hebron, the same in whose house at Hebron Jesus had, after a

The Room of the Last Paschal Supper


 certain Sabbath of the preceding year, announced to the family the death of John. He had five unmar­ried daughters, but only one son, who was a Levite and who had been a friend of Luke before the lat­ter joined the Lord. Heli went with his servants every year to the feast, hired a supper room, and prepared the Paschal meal for people that had no friends in the city.

On this occasion Heli had hired the dining hall of a spacious old house belonging to Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. On the south side of Mount Sion, not far from the citadel of David and from the market, which was on the eastern ascent to the same, it stood in an open court surrounded by courtyards with massive walls, and between rows of shade trees.

To the right and left of the entrance and just inside the walls stood a couple of smaller buildings. In one of these the Blessed Virgin and the other holy women celebrated the Paschal supper, and there too after the Crucifixion they frequently retired. The large building, that is, the principal one which con­tained the dining hall rented by Heli, stood a little back of the center of the court. It was in this house, in King David's time, that his valiant heroes and generals exercised themselves in arms; here too, before the building of the Temple, had the Ark of the Covenant been deposited for a long time. Traces of its presence were still to be found in an under­ground apartment. I have seen also the Prophet Malachias hidden in this vault. There it was that he wrote his prophecies of the Most Blessed Sacra­ment and the Sacrifice of the New Law. Solomon also held this house in honor, and performed in it some symbolical action, but I now forget what. When a great part of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Baby­lonians, this house was spared. It was now the prop­erty of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who arranged the principal building in a very suitable manner and let it as a guest house for strangers


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 coming to Jerusalem for the Pasch. Moreover, the house and its dependencies served during the year as warehouses for tombstones, building stones, and as a place for stone-cutting in general, for Joseph of Arimathea owned an excellent quarry in his own country. He traded in monuments, architectural orna­ments, and columns, which were here sculptured under his own eye. Nicodemus also was engaged in building, and devoted many of his leisure hours to sculpturing. Excepting at the time of festivals, he often worked here either in the hall, or in the vault below, sculpturing statues. It was owing to this art that he had formed a friendship for Joseph of Ari­mathea, and many of their transactions were under­taken together.

The principal edifice, the Coenaculum proper, was a long, four-cornered building surrounded by a low colonnade, which could be thrown open and thus make one with the lofty hall beyond. The whole build­ing rested on columns, or pillars, and was so con­structed as to allow the gaze to penetrate in all directions, that is, when the portable screens gen­erally in use were removed. The light fell through apertures near the top of the walls. In front (and this was the narrow side of the building), there was an anteroom, into which three entrances led. From it one stepped into the lofty and beautifully paved inner hall from whose roof several lamps were hang­ing. The halls had been decorated for the feast. They were hung halfway up with beautiful matting, or tapestry, and the aperture that had been opened in the ceiling was covered with blue gauze, shining and transparent. The rear end of the hall was cut off by a curtain of the same kind of gauze. The Coenacu­lum, separated from the rest of the room, owing to this division into three parts, bore some resemblance to the Temple, as it had a forecourt, a Sanctuary, and the Holy of Holies. On either side in the last division were deposited dresses and other things

The Coenaculum


 necessary for the feast. In the center stood a kind of altar. Projecting from the wall and raised on three steps was a stone bench in form like a right-angled triangle whose sharp corner was fitted into the wall.

It must have been the upper side of the oven used for roasting the Paschal lamb, for at the meal of today it was quite hot around the steps. On one side of this apartment there was an exit that led into the hall behind that projection, and from that hall there was a descent to the subterranean vaults and cellars where it was warm. On the projection, or altar, lay different things in preparation for the feast, like chests, or drawers, that could be drawn out. On top were openings like a grating and a place for making a fire, as well as one for extinguishing it. I cannot describe it in detail. It appeared to be a kind of hearth for baking Passover bread and other kinds of pastry, for burning frankincense, or, at certain festivals, for consuming what remained of the sac­rifice. It was like a Paschal kitchen. Above this hearth, or altar, there was a kind of niche formed of projecting rafters and surmounted by a valve, probably for the escape of smoke. Suspended from the ceiling above the niche and hanging in front of it, I saw the figure of a Paschal lamb. A knife was sticking in its throat, and its blood appeared to be dropping on the altar. I no longer remember exactly how this last was effected. In the back of the niche there were three little compartments, or cupboards, that turned like our tabernacles for opening or clos­ing. In them I saw all kinds of vessels for the Pasch and deep oval dishes. Later on, the Most Blessed Sacrament was kept there. In the side halls of the Cenacle here and there were built inclined couches, upon which lay heavy coverlets rolled together. These were the sleeping places. Fine cellars extended under the whole building. The resting place of the Ark of the Covenant was once in the back part, directly under the spot upon which the Paschal hearth now


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 stood. Below the cellars ran five gutters, which served to carry off the refuse to the slope of the hill on the top of which the house stood. At different times, I saw Jesus teaching and performing cures here. The disciples often lodged for the night in the side halls.

While Peter and John were speaking with Heli, I saw Nicodemus in one of the buildings in the court­yard, whither the blocks of stone from the vicinity of the supper hall had been removed. For eight days previously, I saw people busy cleaning the court and arranging the hall for the Paschal feast. Some of the disciples themselves were among the workers.

When Peter and John finished speaking with Heli, the latter passed through the courtyard and into the house. The two Apostles, however, turned off to the right, went down the north side of the mountain through Sion, crossed a brook, proceeded by a path between hedges to the other side of the ravine that lay before the Temple, and to the row of houses south of it. Here stood the house of old Simeon, now occu­pied by his sons, who were disciples in secret. The Apostles entered and spoke with Obed, the elder, who served in the Temple. Then they went with a tall, dark-complexioned man by the east side of the Tem­ple, through that part of Ophel by which Jesus on Palm Sunday entered Jerusalem, and thence to the cattle market in the city north of the Temple. Here, on the south side of the market, I saw enclosures like little gardens, in which beautiful lambs were gamboling on the grass. On the occasion of Jesus' triumphal entrance, I imagined these arrangements made in honor of that event, but now I found out that these were the Paschal lambs here exposed for sale. I saw Simeon's son enter one of these enclosures, and the lambs leaping about him and butting him with their heads, as if they recognized him. He sin­gled out four, which he took with him to the Coenac­ulum, and that afternoon I again saw him there taking part in the preparation of the Paschal lambs.

Veronica's House


I still saw Peter and John traversing the city in all directions and giving orders for many things. I saw them also outside the door of a house to the north of Mount Calvary. It was the inn, on the north­west side of the city, in which many of the disciples were staying. This was the disciples' inn outside Jerusalem. It was under the care of Veronica, whose former name was Seraphia. From this inn, I saw them go to Veronica's own house, for they had many directions to give her. Veronica's husband was a mem­ber of the Council. He was generally away from home attending to his business, and when he was in the house, his wife saw little of him. She was a woman of about the same age as the Blessed Virgin. She had long known the Holy Family, for when the Boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem after the Feast, she it was who supplied Him with food.

The two Apostles got from Veronica all kinds of table service, which was carried by the disciples in covered baskets to the Coenaculum. They took from here also the chalice of which Jesus made use in the institution of the Blessed Sacrament.

This chalice was a very wonderful and mysterious vessel that had lain in the Temple for a long time among other old and precious things, whose use and origin even had been forgotten, just as with us many ancient, holy treasures have through the lapse of time fallen into oblivion. Frequently at the Temple, ancient vessels and precious ornaments whose use was no longer known were reset, made over anew, or sold. It was in this way, and by God's permission, that that holy vessel (whose unknown material pre­vented its being melted down, although frequent attempts had been made to do so) had been found by the young priests in the treasury of the Temple. It was stowed away in a chest along with other objects no longer of use, and when discovered was sold to some antiquaries. The chalice and all the vessels belonging to it were afterward bought by Veronica.


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 It had several times been made use of by Jesus in the celebration of festivals, and from today it became the exclusive possession of the Holy Community of Jesus Christ. It was not always the same as when used at the Last Supper. I no longer remember when the parts that composed it were put together; per­haps it was on the occasion of the Lord's using it at the Last Supper. It was now, however, along with all that was necessary for the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, put up in one portable case.

On a flat surface out of which a little board, or tablet, could be drawn, stood the large chalice sur­rounded by six small beakers. The chalice itself con­tained another smaller vase. I cannot remember whether the tablet held the Holy Thing or not. A lit­tle plate was laid upon the chalice, and over the whole was a convex cover. In the foot of the chalice was a place for keeping a spoon, which could be eas­ily drawn out. All these vessels in fine linen cover­ings were protected by a cap, or case of leather, I think, which had a knob on top. The large chalice consisted of the cup and the foot, which latter must have been added at a later period, for it was of dif­ferent material. The cup was pear-shaped, and of a brownish, highly polished metal, overlaid with gold. It had two small handles, by which it could be raised when its contents rendered it tolerably heavy. The foot was elaborately wrought of dark virgin gold, the edge encircled by a serpent. It was ornamented with a little bunch of grapes, and enriched with precious stones. The small spoon was concealed in the foot.

The large chalice was left to the Church of Jerusalem under the care of James the Less. I see it still carefully preserved somewhere. It will again come to light as it did once before. The smaller cups that stood around it were distributed among the other Churches: one to Antioch, another to Ephesus. These vessels enriched seven Churches. The small beakers once belonged to the Patriarchs, who drank

The Chalice of the Last Supper


 some mysterious beverage out of them when they received or imparted the Blessing, as I have seen and already explained.

The large chalice once belonged to Abraham. Melchisedech brought it from the land of Semiramis, where it was lying neglected, to the land of Canaan, when he began to mark off settlements on the site afterward occupied by Jerusalem. He had used it at the Sacrifice of bread and wine offered in Abraham's presence, and he afterward gave it to him. This same chalice was even in Noe's possession. It stood in the upper part of the ark. Moses also had it in his keep­ing. The cup was massive like a bell. It looked as if it had been shaped by nature, not formed by art. I have seen clear through it.1 Jesus alone knew of what it was made.

While the two Apostles in Jerusalem were engaged in the preparations for the Paschal Feast, Jesus took an affecting leave of the holy women, Lazarus, and His Mother in Bethania, and gave them some final instructions and admonitions.

I saw Him speaking alone with His Blessed Mother, and I remember some of the words that passed between them. He had, He said, sent Peter the Believ­ing and John the Loving to Jerusalem in order to prepare for the Pasch. Of Magdalen, who was quite out of herself from grief, He said: "She loves unspeak­ably, but her love is still encompassed by the body, therefore has she become like one quite out of her mind with pain." He spoke also of the treacherous scheming of Judas, and the Blessed Virgin implored mercy for him.

Judas, under pretense of attending to different affairs and of discharging certain debts, had again left Bethania and hurried to Jerusalem. Jesus, although He well knew what he was after, questioned

1. It is not clear whether Sister Emmerich meant to say that the mate­rial was transparent, or that she had seen through it with her mental gaze.


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 the nine Apostles about him.

Judas spent the whole day in running around among the Pharisees and concerting his plans with them. The soldiers that were to apprehend Jesus were even shown him, and he so arranged his jour­ney to and fro as to be able to account for his absence. Just before it was time for the Paschal Supper, he returned to the Lord. I have seen all his thoughts and plans. When Jesus spoke about him to Mary, I saw many things connected with his character and behavior. He was active and obliging, but full of avarice, ambition, and envy, which passions he strug­gled not to control. He had even performed miracles and, in Jesus' absence, healed the sick. When Jesus made known to the Blessed Virgin what was about to happen to Him, she besought Him in touching terms to let her die with Him. But He exhorted her to bear her grief more calmly than the other women, telling her at the same time that He would rise again, and He named the spot upon which He would appear to her. This time she did not shed so many tears, though she was sad beyond expression and there was something awe-inspiring in her deep grav­ity. Like a devoted Son, Jesus thanked her for all her love. He embraced her with His right arm and pressed her to His breast. He told her that He would celebrate His Last Supper with her in spirit, and named the hour at which she should receive His Body and Blood. He afterward took a very affecting leave of them all, and gave them instructions on many points.

Toward noon, Jesus and the nine Apostles set out from Bethania for Jerusalem, followed by a band of seven disciples who, with the exception of Nathanael and Silas, were principally from Jerusalem and its neighborhood. I remember that John Mark and the son of the poor widow who on the Thursday before, that is, just eight days ago, had offered her mite when Jesus was teaching by the alms box in the

Preparation of the Coenaculum


 Temple, were among them. Jesus had received the youth into the number of His disciples a few days previously. The holy women followed later.

Jesus and His companions walked here and there around Mount Olivet, through the Valley of Josaphat, and even as far as Mount Calvary. During the whole walk, Jesus gave uninterrupted instructions. Among other things He told the Apostles that until now He had given them His bread and His wine, but that today He would give them His Flesh and His Blood. He would bestow upon them, He would make over to them, all that He had. While uttering these words, the countenance of the Lord wore a touching expres­sion, as if He were pouring His whole soul out, as if He were languishing with love to give Himself to man. His disciples did not comprehend His words they thought that He was speaking of the Paschal lamb. No words can say how affectionate, how patient Jesus was in His last instructions both at Bethania and on His way to Jerusalem. The holy women arrived later at the house of Mary Marcus.

The seven disciples who had followed the Lord to Jerusalem did not make the journey with Him. They carried in bundles to the Coenaculum the robes nec­essary for the Paschal ceremonies. After depositing them in the anteroom, they proceeded to the house of Mary Marcus.

When Peter and John reached the Coenaculum with the chalice, which they had brought from Seraphia's, the mantles of ceremony were already lying in the anteroom whither they had been car­ried by the seven disciples and some of their com­panions. They had also draped the walls of the supper room, opened the apertures in the roof, and prepared three hanging lamps. This done, Peter and John went out to the Valley of Josaphat and summoned the Lord and the nine Apostles. The disciples and friends who were also to eat their Pasch in the Coenacu­lum came later.


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Jesus and His followers ate the Paschal lamb in the Coenaculum in three separate groups of twelve, each presided over by one who acted as host. Jesus and the Twelve Apostles ate in the hall itself; Nathanael with as many of the oldest disciples, in one of the side rooms; and in another with twelve more sat Eliacim, son of Cleophas and Mary Heli, and the brother of Mary Cleophas. He had been a disciple of John the Baptist. In one of the side build­ings near the entrance into the court of the Coenac­ulum, the holy women took their meal.

Three lambs had been immolated and sprinkled for them in the Temple. But the fourth was slaugh­tered and sprinkled in the Coenaculum, and it was this that Jesus ate with The Twelve. Judas was not aware of this circumstance. He had been engaged in various business affairs, among which was the plot to betray the Lord, and consequently had arrived only a few moments before the repast, and after the immolation of the lamb had taken place.

The slaughter of the lamb for Jesus and the Apos­tles presented a scene most touching. It took place in the anteroom of the Coenaculum, Simeon's son, the Levite, assisting at it. The Apostles and disci­ples were present chanting the 118th Psalm. Jesus spoke of a new period then beginning, and said that the sacrifice of Moses and the signification of the Paschal lamb were about to be fulfilled, that on this account the lamb was to be immolated as formerly in Egypt, and that now in reality were they to go forth from the house of bondage.

All the necessary vessels and instruments were now prepared. Then a beautiful little lamb was brought in, around its neck a garland which was taken off and sent to the Blessed Virgin, who was at some distance with the other women. The lamb was then bound, its back to a little board, with a cord passed around the body. It reminded me of Jesus bound to the pillar. Simeon's son held the lamb's

The Paschal Lamb


 head up, and Jesus stuck it in the neck with a knife, which He then handed to Simeon's son that he might complete the slaughter. Jesus appeared timid in wounding the lamb, as if it cost Him pain. His move­ment was quick, His manner grave. The blood was caught in a basin, and the attendants brought a branch of hyssop, which Jesus dipped into it. Then stepping to the door of the hall, He signed the two posts and the lock with the blood, and stuck the bloody branch above the lintel. He then uttered some solemn words, saying among other things: "The destroying angel shall pass by here. Without fear or anxiety, ye shall adore in this place when I, the true Paschal Lamb, shall have been immolated. A new era, a new sacrifice are now about to begin, and they shall last till the end of the world."

They then proceeded to the Paschal hearth at the end of the hall where formerly the Ark of the Covenant reposed. There they found a fire already lighted. Jesus sprinkled the hearth with blood, and consecrated it as an altar. The rest of the blood, along with the fat, was thrown into the fire under the altar, after which, followed by the Apostles, Jesus walked around the Coenaculum singing Psalms, and consecrated it as a new Temple. During this cere­mony, the doors were closed.

Meanwhile Simeon's son had prepared the lamb. It was fixed upon a spit, the forelegs fastened to a crosspiece, and the hind ones to the spit. Ah! It looked so much like Jesus on the Cross! It was then, along with the three others that had been slaugh­tered in the Temple, placed in the oven to be roasted.

All the Paschal lambs of the Jews were immo­lated in the forecourt of the Temple, in one of three different places, according as their owners were rich, or poor, or strangers. That of Jesus was not slaugh­tered in the Temple, though He observed all other points of the Law most strictly. That lamb was only a figure. Jesus Himself would on the next day become


Life of Jesus Christ

 the true Paschal Lamb.

Jesus next gave the Apostles an instruction upon the Paschal lamb and the fulfillment of what it symbolized, and as the time was drawing near and Judas had returned, they began to prepare the tables. After that they put on the travelling dresses of cer­emony, which were in the anteroom, and changed their shoes. The dress consisted of a white tunic like a shirt, and over it a mantle, shorter in front than in the back. The tunic was tucked up into the gir­dle, and the wide sleeves were turned up. Thus equipped, each set went to its own table: the two bands of disciples into the side halls, Jesus and the Apostles into the Coenaculum proper. Each took a staff in his hand, and then they walked in pairs to the table at which each stood in his place, his arms raised, and the staff resting upon one. Jesus stood in the center of the table. He had two small staves that the master of the feast had presented to Him. They were somewhat crooked on top, and looked like short shepherd crooks. On one side they had a hook, like a cut-off branch. Jesus stuck them into His gir­dle crosswise on His breast, and when praying, sup­ported His raised arms on the hooks. It was a most touching sight to see Jesus leaning on these staves as He moved. It was as if He had the Cross, whose weight He would soon take upon His shoulders, now supporting Him under the arms. Meanwhile all were chanting, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel," "Praised be the Lord," etc. When the prayer was ended, Jesus gave one of the staves to Peter, the other to John. They put them aside, or passed them from hand to hand among the other Apostles, but what this sig­nified, I cannot now recall.

The table was narrow and only high enough to reach one-half foot above the knee of a man stand­ing by it. In form it was like a horseshoe; and oppo­site Jesus, in the inner part of the half-circle, there was a space left free for the serving of the dishes.

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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