Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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Jesus Is Taken Back to Pilate


 from Herod to Pilate. They were mortified at being forced to return, without His condemnation, to a tri­bunal at which He had already been pronounced innocent. They took therefore another and longer route in order to exhibit Him in His ignominy to another portion of the city, also that they might have longer to abuse Him, and give their emissaries more time to stir up the populace against Him.

The way they now took was very rough and uneven. The executioners by whom Jesus was led left Him no moment of peace, and the long garment impeded His steps. It trailed in the mud and some­times threw Him down, on which occasions He was, with blows on the head and kicks, dragged up again by the cords. He was on this journey subjected to indescribable scorn and outrage both from His con­ductors and the populace, but He prayed the while that He might not die until He had consummated His Passion for us.

It was a quarter after eight in the morning when the procession with the maltreated Jesus again crossed the forum (though from another side, prob­ably the eastern) to Pilate's palace. The crowd was very great. The people were standing in groups, those from the same places and regions together. The Phar­isees were running around among them, stirring them up. Remembering the insurrection of the Galilean zealots at the last Pasch, Pilate had assembled upwards of a thousand men whom he distributed in the praetorium and its surroundings, and at the var­ious entrances of the forum, and his own palace.

The Blessed Virgin, her elder sister Mary Heli with her daughter Mary Cleophas, Magdalen, and several other holy women—in all about twenty—were, while the following events were taking place, standing in a hall from which they could hear every­thing, and where they could slip in and out. John was with them in the beginning.

Jesus, in His garments of derision, was led through


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 the jeering crowd. The most audacious were every­where pushed forward by the Pharisees, and they surpassed the others in mockery and insults. One of Herod's court officers, who had reached the place before the procession, announced to Pilate how very much he appreciated his attention, but that he found the Galilean, so famed for His wisdom, nothing better than a silent fool, that he had treated Him as such and sent Him back to him. Pilate was very glad that Herod had not acted in opposition to himself and con­demned Jesus. He sent his salutations to him in return, and thus they today were made friends who, since the fall of the aqueduct, had been enemies.

Jesus was led again through the street before Pilate's house and up the steps to the elevated plat­form. The executioners dragged Him in the most brutal manner, the long garment tripped Him, and He fell so often on the white marble steps that they were stained with blood from His sacred head. His enemies, who had retaken their seats on the side of the forum, and the rude mob, broke out into jeers and laughter at His every fall, while the execution­ers drove Him up with kicks.

Pilate was reclining on a chair something like a small couch, a little table by his side. As on the pre­ceding occasion, he was attended by officers and men holding rolls of written parchment. Stepping out upon the terrace from which he was accustomed to address the multitude, he thus spoke to Jesus' accusers: "You have presented unto me this Man as one that per­verteth the people, and behold I, having examined Him before you, find no cause in Him in those things wherein you accuse Him. No, nor Herod neither. For I sent you to him and behold, nothing worthy of death is brought against Him. I will chastise Him therefore and let Him go." At these words, loud mur­murs and shouts of disapprobation arose among the Pharisees, who began still more energetically to stir up the people and distribute money among them.

The Release of One Prisoner


 Pilate treated them with the utmost contempt. Among other cutting remarks, he let fall the following sar­castic words: "You will not see enough innocent blood flow at the slaughtering today without this Man's!"

It was customary for the people to go to Pilate just before the Pasch and, according to an ancient custom, demand the release of some one prisoner. It was now time for this. The Pharisees, while at Herod's palace, had dispatched emissaries to Acre—a sec­tion of the city west of the Temple—to bribe the assembled multitude to demand, not Jesus' libera­tion, but His crucifixion. Pilate was hoping that the people would ask that Jesus should be released, and he thought by proposing along with Him a miser­able miscreant, who had already been condemned to death, he was leaving to them no choice. That notorious malefactor was called Barabbas, and was hated by the whole nation. He had in an insurrec­tion committed murder; and besides that, I saw all kinds of horrible things connected with him. He was given to sorcery and, in its practice, had even cut open the womb of pregnant women.

And now there arose a stir among the people in the forum. A crowd pressed forward, their speaker at their head. Raising their voice so as to be heard on Pilate's terrace, they cried out: "Pilate, grant us what is customary on this feast!" For this demand Pilate had been waiting, so he at once addressed them. "It is your custom that I should deliver to you one prisoner on your festival day. Whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas or Jesus, the King of the Jews—Jesus, the Anointed of the Lord?"

Pilate was quite perplexed concerning Jesus. He called Him the "King of Jews," partly in character of an arrogant Roman who despised the Jews for having so miserable a king, between whom and a murderer the choice rested; and partly from a kind of conviction that He might really be that wonder­ful King promised to the Jews, the Anointed of the


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 Lord, the Messiah. His presentiment of the truth was also half-feigned. He mentioned these titles of the Lord because he felt that envy was the princi­pal motive that excited the High Priests against Jesus, whom he himself esteemed innocent.

A moment of hesitation and deliberation on the part of the populace followed upon Pilate's question, and then only a few voices shouted loudly: "Barab­bas!" At that instant, Pilate was called for by one of his wife's servants, who showed him the pledge he had given her that morning, and said: "Claudia Procla bids thee remember thy promise." The Phar­isees and High Priests were greatly excited. They ran among the crowd, threatening and command­ing. They had, however, no great trouble in making the mob carry out their wishes.

Mary, Magdalen, John, and the holy women, trem­bling and weeping, were standing in a corner of the hall. Although the Mother of Jesus knew that there was no help for mankind excepting by His death, yet she was, as the Mother of the most holy Son, full of anxiety, full of longing for the preservation of His life. Jesus had become man voluntarily to undergo crucifixion; still, when led to death, though innocent, He suffered all the pangs and torments of His frightful ill-treatment just as any human being would have suffered. And in the same way did Mary suffer all the affliction and anguish of an ordinary mother whose most innocent child should have to endure such things from the thankless multitude. She trembled, she shuddered with fear, and still she hoped. John went frequently to a little distance in the hope of being able to bring back some good news. Mary prayed that so great a crime might not be per­petrated. She prayed like Jesus on Mount Olivet: "If it be possible, let this chalice pass!" And thus the loving Mother continued to hope, for while the words and efforts of the Pharisees to stir up the people ran from mouth to mouth, the rumor also reached

Pilate Condemns Jesus to Be Scourged


 her that Pilate was trying to release Jesus. Not far from her stood a group of people from Capharnaum, and among them many whom Jesus had healed and taught. They feigned not to recognize John and the veiled women standing so sorrowfully apart, and cast toward them furtive glances. Mary, like all the rest, thought they would surely not choose Barab­bas in preference to their Benefactor and Saviour, but in this she was disappointed.

Pilate had returned to his wife, as a sign that his promise still held good, the pledge he had given her early that morning. He again went out on the ter­race and seated himself on the chair by the little table. The High Priests also were seated. Pilate called out again: "Which of the two shall I release unto you?" Thereupon arose from the whole forum and from all sides one unanimous shout: "Away with this Man! Give us Barabbas!" Pilate again cried: "But what shall I do with Jesus, the Christ, the King of the Jews?" With tumultuous violence, all yelled: "Cru­cify Him! Crucify Him!" Pilate asked for the third time: "Why, what evil hath He done? I find not the least cause of death in Him. I will scourge Him and then let Him go." But the shout: "Crucify Him! Cru­cify Him!" burst from the crowd like a roar from Hell, while the High Priests and Pharisees, frantic with rage, were vociferating violently. Then poor, ir­resolute Pilate freed the wretch Barabbas and con­demned Jesus to be scourged!

30. The Scourging of Jesus

Pilate, the base, pusillanimous judge, had several times repeated the cowardly words: "I find no guilt in Him, therefore will I chastise Him and let Him go!" To which the Jews shouted no other response than, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" But Pilate, still hoping to carry out his first resolve not to condemn Jesus to death, commanded Him to be scourged after the


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 manner of the Romans. Then the executioners, strik­ing and pushing Jesus with their short staves, led Him through the raging multitude on the forum to the whipping pillar, which stood in front of one of the halls that surrounded the great square to the north of Pilate's palace and not far from the guardhouse.

And now came forward to meet Jesus the execu­tioners' servants with their whips, rods, and cords, which they threw down near the pillar. There were six of them, swarthy men all somewhat shorter than Jesus, with coarse, crisp hair, to whom nature had denied a beard other than a thin, short growth like stubble. Their loins were girded and the rest of their clothing consisted of a jacket of leather, or some other wretched stuff, open at the sides, and cover­ing the upper part of the body like a scapular. Their arms were naked, and their feet encased in tattered sandals. They were vile malefactors from the fron­tiers of Egypt who, as slaves and culprits, were here employed on buildings and canals. The most wicked, the most abject among them were always chosen for the punishment of criminals in the praetorium.

These barbarous men had often scourged poor offenders to death at this same pillar. There was something beastly, even devilish, in their appearance, and they were half-intoxicated. Although the Lord was offering no resistance whatever, yet they struck Him with their fists and ropes and with frantic rage dragged Him to the pillar, which stood alone and did not serve as a support to any part of the building. It was not very high, for a tall man with outstretched arms could reach the top, which was provided with an iron ring. Toward the middle of it on one side were other rings, or hooks. It is impossible to express the barbarity with which those furious hounds out­raged Jesus on that short walk to the pillar. They tore from Him Herod's mantle of derision, and almost threw the poor Saviour to the ground.

Jesus trembled and shuddered before the pillar.

The Pillar


 With His own hands, swollen and bloody from the tight cords, and in tremulous haste, He laid aside His garments, while the executioners struck and abused Him. He prayed and implored so touchingly and, for one instant, turned His head toward His most afflicted Mother, who was standing with the holy women in a corner of one of the porches around the square, not far from the scourging place. Turn­ing to the pillar, as if to cover Himself by it, Jesus said: "Turn thine eyes from Me!" I know not whether He said these words vocally or mentally, but I saw how Mary took them, for at the same moment, I beheld her turning away and sinking into the arms of the holy women who surrounded her, closely veiled.

And now Jesus clasped the pillar in His arms. The executioners, with horrible imprecations and barbarous pulling, fastened His sacred, upraised hands, by means of a wooden peg, behind the iron ring on top. In thus doing, they so stretched His whole body, that His feet, tightly bound below at the base, scarcely touched the ground. There stood the Holy of Holies, divested of clothing, laden with untold anguish and ignominy, stretched upon the pillar of criminals, while two of the bloodhounds, with sanguinary rage, began to tear with their whips the sacred back from head to foot. The first rods, or scourges, that they used looked as if made of flexi­ble white wood, or they might have been bunches of ox sinews, or strips of hard, white leather.

Our Lord and Saviour, the Son of God, true God and true Man, quivered and writhed like a poor worm under the strokes of the criminals' rods. He cried in a suppressed voice, and a clear, sweet-sounding wailing, like a loving prayer under excru­ciating torture, formed a touching accompaniment to the hissing strokes of His tormentors. Now and then the cries of the populace and the Pharisees mingled with those pitiful, holy, blessed, plaintive tones like frightful peals of thunder from an angry


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 storm cloud. Many voices cried out together: "Away with Him! Crucify Him!" for Pilate was still negoti­ating with the people. The uproar was so great that, when he wanted to utter a few words, silence had to be enforced by the flourish of a trumpet. At such moments could be heard the strokes of the rods, the moans of Jesus, the blasphemy of the executioners, and the bleating of the Paschal lambs, which were being washed in the pool near the sheep gate to the east. After this first purification, that they might not again soil themselves, their jaws were muzzled and they were carried by their owners along the clean road to the Temple. They were then driven around toward the western side, where they were subjected to another ceremonial washing. The help­less bleating of the lambs had in it something inde­scribably touching. They were the only sounds in unison with the Saviour's sighs.

The Jewish mob kept at some distance, about the breadth of a street, from the place of scourging. Roman soldiers were standing here and there, but chiefly around the guardhouse. All kinds of loungers were loitering near the pillar itself, some in silence, others with expressions of contempt. I saw many of them suddenly roused to sympathy, and at such moments it seemed as if a sudden ray of light shot from Jesus to them.

I saw infamous, scantily clad youths at one side of the guardhouse preparing fresh rods, and others going off to seek thorn branches. Some executioners of the High Priests went up to the scourgers and slipped them money, and a large jug of thick, red juice was brought to them, from which they guzzled until they became perfectly furious from intoxica­tion. They had been at work about a quarter of an hour when they ceased to strike, and joined two of the others in drinking. Jesus' body was livid, brown, blue, and red, and entirely covered with swollen cuts. His sacred blood was running down on the ground.

Jesus Scourged


 He trembled and shuddered. Derision and mockery assailed Him on all sides.

The night before had been cold. All the morning until now the sky was overcast, and a shower of hail had for a few moments fallen on the wondering mul­titude. Toward noon, however, the sky cleared and the sun shone out.

The second pair of scourgers now fell upon Jesus with fresh fury. They made use of different rods, rough, as if set with thorns, and here and there pro­vided with knots and splinters. Under their furious blows, the swollen welts on Jesus' sacred body were torn and rent; His blood spurted around so that the arms of His tormentors were sprinkled with it. Jesus moaned and prayed and shuddered in His agony.

Just at this time, a numerous band of strangers on camels were riding past the forum. They gazed with fright and horror while some of the bystanders explained to them what was going on. They were travelers, some of whom had received Baptism, and others had been present at Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. The shouts and uproar of the populace became still greater in the vicinity of Pilate's palace.

The last two scourgers struck Jesus with whips consisting of small chains, or straps, fastened to an iron handle, the ends furnished with iron points, or hooks. They tore off whole pieces of skin and flesh from His ribs. Oh, who can describe the awful bar­barity of that spectacle!

But those monsters had not yet satiated their cru­elty. They loosened the cords that bound Jesus and turned His back to the pillar and, because He was so exhausted as to be no longer able to stand, they bound Him to it with fine cords passed under His arms across His breast, and below the knees. His hands they fastened to the ring in the middle of the opposite side. Only blood and wounds, only bar­barously mangled flesh could be seen on the most sacred, most venerable Body of the Son of God. Like


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 furious bloodhounds raged the scourgers with their strokes. One held a slender rod in his left hand, and with it struck the face of Jesus. There was no longer a sound spot on the Lord's Body. He glanced, with eyes swimming in blood, at His torturers, and sued for mercy; but they became only the more enraged. He moaned in fainting tones: "Woe! Woe!"

The terrible scourging had lasted fully three quarters of an hour when an obscure man, a stranger and relative of that blind Ctesiphon whom Jesus had restored to sight, rushed indignantly to the back of the pillar, a sickle-shaped knife in his hand, and cried out: "Hold on! Do not beat the innocent Man to death!" The drunken executioners, startled for a moment, paused, while with one stroke the stranger quickly cut the cords that bound Jesus. They were all knotted together, and fastened to a great iron nail at the back of the pillar. The man then fled back and disappeared in the crowd. Jesus sank, cov­ered with blood and wounds, at the foot of the pil­lar and lay unconscious in His own blood. The executioners left Him lying there and went to drink and call to their villainous companions, who were weaving the crown of thorns.

Jesus quivered in agony as, with bleeding wounds, He lay at the foot of the pillar. I saw just then some bold girls passing by. They paused in silence before Him, holding one another by the hand, and looked at Him in feminine disgust, which renewed the pain of all His wounds. He raised His bleeding head, and turned His sorrowful face in pity toward them. They passed on, while the executioners and soldiers laughed and shouted some scandalous expressions after them.

Several times during the scourging I saw weep­ing angels around Jesus and, during the whole of that bitter, ignominious punishment that fell upon Him like a shower of hail, I heard Him offering His prayer to His Father for the sins of mankind. But

“Away with Him!"


 now, as He lay in His own blood at the foot of the pillar, I saw an angel strengthening Him. It seemed as if the angel gave Him a luminous morsel.

The executioners again drew near and, pushing Jesus with their feet, bade Him rise, for they had not yet finished with the King. They struck at Him while He crept after His linen band, which the infa­mous wretches kicked with shouts of derision from side to side, so that Jesus, in this His dire neces­sity, had most painfully to crawl around the ground in His own blood like a worm trodden underfoot, in order to reach His girdle and with it cover His lac­erated loins. Then with blows and kicks they forced Him to His tottering feet, but allowed Him no time to put on His robe, which they threw about Him with the sleeves over His shoulders. They hurried Him to the guardhouse by a roundabout way, all along which He wiped the blood from His face with His robe. They were able to proceed quickly from the place of scourging because the porches around the building were open toward the forum; one could see through to the covered way under which the rob­bers and Barabbas lay imprisoned. As Jesus was led past the seats of the High Priests, the latter cried out: "Away with Him! Away with Him!" and in dis­gust turned from Him into the inner court of the guardhouse. There were no soldiers in it when Jesus entered, but all kinds of slaves, executioners, and vagrants, the very scum of the populace.

As the mob had become so excited, Pilate had sent to the fortress Antonia for a reinforcement of Roman guards, and these he now ordered to surround the guardhouse. They were permitted to talk and laugh and ridicule Jesus, though they had to keep their ranks. Pilate wanted thus to restrain the people and keep them in awe. There were upwards of a thou­sand men assembled.


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31. Mary During the Scourging of Jesus

I saw the Blessed Virgin, during the scourging of our Redeemer, in a state of uninterrupted ecstasy. She saw and suffered in an indescribable manner all that her Son was enduring. Her punishment, her martyrdom, was as inconceivably great as her most holy love. Low moans frequently burst from her lips, and her eyes were inflamed with weeping. Mary Heli, her elder and very aged sister, who bore a great resemblance to St. Anne, supported her in her arms. Mary Cleophas, Mary Heli's daughter, was likewise present, and she too for the most part leaned on her mother's arm. The other holy women were trembling with sorrow and anxiety. They were pressing with low cries of grief around the Blessed Virgin, as if expecting their own sentence of death. Mary wore a long robe, almost sky-blue, and over it a long, white, woolen mantle, and a veil of creamy white. Magdalen was very much disturbed, indeed quite distracted by grief; her hair hung loose under her veil.

When, after the scourging, Jesus fell at the foot of the pillar, I saw that Claudia Procla, Pilate's wife, sent to the Mother of God a bundle of large linen cloths. I do not now know whether she thought that Jesus would be released, and then the Mother of the Lord could bind up His wounds with them, or whether the compassionate pagan sent the linens for the use to which the Blessed Virgin afterward put them.

Mary saw her lacerated Son driven past her by the executioners. With His garment He wiped the blood from His eyes in order to see His Mother. She raised her hands in agony toward Him and gazed upon His bloodstained footprints. Then, as the mob moved over to another side, I saw the Blessed Vir­gin and Magdalen approaching the place of scourg­ing. Surrounded and hidden by the other holy women

Sister Emmerich Shares Jesus' Agony


 and some well-disposed people standing by, they cast themselves on their knees and soaked up the sacred Blood of Jesus with the linens until not a trace of it could be found.

The holy women were about twenty in number, but I did not see John with them at that time. Simeon's son Obed, Veronica's son, and Aram and Themeni, the two nephews of Joseph of Arimathea were, though sad and full of sorrow, busied in the Temple.

It was about nine o'clock in the morning when the scourging was over.

32. Interruption of the Visions of the Passion by the Apparition of Saint Joseph Under the Form of a Child

During the whole time of the visions of the Pas­sion just narrated, that is, from the evening of Feb­ruary 18, 1823 (Tuesday after the first Sunday in Lent) until the 8th of March (Saturday before Laetare Sunday), the Venerable Sister Emmerich was in con­tinued ecstasy, sharing in the spiritual and corpo­ral sufferings of the Lord. She lay absorbed in these contemplations, unconscious of external things, weep­ing and sobbing like a tortured child. She trembled and shuddered and writhed on her couch, moaning in a low feeble voice, her countenance like that of a dying martyr. A bloody sweat broke out several times over her breast and back. As a general thing, her floods of perspiration were frequent and so copi­ous as to saturate the bedclothes and even the bed itself. At the same time, she endured such thirst that she might be compared to a person in an arid desert perishing from want of water. Frequently in the morning her mouth was so parched, her tongue so contracted, that only by signs and inarticulate sounds could she ask for relief. A daily fever either accompanied or followed as a consequence upon all these torments, besides which she endured without


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 intermission her usual portion of sympathetic and expiatory pain. Only after tedious periods of rest was she able to relate her various visions of the Passion, and even then she could give them only in fragments.

In this way and in a state of extreme misery, she had on Saturday the 8th of March related the scourg­ing of Jesus as the contemplation of the preceding night, though it seemed to be before her even dur­ing the day. Toward evening, however, there was an interruption in her contemplations of the Passion. We shall give it here, since it offers a glimpse into the inner life of this most extraordinary person. It will likewise afford the readers of these pages a lit­tle rest, for we know from experience that medita­tion on the Passion, as well as its recital, may exhaust the weak, though they be fully aware that it was all endured for them.

The spiritual and corporeal life of Sister Emmerich was in intimate harmony with the daily interior and exterior life of the Church according to the season. They harmonized even more perfectly than does the sensitive, corporeal life of human beings with the hours of the day, and the seasons of the year, than the sun with the moon, climate with temperature. It afforded, with perhaps a higher degree of certi­tude than these, an unchanging, though lowly, evi­dence of the existence and signification of the mysteries and festivals of the inner and outer life of the Church in her various seasons. It kept pace so exactly with the ecclesiastical spirit that no sooner was the eve (that is, the vigil) of a feast begun in the Church than Sister Emmerich's whole state of soul and body was changed interiorly and exteriorly; and the instant the spiritual sun of that festival set, she turned her thoughts to the one next to rise, in order to expose all her prayers and labors of suffering to the dew, the light, the warmth of the special grace attached to this new festival and to set in order her daily task.

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Not exactly at the moment when the Catholic evening bells peal out the announcement of the incom­ing festival, and summon the Faithful to unite in that soul-stirring prayer, "Angelus Domini," did this change in Sister Emmerich take place. Through ignorance or negligence, those chimes are perhaps often advanced or retarded. But when a clock, not known to us mor­tals, struck the hour for commemorating in time some great and eternal mystery, her whole being under­went a change. If the Church celebrated a sorrowful mystery, Sister Emmerich was truly and literally crushed by sympathetic participation in it, she lan­guished in sufferings both of mind and of body; but the drooping bride of Jesus Christ, as if suddenly refreshed by the dew of a new grace, gained fresh vigor of body and soul when the Church began the celebration of a joyous festival. She continued in this state until the following evening (her sufferings con­cealed for the time, as it were) in order that, cheer­ful and serenely joyous, she might bear testimony to its intrinsic and eternal truth.

All this, however, took place not so much by her own will as independently of it. She acted in this with as little design as does the bee when, from the flower, it prepares the wax and honey for its skill­fully constructed comb. The good will of this poor peasant girl from childhood, to be obedient to Jesus and His Church, was well-pleasing in the sight of God, and He recompensed her by enduing her with extraordinary facilities for the practice of obedience. She could no more resist the attraction to turn to the Church than could the plant help turning to the light, even though it were shut away from the direct influence of its life-giving beams. Her countenance was veiled in grief or radiant with joy according as that of her Mother, the Church, was sad or joyous.

On Saturday, March 8, 1823, after sunset, when she had with great difficulty related her visions of the scourging of Our Lord, she became quite silent;


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 and the writer of these lines had no other thought than that her soul had already entered upon the contemplation of Jesus' crowning with thorns. But after some moments of silence, her countenance, upon which rested the weariness, the exhaustion of death, suddenly shone with a lovely, joyous light; and with the confiding air of an innocent child, she exclaimed: "Ah! The dear little boy that is coming to me! Who is he? I'll ask him, He is called little Joseph. Oh, how charming he is! He has pushed his way through all the people to come to me. Poor child! He is so friendly, he is laughing. He knows nothing. I am so sorry for him! If he were only not so cold! It is quite cool this early morning. Wait! I will cover thee a lit­tle more!" After these words, spoken with so natural an air that one might have been tempted to look around for the child, she took some linen that was lying at hand and with it went through the motions of a compassionate person trying to protect a beloved child from the cold. The writer watched her atten­tively, supposing her motions the exterior manifes­tation of some interior action in prayer, for he had often witnessed in her similar wonders. But no ex­planation of the meaning of her words and actions was vouchsafed him just then, for a sudden change took place in the Sister's state. It was produced by the word “obedience,” the name of one of the vows which as a religious she had made to the Lord. It was pronounced by a person at her bedside who wished to render her some necessary assistance. Instantly she recollected herself like an innocent, obedient child roused by its mother from a deep sleep. She caught her rosary up quickly and the lit­tle crucifix that she always kept by her, arranged her nightdress, rubbed her eyes, sat up, and, as she was unable to walk or even to stand on her feet, she was carried to a chair. It was the time for her bed to be aired and remade, and so the writer left her. When on the following morning, Laetare Sunday, he

Life of the Church


 again visited her in order to receive a continuation of the Passion visions, he found her, contrary to expec­tation, brighter and apparently better than on the preceding day. She said to him: "I have seen noth­ing more of the scourging." To the question as to why she had spoken so much the evening before about "little Joseph," she answered that she had no remem­brance of having spoken about him at all. To another remark upon her being today much calmer, more cheerful and free from pain, she replied: "That is always so at Mid-Lent. Today at the Introit of Holy Mass, the Church sings with Isaias: 'Rejoice, O Jerusalem! and come together all you that love her. Rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow, that you may exult and be filled from the breasts of your consolation.' Therefore today is a day of recreation. Today also in the Gospel, the Lord fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes, of which so many fragments remained. Ah, we have reason to rejoice! And I too, early this morning, was fed with the Blessed Sacrament. On this day of Lent, I always feel new strength of body and of soul." The writer glanced at the ecclesiastical calendar of the Diocese of Münster and saw that it was not only Laetare Sunday, but also the Feast of St. Joseph, the foster father of Our Lord. He was not aware of its being kept on that day in this diocese, since in other places it is celebrated on the 19th of March. When he men­tioned the fact to Sister Emmerich, he added that perhaps she had spoken of Joseph the day before because this was the feast of St. Joseph; and then she remembered that on the day before she had indeed received some consoling visions of the saint. Her former sorrowful communications were now superseded by those of a highly joyous character. Her contemplation of the Passion had been suddenly interrupted on the eve of Laetare Sunday, which was also the vigil of St. Joseph's feast, by a glad vision of the saint, who appeared to her in a somewhat


Life of Jesus Christ

 dramatic character under the form of a child.

We have seen1 that Sister Emmerich's Heavenly Bridegroom often sent His messengers to her under the appearance of children, and we have remarked that this was always the case in those scenes in which a skillful interpreter would have employed the same form. If, for instance, the accomplishment of some Prophecy, scriptural and historical, were being shown her, there usually appeared near the different scenes and events of the vision a boy who, in his conduct, his dress, and the way in which he carried his roll of prophetic writings—whether quietly in his hand, or bound to the end of a staff which he waved in the air—represented the characteristics of this or that Prophet. Had she more than ordinary suffering to endure, a gentle, lovely child in green used to come to her, sit with extreme discomfort, but with an air resigned and satisfied, on the hard, narrow edge of her bed, or uncomplainingly allow himself to be changed from one arm to the other, or even set down on the floor. He was always gentle and satisfied, looked at her sweetly, and consoled her. He was patience per­sonified. Was she, by sickness or sufferings taken upon herself for others, quite worn out, and did she by a festival or a relic enter into communication with a saint, with a glorified member of the Spouse of Jesus Christ, she immediately had visions from the saint's childhood instead of his or her terrible mar­tyrdom with all its frightful circumstances. In her greatest sufferings when reduced to utter exhaustion, were, by God's goodness, consolation and encourage­ment, yes, even correction, warning, and reproof con­veyed to her, it was always under childlike forms and visions. Sometimes in her greatest trouble and dis­tress, when she no longer knew where to turn for relief, she would fall asleep and be carried back for the moment to the childish sorrows of her early days.

1. See Life of Anne Catherine Emmerich by Very Rev. C. E. Schmöger, C.SS.R. English edition published by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc.

The Divine Type


 Yes, in sleep, as her exclamations and gestures indi­cated, she was again a little five-year-old peasant girl, making her way through a hedge and shedding tears at the pricking of the thorns. Such scenes were always real events of her childhood, as the applica­tion of the parable proclaimed: "Why art thou crying so? I will not help thee out of the hedge until thou dost patiently stand fast by Me in love, and askest Me to do so." When a child and really caught in a hedge, she had followed this admonition; and now in mature age and in apparently greater need, she ob­served the same conduct. Awaking, she used to laugh at the hedge and the key to patience and prayer which it afforded her as a child, which she had so carelessly forgotten, but to which she now turned faithfully and with unshaken assurance of relief.

This symbolical coincidence of the events of her childhood with those of her later years proves in an astonishing and touching manner that, in the indi­vidual no less than in humanity at large, prophetic types may be found. But to the individual, as well as to mankind in general, a Divine Type has been given in the person of the Redeemer, in order that both the one and the other by walking in His foot­steps and with His assistance may rise above human nature, attain perfect liberty of spirit, and grow to the perfect age of Christ. Thus will be accomplished the will of God on earth as in Heaven! Thus will His Kingdom come to us!

Sister Emmerich then related the following frag­ments of the visions that had, on the preceding evening and in consequence of the vigil of St. Joseph's feast, interrupted her contemplation of the Passion.

"In all these terrible events, I was sometimes here, sometimes there in Jerusalem, full of pain and sick unto death. When they were scourging my Beloved Bridegroom, I was sitting in a corner of the scourg­ing place whither no Jew, for fear of contracting legal impurity, would dare enter. But I was not afraid. I


Life of Jesus Christ

 was wishing that even one drop of His Blood would fall upon me and cleanse me. I was so full of pain that I thought I should die. I groaned and shuddered at every stroke. Ah! What a spectacle of misery—my Beloved Bridegroom, lying torn and lacerated, at the foot of the pillar in His own sacred Blood! How bar­barously the executioners thrust Him, with their feet, to arise! How pitifully, covered with blood and wounds, He crept around after His garments! Scarcely had He, His arms quivering with pain, covered Himself, when they drove Him on again to new sufferings and dragged Him past His most afflicted Mother. Ah, how she gazed after His bloodstained footsteps, wringing her hands the while! From that side of the watch house which faced the square and which was now open, I heard the mocking taunts of the base servants of the exe­cutioners who, with gauntleted hands, were plaiting the crown of thorns and jestingly trying its sharp­ness. I trembled and shuddered, and I wanted to enter, that I might see my poor Bridegroom in His new suf­fering. Then came a wonderfully beautiful little boy with blond ringlets. He had only a little band around his body. Making his way among the holy women in their long robes, he came toward me in the most friendly manner. Sometimes he would turn my head away, put his hand over my eyes, sometimes over my ears, and would not let me look anymore upon these sorrowful pictures. The boy asked me: Dost thou not know me? My name is Joseph, and I am from Beth­lehem!' And then he began to tell all about the Crib Cave and the Birth of Christ, the shepherds and the Three Kings. How grand and charming all that was! He was very joyous. I was afraid all the while that he would freeze, because he was so scantily clothed, and there was a hail shower falling. But he put his little hands on my cheeks and said: 'Feel how warm I am. No one freezes where I am.' I was still lament­ing over the crown of thorns that I saw them plait­ing, but he comforted me and related a beautiful

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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