Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

This document is: ACE_4_0341

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_4_0321 List of documents Next document: ACE_4_0361
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)

Imprisonment of Joseph of Arimathea


 spent some moments in tears and mourning, relat­ing to one another all that had happened. The men changed their garments, and I saw them standing under the lamp celebrating the Sabbath. Then they ate lambs at the different tables around the Coenac­ulum, but without any ceremony. It was not the Paschal lamb. They had already eaten that yester­day. All were in great trouble and sadness. The holy women also prayed with Mary under a lamp. Later, when it had grown quite dark, Lazarus, Martha, the widow Maroni of Naim, Dina the Samaritan, and Mary the Suphanite were admitted. They were come from Bethania to keep the Sabbath. Once more was sorrow renewed by the narrations of each.

64. The Imprisonment of Joseph of Arimathea. The Holy Sepulcher Guarded

Joseph of Arimathea left the Coenaculum at a late hour and, with some of the disciples and holy women, started for his home. They were proceeding sadly and timidly along the streets of Sion when an armed band dashed suddenly from their place of conceal­ment in the neighborhood of Caiaphas' judgment hall and laid hands upon Joseph of Arimathea. His companions fled with cries of terror. I saw that they imprisoned the good Joseph in a tower of the city wall not very far from the judgment hall. Caiaphas had committed the care of this seizure to pagan sol­diers, who celebrated no Sabbath. The intention was to let Joseph die of starvation, and to keep his dis­appearance secret.

On the night between Friday and Saturday, Caiaphas and some of the chief men among the Jews held a consultation upon what ought to be done with regard to the wonderful events that had just taken place, and their effect upon the people. It was far in the night when they went to Pilate to


Life of Jesus Christ

 tell him that as that seducer said, while He was still alive, "After three days I will rise again," it would be right "to command the sepulcher to be guarded until the third day; otherwise His disciples might come and steal Him away, and say to the peo­ple, 'He is risen from the dead,' and the last error would be worse than the first."

Pilate wanted to have nothing more to do with the affair, so he said to them: "You have a guard. Go, guard it as you know." He, however, appointed Cassius to keep watch and give him an account of all that he observed. Thereupon I saw twelve men leaving the city before sunrise. They were accompa­nied by soldiers not habited in the Roman uniform. They were Temple soldiers, and looked to me like halberdiers, or life-guardsmen. They took with them lanterns on long poles, in order to be able to distin­guish things clearly in the dark, and also to have light in the gloomy sepulcher.

When, on their arrival, they assured themselves that the Sacred Body was safe, they fastened a string across the doors of the tomb proper and another from that to the stone lying before them. Then they sealed the two together with a seal in the form of a half-moon. The twelve men returned afterward to the city, and the guard took up a position opposite the outer door of the sepulcher. Five or six took turns in watching, while some others presented themselves occasionally with provisions from the city. Cassius never left his post. He remained most of the time in the sepulcher itself, sitting or standing before the entrance to the tomb, and in such a position that he could see that side at which rested the feet of the Lord. He had received great interior graces and had been admitted to the clear understanding of many mysteries. As such a condition, being almost all the time in a state of wonderful interior enlight­enment, was something so new to him, he was, as it were, transported out of himself, wholly regard­less

The Holy Women


 of external things. He here became entirely changed, a new man. He spent the day in penance, thanksgiving, and adoration.

65. The Friends of Jesus on Holy Saturday

As I have said, I saw yesterday evening1 the men in the Coenaculum celebrating the Sabbath and then taking a repast. They were about twenty in num­ber. They were clothed in long white garments gir­dled at the waist, and were gathered together under a hanging lamp. When they separated after the repast, some went to take their rest in adjoining apartments, others to their own homes. Today2 I saw most of them remaining quietly in the house, as­sembling at intervals for prayer and reading, and occasionally admitting some newcomer.

In the house occupied by the Blessed Virgin there was a large hall with several little recesses cut off by hangings and movable partitions. These were pri­vate sleeping places. When the holy women returned from the sepulcher, they put everything they brought back again into its place, and lighted the lamp that was hanging from the center of the ceiling. Then they gathered under it around the Blessed Virgin, and took turns in praying most devoutly. They were all in deep sorrow. After that they partook of some refreshment, and were soon joined by Martha, Maroni, Dina, and Mary who, after celebrating the Sabbath in Bethania, had come hither with Lazarus. The last-named went to the men in the Coenaculum. When, with tears on both sides, the death and burial of the Lord had been recounted to the newly arrived, and the hour was far advanced, some of the men, among them Joseph of Arimathea, left the supper room, called for the women that wanted to return to their homes

1. Good Friday.

2. Holy Saturday.


Life of Jesus Christ

 in the city, and took their leave. It was on the way that that armed band seized Joseph near the judg­ment hall of Caiaphas, and cast him into the tower.

The women who had remained with the Blessed Virgin now retired, each to her own screened sleep­ing place. They veiled their heads in long linen scarves, and sat for a little while in silent grief on the ground, leaning on the sleeping covers that were rolled up against the wall. After some moments, they arose, spread out the covers, laid aside their san­dals, girdles, and some articles of dress, enveloped themselves from head to foot, as they were ac­customed to do on retiring to rest, and lay down on their couches for a short sleep. At midnight they rose again, dressed, folded the couch together, assem­bled once more under the lamp around the Blessed Virgin, and prayed in turn.

When the Blessed Virgin and the holy women, notwithstanding their great suffering, had discharged this duty of nocturnal prayer (which I have frequently seen practiced since by the faithful children of God and holy persons, either urged thereto by special grace, or in obedience to a rule laid down by God and His Church), John and some of the disciples knocked at the door of the women's hall. He and the other men had previously prayed, like the women, under the lamp in the Coenaculum. The holy women at once enveloped themselves in their mantles and, along with the Blessed Virgin, followed them to the Temple.

It was about the same time that the tomb was sealed, that is about three o'clock in the morning, that I saw the Blessed Virgin with the other holy women, John, and several of the disciples, going to the Temple. It was customary among many of the Jews to visit the Temple at daybreak the morning after the eating of the Paschal lamb. It was in con­sequence opened about midnight, because the sac­rifices on that morning began very early. But today,

The Temple


 on account of the disturbance of the feast and the defilement of the Temple, everything had been neglected, and it seemed to me as if the Blessed Vir­gin, with her friends, wanted to take leave of it. It was there that she had been reared, there she had adored the Holy Mystery, until she herself bore in her womb that same Holy Mystery, that Holy One who, as the true Paschal Lamb, had been so bar­barously immolated the day before. The Temple was, according to the custom of this day, open, the lamps lighted, and even the vestibule of the priests (a priv­ilege granted to this day) was thrown open to the people. But the sacred edifice, with the exception of a few guards and servants, was quite deserted; marks of yesterday's disorder and confusion lay everywhere around. It had been defiled by the presence of the dead, and at the sight of it, the thought arose in my mind: "How will it ever be restored?"

Simeon's sons and Joseph of Arimathea's nephews, the latter of whom were very much grieved at the news of their uncle's arrest, welcomed the Blessed Virgin and her companions and conducted them everywhere, for they had the care of the Temple. Silently they gazed, with mingled feelings of awe and adoration, at the work of destruction, the visi­ble marks of God's anger. Only here and there were a few words spoken, to recount the events of the preceding day.

Yesterday's destruction was evidenced in many dif­ferent ways, for no attempt at repair had yet been made. Where the vestibule joined the sanctuary, the wall had so given way that a person could easily creep through the fissure, and the whole threatened to fall. The beam above the rent curtain before the sanctuary had sunk; the pillars that supported it had declined from each other at the top; and the curtain, torn in two, hung down at the sides. So great an opening was made in the wall of the vesti­bule by the huge stone that had been precipitated


Life of Jesus Christ

 from the north side of the Temple near Simeon's ora­tory upon the spot on which Zacharias appeared, that the Blessed Virgin could pass through without difficulty. This brought her to the great teacher's chair, from which the Boy Jesus had taught, and from this spot she could see through the torn cur­tain into the Holy of Holies, something that would not have been possible before. Here and there, like­wise, walls were cracked, portions of the floor sunk in, beams displaced, and pillars leaning out of their proper direction.

The Blessed Virgin visited with her companions all places rendered sacred to her by the presence of Jesus. Kneeling down, she kissed them, recalling with tears and in a few touching words the partic­ular remembrances connected with each. Her com­panions imitated her example, kneeling and kissing the hallowed spots.

The Jews regarded with extraordinary reverence all places in which anything held sacred by them had happened. They touched and kissed them, pros­trating with their faces upon them, and I could never feel surprised at such manifestations. When one knows and believes and feels that the God of Abra­ham, Isaac, and Jacob is a living God, who dwelt among His people in His Temple, His House, at Jerusalem, the wonder would be if they did not ven­erate such places. Whoever believes in a living God, in a Father and Redeemer and Sanctifier of mankind, His children, wonders not that, impelled by love, He is still living among the living. He feels that he owes to Him and to everything connected with Him more love, honor, and reverence than to earthly parents, friends, teachers, superiors, and princes. The Tem­ple and the holy places were to the Jews what the Most Blessed Sacrament is to Christians. But there were among them some blind and some enlightened, just as there are amongst us some that, adoring not the living God in our midst, are fallen into the super­stitious

Mary Visits the Temple


 service of the gods of the world. They reflect not upon these words of Jesus: "Whoever denies Me before men, him also will I deny before My Heav­enly Father." People that unceasingly serve the spirit and falsehood of the world in thoughts and words and works, that cast aside all exterior worship of God, say indeed, if perchance they have not cast off God Himself as altogether too exterior for them: "We adore God in spirit and in truth." But they do not know that these words mean in the Holy Ghost and in the Son, who took flesh from Mary, the Virgin, and who bore witness to the truth; who lived amongst us, who died for us on earth, and who will be with His Church in the Blessed Sacrament until the end of time.

The Blessed Virgin and her companions thus rev­erently visited many parts of the Temple. She showed them where, as a little girl, she had first entered the sacred edifice, and where on the south side she had been educated until her espousals with St. Joseph. She pointed out to them the scene of her marriage, that of Jesus' Presentation, and that of Simeon's and Annas' prophecies. At this point she wept bitterly, for the prophecy had been fulfilled, the sword had pierced her soul. She showed where she had found Jesus when a Boy teaching in the Temple, and she reverently kissed the teacher's chair. They went also to the offering box into which the widow had put her mite, and to the spot upon which the Lord forgave the woman taken in adultery. After they had thus with reverential touching, tears, prayers, and recalling of reminiscences, honored all the places rendered venerable by Jesus' presence, they returned to Sion.

The Blessed Virgin did not leave the Temple with­out many tears and deep grief, for its ruins and its desolate aspect on that day, once so sacred, bore witness to the sins of her people. She thought of Jesus weeping over it, and of His prophecy: "Destroy


Life of Jesus Christ

 this Temple, and in three days I will build it up again." She thought of how the enemies of Jesus had destroyed the temple of His body, and she longed for the third day upon which that word of Eternal Truth would be fulfilled.

Returned to the Coenaculum on Sion at daybreak, the Blessed Virgin retired with her companions to her own dwelling on the right of the courtyard. At the entrance John left them and joined the men in the Coenaculum, upwards of twenty in number, who spent the whole Sabbath in the Supper room, mourn­ing the death of their Master and praying by turns under the lamp. I saw them occasionally and very cautiously admitting newcomers, and conferring with them in tears. All experienced an inward reverence for John and a feeling of confusion in his presence, since he had been at the death of the Lord. But John was full of love and sympathy toward them, and, simple and ingenuous as a child, he gave place to everyone. Once I saw them eating. They remained very silently together, and the house was closed. They were safe from attack, for the house belonged to Nicodemus, and they had hired it for the Paschal Supper.

Again I saw the holy women assembled until evening in the hall which was lighted by a lamp, the doors being closed and the windows covered. Sometimes they ranged round the Blessed Virgin under the lamp for prayer; or sometimes they retired alone to their several recesses, enveloped their heads in mourning veils, and sat on flat boxes strewn with ashes (the sign of grief), or prayed with the face turned to the wall. Before they assembled under the lamp for prayer, they always laid aside their mourn­ing veils and left them in the little recesses. I saw also that the weak among them took a little nour­ishment, but the others fasted.

More than once my gaze was directed to the holy women, and I always saw them as just described,

Christ's Descent into Hell


 praying or mourning in a darkened hall. When my meditation turned to the Blessed Virgin dwelling in thought upon our Saviour, I sometimes saw the holy tomb and about seven guards sitting or standing opposite the entrance. Close to the doors of the rocky cave, in which was the real tomb, the tomb proper, stood Cassius. He moved not from the spot, he was silent and recollected. I saw the closed doors of the tomb and the stone lying before them. But through the doors, I could see the body of the Lord lying just as it had been left. It was environed with light and splendor, and rested between two adoring angels, one at the head, the other at the foot. When my thoughts turned to the holy soul of our Redeemer, there was vouchsafed me a vision of His descent into Hell so great, so extended, that I have been able to retain only a very small portion. I shall, how­ever, relate what I can of it.

66. Some Words on Christ's Descent Into Hell

When Jesus with a loud cry gave up His most holy soul, I saw it as a luminous figure surrounded by angels, among them Gabriel, penetrating the earth at the foot of the holy cross. I saw His Divinity united with His soul, while at the same time, it remained united to His body hanging on the cross. I cannot express how this was. I saw the place whither the soul of Jesus went. It seemed to be divided into three parts. It was like three worlds, and I had a feeling that it was round, and that each one of those places was a kind of locality, a sphere separated from the others.

Just in front of Limbo, there was a bright, cheer­ful tract of country clothed in verdure. It is into this that I always see the souls released from Purga­tory entering before being conducted to Heaven. The Limbo in which were the souls awaiting Redemption


Life of Jesus Christ

 was encompassed by a gray, foggy atmosphere, and divided into different circles. The Saviour, resplen­dent and conducted in triumph by angels, pressed on between two of these circles. The one on the left contained the souls of the Leaders of the people down to Abraham, that on the right, the souls from Abraham to John the Baptist. Jesus went on be­tween these two circles. They knew Him not, but all were filled with joy and ardent desire. It was as if this place of anxious, distressed longing was suddenly enlarged. The Redeemer passed through them like a refreshing breeze, like light, like dew, quickly like the sighing of the wind. The Lord passed quickly between these two circles to a dimly lighted place in which were our first parents, Adam and Eve. He addressed them, and they adored Him in unspeakable rapture. The procession of the Lord, accompanied by the first human beings, now turned to the left, to the Limbo of the Leaders of God's people before the time of Abraham. This was a species of Purgatory, for here and there were evil spirits, who in manifold ways worried and distressed some of those souls. The angels knocked and demanded admittance. There was an entrance, because there was a going in; a gate, because there was an unlocking; and a knocking, because the One that was coming had to be announced. It seemed to me that I heard the angel call out: "Open the gates! Open the doors!" Jesus entered in triumph, while the wicked spirits retired, crying out: "What hast Thou to do with us? What dost Thou want here? Art Thou now going to crucify us?" and so on. The angels bound them and drove them before them. The souls in this place had only a vague idea of Jesus, they knew Him only slightly; but when He told them clearly who He was, they broke forth into songs of praise and thanksgiving. And now the soul of the Lord turned to the circle on the right, to Limbo proper. There He met the soul of the good

The Abode of Pious Pagans


 thief going under the escort of angels into Abra­ham's bosom, while the bad thief, encompassed by demons, was being dragged down into Hell. The soul of Jesus addressed some words to both and then, accompanied by a multitude of angels, of the redeemed, and by those demons that were driven out of the first circle, went likewise into the bosom of Abraham.

This space, or circle, appeared to me to lie higher than the other. It was as if a person climbed from the earth under the churchyard up into the church itself. The evil spirits struggled in their chains, and wanted not to enter, but the angels forced them on. In this second circle were all the holy Israelites to the left, the Patriarchs, Moses, the Judges, the Kings; on the right, the Prophets and all the ancestors of Jesus, as also His relatives down to Joachim, Anne, Joseph, Zachary, Elizabeth, and John. There were no demons in this circle, no pain nor torment, only the ardent longing for the fulfillment of the Promise now realized. Unspeakable felicity and rapture inun­dated these souls as they saluted and adored the Redeemer, and the demons in their fetters were forced to confess before them their ignominious defeat. Many of the souls were sent up to resuscitate their bodies from the tomb and in them to render ocular testimony to the Lord. This was the moment in which so many dead came forth from their tombs in Jerusalem. They looked to me like walking corpses. They laid their bodies again upon the earth, just as a messenger of justice lays aside his mantle of office after having fulfilled his superior's commands.

I now saw the Saviour's triumphant procession entering another sphere lower than the last. It was the abiding place of pious pagans who, having had some presentiment of truth, had ardently sighed after it. It was a kind of Purgatory, a place of purifica­tion. There were evil spirits here, for I saw some idols. I saw the evil spirits compelled to confess the


Life of Jesus Christ

 deception they had practiced. I saw the blessed spir­its rendering homage to the Saviour with touching expressions of joy. Here, too, the demons were chained by the angels and driven forward before them.

And thus I saw the Redeemer passing rapidly through these numerous abodes and freeing the souls therein confined. He did a great many other things, but in my present miserable state I am unable to relate them.

At last I saw Him, His countenance grave and severe, approaching the center of the abyss, namely, Hell itself. In shape it looked to me like an immea­surably vast, frightful, black stone building that shone with a metallic luster. Its entrance was guarded by immense, awful-looking doors, black like the rest of the building, and furnished with bolts and locks that inspired feelings of terror. Roaring and yelling most horrible could plainly be heard, and when the doors were pushed open, a frightful, gloomy world was disclosed to view.

As I am accustomed to see the heavenly Jerusalem under the form of a city, and the abodes of the blessed therein under various kinds of palaces and gardens full of wonderful fruits and flowers, all according to the different degrees of glory, so here I saw every­thing under the appearance of a world whose build­ings, open spaces, and various regions were all closely connected. But all proceeded from the opposite of happiness, all was pain and torment. As in the sojourns of the blessed all appears formed upon motives and conditions of infinite peace, eternal har­mony and satisfaction, so here are the disorder, the malformation of eternal wrath, disunion, and despair.

As in Heaven there are innumerable abodes of joy and worship, unspeakably beautiful in their glit­tering transparency, so here in Hell are gloomy pris­ons without number, caves of torment, of cursing, and despair. As in Heaven there are gardens most wonderful to behold, filled with fruits that afford

Evil Spirits Prostrate before Jesus


 divine nourishment, so here in Hell there are hor­rible wildernesses and swamps full of torture and pain and of all that can give birth to feelings of detestation, of loathing, and of horror. I saw here temples, altars, palaces, thrones, gardens, lakes, streams, all formed of blasphemy, hatred, cruelty, despair, confusion, pain, and torture, while in Heaven all is built up of benedictions, of love, harmony, joy, and delight. Here is the rending, eternal disunion of the damned; there is the blissful communion of the saints. All the roots of perversity and untruth are here cultivated in countless forms and deeds of punishment and affliction. Nothing here is right, no thought brings peace, for the terrible remem­brance of divine justice casts every damned soul into the pain and torment that his own guilt has planted for him. All that is terrible here, both in appearance and reality, is the nature, the form, the fury of sin unmasked, the serpent that now turns against those in whose bosom it was once nour­ished. I saw there also frightful columns erected for the sole purpose of creating feelings of horror and terror, just as in the Kingdom of God they are intended to inspire peace and the sentiment of bliss­ful rest, etc. All this is easily understood, but can­not be expressed in detail.

When the gates were swung open by the angels, one beheld before him a struggling, blaspheming, mocking, howling, and lamenting throng. I saw that Jesus spoke some words to the soul of Judas. Some of the angels forced that multitude of evil spirits to prostrate before Jesus, for all had to acknowledge and adore Him. This was for them the most terrible torment. A great number were chained in a circle around others who were in turn bound down by them. In the center was an abyss of darkness. Lucifer was cast into it, chained, and thick black vapor mounted up around him. This took place by the Divine Decree. I heard that Lucifer (if I do not mistake) will be


Life of Jesus Christ

 freed again for awhile fifty or sixty years before the year 2000 A.D. I have forgotten many other dates that were told me. Some other demons are to be freed before Lucifer, in order to chastise and tempt mankind. I think that some are let loose now in our own day, and others will be freed shortly after our time.

It is impossible for me to relate all that was shown me. It is too much. I cannot reduce it to order, I can­not arrange it. I am also so dreadfully sick. When I try to speak of these things, they rise up before my eyes, and the sight is enough to make one die.

I saw too the redeemed souls in countless num­bers leaving the places of their purification, leaving Limbo, and accompanying the soul of the Lord to a place of bliss below the heavenly Jerusalem. It was there that some time ago I saw a deceased friend of mine. The soul of the good thief entered with the rest and again saw the Lord, according to His promise, in Paradise. I saw prepared here for the delight and refreshment of the souls celestial tables such as were often shown me in visions vouchsafed for my consolation.1

I cannot say exactly the time of these events, nor their duration, neither can I repeat all that I saw and heard, because some things were incomprehen­sible even to myself, and others would be misun­derstood. I saw the Lord in many different places, even on the seas. It seemed as if He sanctified and delivered every creature; everywhere the evil spir­its fled before Him into the abyss. Then I saw the soul of the Lord visiting many places on the earth. I saw Him in Adam's tomb under Golgotha. The souls of Adam and Eve came again to Him there. He conversed with them, and I saw Him as if under the earth, going with them in many directions, vis­iting tomb after tomb of the Prophets. Their souls

1. See Note, p. 336.

The Release of Souls from Purgatory


 entered their bodies, and Jesus explained many mysteries to them. Then I saw Him with this cho­sen band, among whom was David, visiting many scenes of His own life and Passion, explaining to them the typical events that had there taken place, and with inexpressible love pointing out to them their fulfillment.

Among other places, I saw Him with these souls at that of His Baptism, where numerous figurative events had happened. He explained them all and, deeply touched, I beheld the everlasting mercy of Jesus in permitting the grace of His own holy bap­tism to flow upon them for their greater advantage.

It was unspeakably touching to see the soul of the Lord encompassed by those happy, blessed spir­its shining through the dark earth, through rocks, through the water and the air, and lightly floating over the surface of the ground.

These are the few points that I can remember of my meditations, so full, so extended, upon the descent of the Lord into Hell after His death, and of His releasing the souls of the just Patriarchs of the ear­liest times. But besides this vision relating to time, I saw one connected with eternity, in which I was shown His mercy toward the poor souls on this day. I saw that, every year on the solemn celebration of this day (Good Friday) by the Church, He casts upon Purgatory a glance by which many souls are released. I saw that even today, Holy Saturday, upon which day I had this contemplation, He released from their place of purification some souls that had sinned at the time of His Crucifixion. I saw today the release of many souls, some unknown and others known to me, though I cannot name any of them.

(Being in a state of ecstasy today, Sister Emmerich related what follows:)

The first descent of Jesus into Limbo was the ful­fillment of early types, and in itself a type whose fulfillment is effected by today's releasing of the poor


Life of Jesus Christ

 souls. The descent into Hell that I saw was a vision of time past, but the freeing of the souls today is a lasting truth. The descent of Jesus into Hell was the planting of the tree of grace, the tree of His own sacred merits, for the poor souls; and the constant recurrence of today's releasing of those souls is the fruit brought forth by that tree of grace in the spir­itual garden of the ecclesiastical year. The Church Militant must cultivate the tree and gather the fruits, in which the Church Suffering must be allowed to share, since it can do nothing for itself. So it is with all the merits of the Lord. We must labor with Him, in order to share in them. We must eat our bread in the sweat of our brow. All that Jesus did for us in time brings forth fruit for eternity, but we must in time cultivate and gather that fruit, otherwise we shall not enjoy it in eternity. The Church is a most provident mother. Her year is in time the most complete garden of fruits for eternity. Her year con­tains a supply sufficient for the wants of all. Woe to the slothful and faithless laborers in that garden who, in any way, allow to go to waste a grace that might have restored health to the sick, strength to the weak, or furnished food to the hungry! On the Day of Judgment, the Master of the garden will demand an account of even the least blade of grass.



1. The Eve of the Holy Resurrection

At the close of the Sabbath, John, Peter, and James the Greater visited the holy women, to mourn with them and to console them. On their departure, the holy women enveloped themselves again in their mourning mantles, and retired to pray in the recesses strewn with ashes.

I saw an angel appear to the Blessed Virgin. He announced to her that the Lord was near, and bade her to go out to the little gate belonging to Nicode­mus. At these words, Mary's heart was filled with joy. Without saying a word to the holy women, wrapped in her mantle, she hastened to the gate in the city wall through which she had come on her return from the garden of the tomb.

It may have been almost nine o'clock when, in a solitary place near the gate, I saw the Blessed Vir­gin suddenly halt in her hurried walk. She gazed as if ravished with joyous longing up at the top of the wall. Floating down toward her in the midst of a great multitude of the souls of the ancient Patri­archs, I saw the most holy soul of Jesus, resplen­dent with light and without trace of wound. Turning to the Patriarchs and pointing to the Blessed Vir­gin, He uttered the words: "Mary, My Mother!" and appeared to embrace her. Then He vanished. The Blessed Virgin sank on her knees and kissed the ground upon which He had stood. She left the impress of her knees and feet upon the stone. Inexpressibly


Life of Jesus Christ

 consoled, she hurried back to the women, whom she found busied preparing ointment and spices on a table. She did not tell them what had happened, but she consoled and strengthened them in faith.

The table at which the holy women were stand­ing had an under support with crossed feet, some­thing like a dresser, and it was covered with a cloth that hung down to the floor. I saw lying on it bunches of all kinds of herbs mixed and put in order, little flasks of ointment and nard water, and several flow­ers growing in pots, among which I remember one, a striped iris, or lily. The women packed them all in linen cloths. During Mary's absence, Magdalen, Mary Cleophas, Johanna Chusa, and Mary Salome went to the city to buy all these things. They wanted to go early next morning to scatter them over the body of Jesus in its winding sheet and pour upon it the perfumed water. I saw a part of it brought by the disciples from the dealer and left at the house without their going in to speak to the women.

After that I had a glimpse of Joseph of Arimathea praying in his prison cell. Suddenly the cell shone with light, and Joseph heard his name pronounced. I saw the roof raised just where the cornice joined it to the wall, and a radiant figure letting down a strip of linen that reminded me of one of those in which the body of Jesus had been wrapped. The fig­ure commanded Joseph to climb up by holding on to it. Then I saw Joseph grasp the linen with both hands and, supporting his feet on the projecting stones of the wall, climb to the opening, a distance of about twelve feet. The roof immediately resumed its position when Joseph reached it, and the appari­tion disappeared. I do not know whether it was the Lord Himself or an angel that released him.

I saw him running unnoticed a short distance along the city wall to the neighborhood of the Coenac­ulum, which was situated near the south wall of Sion. He climbed down and knocked at the door. The

Angels Guard the Sacred Body


 disciples were assembled with closed doors. They were very sorrowful over Joseph's disappearance, for they credited the report that he had been thrown into a sewer. When they opened the door and he entered, their joy was as great as that which they experienced later on when Peter, freed from his prison, appeared before them. Joseph told them all about the apparition he had had. They were greatly rejoiced and consoled by his account; they gave him food and thanked God. He left Jerusalem that night and fled to Arimathea, his native place, where he remained until he received news that he might return to Jerusalem without fear of danger.

After the close of the Sabbath, I saw Caiaphas and some other High Priests in the house of Nicode­mus, to whom, with an air of assumed benevolence, they were putting many questions. I do not now remember what subject they were discussing, but Nicodemus remained true and firm in his defense of the Lord, and so they parted.

All was quiet and silent around the holy sepul­cher. About seven guards were in front and around it, some sitting, others standing. The whole day long Cassius maintained his stand inside the sepulcher at the entrance of the tomb proper, leaving it scarcely for a few moments. He was still absorbed in recol­lection. He was in expectation of something that he knew was going to happen, for extraordinary grace and light had been vouchsafed to him. It was night; the lanterns before the tomb shed a dazzling light. I saw the Sacred Body wrapped in its winding sheet just as it had been laid on the stone couch. It was surrounded, by a brilliant light and, since the bur­ial, two angels had in rapt adoration guarded the sacred remains, one at the head, the other at the foot. They looked like priests. Their whole attitude, their arms crossed on their breast, reminded me of the cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant, except­ing that they had no wings. The whole tomb, and


Life of Jesus Christ

 especially the resting place of the Lord, reminded me in a striking manner of the Ark of the Covenant at different periods of its history. The light and the presence of the angels may have been in some degree visible to Cassius, and it may have been on that account that he stood gazing so fixedly at the closed doors of the tomb, like one adoring the Most Blessed Sacrament.

And now I saw the blessed soul of Jesus floating with the released spirits of the ancient Patriarchs through the rock into the tomb, and showing them all the marks of ill-treatment upon His martyrized body. The linen bands and winding sheet seemed to have been removed, for I saw the Sacred Body full of wounds; and it seemed as if, in some mysterious way, the indwelling Divinity displayed before the souls the blessed body in the whole extent of its cruel laceration and martyrdom. It appeared to me perfectly transparent, its inmost parts disclosed to the eye. Its wounds, its sufferings, its pains could be seen even to their very depths. The souls gazed in mute reverence; they appeared to be sobbing and weeping with compassion.

My next vision was so mysterious that I cannot relate the whole of it in an intelligible manner. It was as if the soul of Jesus, though without restor­ing the Sacred Body to life by a perfect union with it, was transported in and with the body from the tomb. The two adoring angels raised the tortured body, not in an upright position, but just as it lay in the tomb, and floated with it up to Heaven. The rock trembled as they passed through. Then it seemed to me that Jesus, between countless choirs of adoring angels ranged on either hand, presented His wounded body before the throne of His Heav­enly Father. Jesus' body seemed to have been resus­citated in a manner similar to that in which those of many of the Prophets had been assumed by their souls after the death of Jesus and taken into the

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

This document is: ACE_4_0341

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_4_0321 List of documents Next document: ACE_4_0361
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)