Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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Ordination of Six Disciples


 altar a smaller chalice and some bread, both cov­ered, and behind them a plate upon which stood two vessels, one for water, the other for wine. The plate was put aside; then the water vessel was placed at one end of the altar, the wine vessel at the other.

Peter, vested in his episcopal mantle, celebrated holy Mass. John and James the Less served him. I saw all the ceremonies performed just as Jesus had performed them at the institution of the Holy Eucharist: the Offertory, the pouring of wine into the chalice, the washing of the fingers, and the Con­secration. Wine and water were poured at different sides of the altar, on one end of which were lying the rolls of Scripture. They were written in two columns and, by means of pegs placed higher or lower on the desk that supported them, they could be rolled or unrolled. When one leaf was read, it was thrown over the desk. There were many leaves lying one over another. After Peter had communi­cated, he handed his two assistants the Sacrament, the Bread and the Chalice. Then John handed the Sacrament first to the Blessed Virgin, then to the Apostles and the six disciples, who afterward received priestly ordination, and to many others. The com­municants were kneeling, before them a narrow linen cloth, which two held on either side. I did not see the Faithful partake of the chalice.

The six disciples who now received ordination were thereby advanced to a rank above the disciples, though below that of the Apostles. Mary brought the vestments for them and laid them on the altar. The disciples ordained were Zacheus, Nathanael, Joses Barsabas, Barnabas, John Mark, and Eliud, a son of the aged Simeon. They knelt, two by two, before Peter, who addressed them and read prayers from a little roll. John and James held lights in one hand and laid the other on their shoulders, while Peter imposed his on their head. Peter cut some hair from their head and placed it on the altar in the little


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 plate; then he anointed their head and fingers from a box that John was holding. The vestments were next put on, the stole being crossed first under the arm and then in front over the breast. I saw that the ceremonies, though more solemn, were shorter than at the present day. At the close of the solem­nity, Peter blessed the Faithful with the large chal­ice of the Last Supper in which reposed the Blessed Sacrament.

Mary and the other women went after that to the church of the Pool of Bethsaida. The Apostles, disci­ples, and the neophytes went thither also in proces­sion with singing. Mary prayed there kneeling before the altar in the choir. Peter gave an instruction from the pulpit in reference to the order to be observed in the new Community. No one, he said, was to have more than the others. All must share what they had and provide for the poor newcomers. His discourse, moreover, embodied thanks for the Saviour's graces, and blessings upon the Community.

Baptism was next administered, and several of the Apostles were engaged in it. Two laid their hands upon the neophytes who, holding the railing of the little bridge that led to the pump, bowed their head to the stream issuing from it. Peter, who had put on his girdle over his white garment, turned the stream three times with his hand over the head of the neophyte, pronouncing the words at the same moment. I often saw a radiant cloud dissolving over the baptized, or a ray of light falling upon them, I saw that they were marvelously strengthened and, as it were, transfigured, transformed. It was most touching to see people from far-off countries leav­ing all that belonged to them, and coming hither to form one with the Community of Jesus. At the edge of the pool burned a light on a pole, just such a one as those used by the guards at the Holy Sepulcher.

That evening in the entrance hall of the house of the Last Supper, a meal was spread during which

First General Communion


 the Blessed Virgin sat at table with the Apostles, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and Lazarus.

19. First General Communion of The New Converts. Choice of the Seven Deacons

All the baptized since Pentecost were instructed in the Bethsaida church upon the Most Blessed Sacra­ment and prepared for Its reception by six of the Apos­tles robed in long white garments. They received It at the Holy Mass celebrated by Peter in the Beth­saida church, assisted by two of the Apostles. Peter wore over his long, white robe and broad girdle with its flowing ends, a mantle that was taken out from the chest formed in the back of the altar. It was red and shining gold. It was like a large cape, deep in the back and pointed in front; and it fell so low over the shoulders that only the girdle could be seen at the side. It was fastened on the breast with three little shields. On the middle one just in front of the breast was the representation of a figure holding a loaf in one hand. The lowest shield, that nearest the points, or the ends of the mantle, bore on it a cross. On either shoulder was a figure formed of precious stones.

The altar was covered first with a red and over that a white transparent cloth, on which was laid another little white linen cloth like a corporal. On an oval plate lay a little pile of white bread sliced very thin and furrowed with lines for breaking. Beside it stood a white bowl with a foot like a low chalice, or ciborium, in which after being consecrated by Peter the bread broken into morsels was placed for distribution among the Faithful. Besides all this, the chalice used at the Last Supper was standing full of wine on the altar. When, during Holy Mass, Peter uttered the words of consecration over the bread and wine, I saw the bread become luminous, while above the altar, as if issuing from a cloud,


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 appeared a resplendent hand. It accompanied the movements of Peter's hand as he blessed the bread and wine, and did not disappear till all dispersed after receiving Communion.

The Apostles and disciples were the first to receive the Blessed Sacrament from Peter after his own Com­munion. When the bowl, or ciborium, was emptied, Peter replenished it from the plate on the altar, and then proceeded with the distribution of the Sacred Species. The chalice also was handed by him to the Apostles and to all the others. The communicants were so numerous that the church could not con­tain them, and many had to stand outside. The first to receive Holy Communion left the church in order to allow others to enter. The communicants did not kneel, but while receiving stood reverently bowed.

Before choosing the seven deacons, I saw the Apos­tles gathered around Peter in the Last Supper room, where they assisted him in a solemn ceremony. They accompanied him to the Holy of Holies, where John laid upon him the mantle, another placed the miter on his head, and another put the crosier into his hand. After all had received Communion from Peter, robed in his sacred vestments and surrounded by the Apostles, he addressed in the entrance hall a large crowd of disciples and new converts. He said among other things that it was not becoming for the Word of God to be neglected for the care of clothing and nourishment; consequently Lazarus, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea could not with propriety longer oversee the temporal interests of the Community as they had hitherto done, for they now had become priests. Then he added some words relative to the order observed in the distribution of alms, of house­hold affairs, of widows and orphans. Stephen, a slen­der, handsome youth, stepped forward and offered himself for the services needed. Among others that did the same, I recognized Parmenas, who was one of the elder disciples. There were among them some

Peter Working Miracles


 Moors, still very young, who had not yet received the Holy Ghost. Peter laid his hands upon them and the stole crossed under their arm. While he did so a light was infused upon those that had not yet received the Holy Ghost. After that the treasures and goods of the Community were delivered over to the seven deacons, and for their accommodation was assigned Joseph of Arimathea's house, which was not far from that of John Mark. John Mark helped them. The money was carried on asses, and consisted of bags filled with different kinds of coins. Some were like little stalks twisted into screws, others like stamped plate strung together on a little chain, and others again were in small, oval leaves. Most of the mov­ables consisted of large packs of different stuffs, cov­erlets, clothing, also numbers of vessels and various kinds of furniture suitable for plain housekeeping.

On the day following the giving over of Joseph of Arimathea's house to the deacons, I saw the Apos­tles dispersing into Judea.

Peter wrought more miracles than all the others. He drove out devils, raised the dead—yes, I even saw an angel going before him to the people and telling them that they should do penance and ask Peter for help.

I saw the healing of the lame man. It was about three hours after noon when Peter and John went up to the Temple with several of the disciples. Mary and some of the holy women went too. A lame man had been brought on a litter and laid at the door of the Temple. Peter and John, on their arrival, exchanged some words with him. Then I saw Peter standing under an awning in the open square on the south side of the Temple, his back turned to that part of the edifice in which was the altar of sacri­fice, and addressing the people in a fiery speech. During his instruction I saw the door of egress beset by soldiers and priests conferring together. And now I saw Peter and John, as they turned again toward


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 the Temple, accosted by the lame man and petitioned for alms. He was lying outside the door, a perfect cripple, leaning on the left elbow, while vainly striv­ing to raise something with the crutch in his right hand. Peter said to him: "Look up!" and when the man obeyed, he continued: "I have no silver nor gold, but what I have, I give to thee! In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk!" Peter raised him by the right hand, while John grasped him under the shoulder. The man, full of joy and vigor, stood upon his feet, and I saw him leaping about cured, and running with shouts of triumph through the halls of the Temple.

Twelve Jewish priests who were there seated on their chairs looked, with outstretched necks, in the direction of the tumult, and as the crowd around the cured man increased at every moment, they left their seats and withdrew. Peter and John went into the forecourt, and I saw the former mounting the teacher's chair from which Jesus had taught as a Boy of twelve. The cured man was standing before him encompassed by a multitude of people, some from the city, others strangers from a distance. Peter preached long and in words full of inspiration. It was already dark when I saw him, along with John and the cured man, seized by the Temple soldiers and thrown into a prison near the judgment hall in which he had denied the Lord. Next day all three were taken by the soldiers, and with much ill-usage, up the same flight of steps upon which Jesus had stood, and there tried by Caiaphas and the other priests. Peter spoke with great warmth, after which they were set free.

The rest of the Apostles had passed the night in the house of the Last Supper in continual prayer for the prisoners. When Peter and John returned and told them all that had taken place, their joy burst out into a loud act of thanksgiving, and the whole house shook, as if the Lord wanted to remind

Peter's Miracles


 them thereby that He was still among them and had heard their prayer. Upon that, James the Less said that Jesus, when He appeared to him alone on the mountain in Galilee, had told him that after Peter and John, on going up to the Temple, would be im­prisoned and then set free, they should keep them­selves somewhat retired for awhile.

On this news, I saw the Apostles shutting up every­thing, and Peter, with the Blessed Sacrament sus­pended round his neck in a bag, going with the others to Bethania. They made the journey in three bands. The Mother of God and other women went also. While in Bethania, the Apostles preached enthu­siastically at the disciples' inn, at Simon's, and at Lazarus'. When they again returned to Jerusalem, they were more enthusiastic, more determined than ever. Peter, when teaching in the house of the Last Supper and in the church at the Pool of Bethsaida, declared that now was the time to discover who had preserved the Spirit sent by Jesus, now was the time to labor, to suffer persecution, and to give up all things. Whoever did not feel himself strong enough for this should depart. I saw that about a hundred of those that had most recently joined the Commu­nity withdrew from the great crowd in the Beth­saida church.

When Peter, accompanied by John and seven other Apostles, went again to teach in the Temple, he found numbers of sick lying on litters under tents in the Valley of Josaphat. Many others were lying around the Temple in the court of the heathens and even up as far as the steps. I saw Peter performing most of the cures. The others did indeed effect some, but they helped Peter more than they cured. Peter cured those only that believed and were desirous of join­ing the Community. In those places in which the sick lay in two rows opposite each other, I saw cured, Peter willing it, those upon whom his shadow fell, while he was busied with the opposite row.


1. The Blessed Virgin Goes with John To the Neighborhood of Ephesus

About one year after the Crucifixion of Our Lord, Stephen was stoned, though no further persecution of the Apostles took place at that time. The rising settlement of new converts around Jerusalem, how­ever, was dissolved, the Christians dispersed, and some were murdered. A few years later, a new storm arose against them. Then it was that the Blessed Virgin, who until that time had dwelt in the small house near the Coenaculum and in Bethania, allowed herself to be conducted by John to the region of Ephesus, where the Christians had already made settlements. This happened a short time after the imprisonment of Lazarus and his sisters by the Jews and their setting out over the sea. John returned again to Jerusalem, where the other Apostles still were. James the Greater was one of the first of the Apostles who, after the division of the different coun­tries had been made, left Jerusalem and started for Spain. I saw him on his departure in Bethlehem, where he concealed himself in the Crib Cave and then with his companions secretly wandering through the country, for there were spies in search of them with orders to prevent their leaving Palestine. But James had friends in Joppa, and he succeeded in embarking. He sailed first to Ephesus in order to visit Mary, and thence to Spain. Shortly before his death, he visited Mary and John a second time in their home at Ephesus. Here Mary told him that


James the Greater


 his death would soon take place in Jerusalem. She encouraged and consoled him. James took leave of her and his brother John, and started for Jerusalem. It was at this period that he was brought into con­tact with Hermogenes and his pupil, both of whom he converted by his miracles. James was several times apprehended and taken before the Synagogue. I saw that shortly before Easter, while he was preaching on a hill in an open square of Jerusalem, he was arrested. It must have been about this time, for I saw the customary encampments around the city. James was not imprisoned long. He was sentenced to death in the same place of trial as Jesus. The whole place, however, had undergone a change. Those sites upon which Jesus had trodden were no longer in existence, and I have always thought that none other ever after trod the same. I saw James led out toward Mount Calvary. He continued his preaching all along the way, and thereby made many converts. When they bound his hands, he remarked: "Ye can bind my hands, but ye cannot bind the blessing, ye cannot bind my tongue!" A lame man was sitting by the roadside. He called to James, begging him to extend his hand and help him. James responded: "Come thou to me, and reach out thine hand to me!" The lame man arose, seized the fettered hands of the Apostle, and was cured. I saw also the man that had denounced him. He was named Josias. His heart smote him. He hurried to the Apostle and begged forgiveness. He declared himself for Christ and was likewise put to death. James asked him whether he desired Baptism, and when Josias answered yes, he embraced and kissed him, saying: "Thou wilt be bap­tized in thy blood!" I saw a woman running with her blind child to James on the place of execution, and imploring its restoration to sight.

James was at first stationed near Josias on an elevated place, and the sentence proclaimed aloud. Then he was laid on a large stone, his hands bound


Life of Jesus Christ

to it, his eyes blindfolded, and his head struck off. This took place in the twelfth year after Jesus' death, or between 46 and 47 after the Birth of Christ. I did not see James present at the death of the Blessed Virgin in Ephesus. There was another in his place, a relative of the Holy Family, and one of the first among the seventy-two disciples. Mary died in the year 48 after the Birth of Christ, thirteen years and two months after Christ's Ascension. This was shown me in numbers, not in writing. First, I saw IV, and then VIII, which denoted the year 48; lastly, I saw XIII, and two full months.

The Blessed Virgin's dwelling was not in Ephesus itself, but from three to four hours distant. It stood on a height upon which several Christians from Judea, among them some of the holy women related to her, had taken up their abode. Between this height and Ephesus glided, with many a crooked curve, a little river. The height sloped obliquely toward Eph­esus. From the southeast one beheld the city as if lying just before him, at the foot of a mountain, but on nearer approach, he found the latter stretching still further away. From Ephesus, before which I saw great avenues with yellow fruit strewing the ground, narrow footpaths led up to this wild, overgrown height, upon which, to the circumference of about an hour, stretched a very solitary but fertile plain covered with smooth-trunked, wide-spreading trees, and containing clean rocky caves. These latter had, by means of light woodwork, been converted into hermitages by the early Christian settlers who had fled thither for refuge. These abodes, along with oth­ers that stood alone scattered here and there over the whole country, gave the region the appearance of a little village. From the top of this elevated plain, which was nearer to the sea than Ephesus, one could see both the city itself and the sea with its numer­ous islands. Not very far from the Christian settle­ment rose a castle whose occupant appeared to be

The Blessed Virgin's House


 a deposed king. John often visited him and finally converted him. At a later period, this place became a bishopric. Among the Christians settled here, I saw women, children, and some men. Not all of these people had intercourse with the Blessed Virgin. Only some holy women came now and then for a visit, or to render her some assistance, for they saw to her needs. The locality was very retired and seldom vis­ited by anyone, for no highway ran through it. The people of Ephesus did not trouble themselves about the little colony, and so they lived as if forgotten. The soil was fruitful, and the settlers owned some gardens and orchards. The only animals I saw in this place were wild goats.

Before John brought the Blessed Virgin to this settlement, he had built for her a dwelling of stone very similar to her own at Nazareth. It stood among trees, and was divided into two apartments by the fireplace in the center. The fire was on the earth opposite the entrance, in a kind of furnace formed by the wall, which rose up on either side like steps to the roof of the house. In it was cut the flue, from which the smoke escaped through a tube that pro­truded above the flat roof.

The front room of the house was separated from the back by wicker screens placed on either side of the fireplace. Similar screens rested against the walls, right and left, the whole length of the house. They were used to form little apartments when needed, and could be easily put aside when the room was to be used as one. Mary's maidservant used one of them as a sleeping apartment, and the others were occupied by the holy women of the settlement when they happened to come on a visit of some length.

To the right and left on either side of the fire­place, light doors opened through the wicker parti­tion into the two back rooms, whose end walls were rounded and very pleasing to the eye, covered as


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 they were with neatly wrought woodwork. The roof was rounded on the sides, and the beams above it were bound with wainscoting and twisted work, and ornamented with some simple imitation of foliage. In the most remote space of the rounded end Mary had her oratory, before which hung a curtain. Here in a niche in the wall was a kind of closet which, like a certain kind of tabernacle, could be made to open and close by revolving. In it was a Crucifix about the length of one's arm. The arms were set into the trunk in an obliquely raised direction like that of Christ. This most simply carved Crucifix was, I think, made by the Blessed Virgin herself and John. It was constructed of three different kinds of wood: the whitish trunk was cypress wood, one arm of a brownish color was cedar, the other, which was yellowish, was made from wood of the palm tree. The top piece that supported the inscription was of polished yellow olive wood. The foot of the Crucifix was set firmly in a stone like Christ's in the rock of Calvary. At its foot lay a strip of parchment on which were inscribed some words of the Saviour. The figure representing the Lord was formed simply of dark-colored lines cut into the cross. On either side of the Crucifix stood a pot of flowers. I saw also lying near the cross a little linen, of which I had the intuitive knowledge that it was the one with which the Blessed Virgin, after the taking down of the Sacred Body from the cross, had cleansed the wounds from blood; for as soon as I saw the little cloth, I had a vision of that exercise of her most sacred mother-love, in which she held the little linen in the same way as does the priest at the holy Mass when he is purifying the chalice. Mary had a simi­lar Crucifix, though only half as large, in the alcove in which she slept.

On the right of the oratory and against the rounded wall, was the alcove of the Blessed Virgin. It was formed of two lightly woven screens of sap­wood

Mary's Last Days


 in its natural color. These stood at the head and the foot of the couch respectively; in front hung two curtains of tapestry that could be drawn and looped to either side. The couch was placed along the wall, which too was hung with tapestry. It was the length and breadth of a small bed, and consisted of a wooden frame about a foot and a half high. Over it a tester was stretched and fastened on the knobs of the four corners. The sides of the frame also were covered with tapestry, which hung down to the floor and was fringed with tassels. A round roll served as a pillow. The cover was of brownish checkered stuff. The ceiling of this little sleeping apartment was the loftiest in the house. It too was formed of wickerwork and, from the four corners to the cen­ter, ran up into a concave dome from which was sus­pended a branched lamp.

Here, on the last days before her death, I saw the Blessed Virgin lying entirely enveloped in a white sleeping sheet; even her arms were wound up in it. The veil over her head was thrown up in cross-folds, but when conversing with men, she lowered it. Even her hands were uncovered only when she was alone. During those last days, I did not see her taking any­thing excepting the juice of a grapelike fruit with yellow berries, which the maid pressed out for her into a little cup.

By the wall to the left of the oratory and directly opposite the alcove, a recess was formed by means of wicker screens in which clothes and other things were kept. Besides some veils and girdles and the upper garment that Mary always wore when mak­ing the holy Way of the Cross, there hung in that recess two long robes, one white, the other sky-blue. The latter was a very delicate blue, and there was likewise a mantle of the same color. This was the robe in which Mary was married to Joseph. I saw too that Mary kept near her many of the garments of her Divine Son, among them His woven tunic.


Life of Jesus Christ

From that recess to the alcove extended a curtain by which the oratory could be concealed. When at work, Mary used to sit before this curtain and just between the recess and the alcove.

In this most silent and solitary little dwelling, from which the abodes of the other settlers were distant about a quarter of an hour, lived the Blessed Virgin alone with her maid, who procured for her the little that she needed for her support. There was no man in the house, and only at times was Mary visited by John or some other travelling Apostle and disciple. Once I saw John entering the house, He was thin and looked older. He wore a long white garment girdled in folds, but which was now tucked up. He laid it aside on entering, and taking out another from under his mantle, put it on instead. There was an inscription in letters on this second one. He laid a maniple on his arm. The Blessed Vir­gin was in a little private room from which the maid conducted her to John. She was enveloped in a white robe and looked very weak, Her face was, as it were, transparent and white as snow. She appeared to be soaring upward on the wings of her ardent desires. Her whole life after her Son's Ascension into Heaven was stamped by an ever-increasing longing to be freed from earth. She retired with John to her ora­tory, pulled a band, or strap, upon which the taber­nacle in the niche revolved and disclosed the Crucifix of the length of one's arm standing between two vases of natural flowers. After Mary and John had prayed long on their knees before the Crucifix, the latter arose and took from a metal box a roll of fine woolen stuff. Opening this, he took out a small piece of white bread, in shape four-cornered, that was care­fully folded in white linen cloths. It was the Most Blessed Sacrament, which with some words he gave to Mary. He presented to her no cup.

Mary's Holy Way of the Cross


2. Mary's "Holy Way of the Cross" Near Ephesus. She Visits Jerusalem

In the neighborhood of her dwelling, the Blessed Virgin had herself erected the Stations of the Holy Way of the Cross. I saw her at first going alone and measuring off all the special points of the bitter Pas­sion according to the number of steps which, after the death of her Son, she had so often counted. At the end of each definite number, she raised a memo­rial stone in remembrance of the special suffering there endured by her Divine Son. I saw her with a sharp instrument, a stylus, recording what there had taken place and how many steps it was to it. If a tree happened to be standing on that particular spot, she marked it as one of the Stations, of which there were twelve. The way led to a grove, and there was the Holy Sepulcher represented by a cave in the side of a hill. After all the Stations were definitively marked, the Blessed Virgin made the Holy Way with her maid in silent meditation. When they reached a Station, they sat down, meditated upon the mystery and its signification, and prayed. By degrees, the whole route was improved and more beautifully arranged. John gave orders for regular monuments to be set up. I saw also the cave representing the Sepulcher being cleared out and made more suitable for prayer. The memorial stones lay in hollows of greater or less depth, which were covered with grass and flowers and surrounded by a hedge. They were of polished white marble. The thickness of the under­lying surface could not be seen, on account of the grass. The Faithful, when performing this devotion, carried a cross about a foot in length with a support which they placed in the little hollow on the upper surface of the stone while they were meditating, either kneeling or prostrate on their face. The path that ran in a hollow around the stone was wide enough for two persons to walk side by side. There were


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 twelve such stones. When the devotion was ended, each was covered with a mat. The sides and base of all bore similar inscriptions in Hebrew characters, but the hollow places in which they rested differed, some being larger, others smaller. The First Station, or that of the Mount of Olives, was in a little vale. There was a small cave in it, in which several could kneel together. The Mount Calvary Station was the only one not in a hollow. It was on a hill. For that of the Holy Sepulcher, one had to cross another hill on whose opposite side stood the memorial stone in a hollow. Thence one descended to the foot of the hill and into the tomb itself, in which later on Mary's remains rested. I think this tomb is still in existence under the surface of the earth, and that it will come to light someday.

Whenever I saw Mary making the Holy Way of the Cross, she wore an over garment that fell in folds down the back as far as the feet. It was laid over the shoulders and was fastened under the collar by a button. It was girded round the waist, thus tak­ing in the brownish under dress. It appeared to be a festal robe, for in accordance with ancient Jewish customs, a similar one had been worn also by Anne. Her hair was concealed under a yellowish cap, which was pointed on the forehead and gathered together in folds at the back of the head. A black veil of soft material hung down far below the waist. In this dress I saw her making the Way of the Cross. She had worn it at the Crucifixion under the mantle of prayer, or mourning, which entirely enveloped her, and she wore it now only when performing this devo­tion. When at work in the house, she laid it aside.

The Blessed Virgin was now very advanced in years, but she had in her appearance no other mark of age than that of a great longing, which at length effectuated her glorification. She was inexpressibly grave. I never saw her laugh. The older she grew, the whiter and more transparent became her face.

The Blessed Virgin Visits Jerusalem


 She was thin, but I saw no wrinkle, no sign of decay in her. She was like a spirit.

Once I saw the Blessed Virgin and five other women making the Holy Way, along which she went first. She was perfectly white and transparent, inde­scribably touching to look upon. It seemed to me that she was now making the devotion for the last time. Among the holy women who were praying with her, there were several that had become acquainted with her in the first year of Jesus' teaching. One was a relative of the Prophetess Anna, and another was the granddaughter of a maternal aunt of Eliz­abeth. I saw two of the women making the Way of the Cross by turns every morning and evening.

After Mary had lived three years in the settle­ment near Ephesus, she conceived a great desire to visit Jerusalem, so John and Peter escorted her thither. Several Apostles were there assembled, of whom I remember Thomas. I think it was a Coun­cil, and Mary assisted the Apostles with her advice. On her arrival, I saw her in the evening twilight visiting, before she entered the city, the Mount of Olives, Mount Calvary, the Holy Sepulcher, and all the Holy Places around Jerusalem. The Mother of God was so sad, so moved by compassion, that she could scarcely walk. Peter and John supported her under the arms.

A year and a half before her death, she made one more journey from Ephesus to Jerusalem, and I saw her again visiting the Holy Places. She was unspeak­ably sorrowful, and she continually sighed: "O my Son! My Son!" When she came to the back gate of that palace where she had first seen Jesus passing with the cross and where He fell, she was so agi­tated by the painful remembrance that she too sank to the ground. Her companions thought her dying. They removed her to Sion, upon which the Coenac­ulum was still standing, and in one of whose build­ings she took up her abode. For several days she


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 appeared to be so weak and so near death that her friends began to think of preparing her a tomb. She herself made choice of a cave on Mount Olivet, and the Apostles had a beautiful tomb built there by a Christian stonecutter. Many were of the opinion that she would really die; and so the report of her death spread abroad. But she recovered sufficient strength to journey back to Ephesus where, a year and a half later, she did indeed die. The tomb prepared for her on Mount Olivet was ever after held in reverence, and at a later period a church was built over it. John Damascene, as I was told in vision, wrote from hearsay that the Blessed Virgin died in Jerusalem and was buried there. Her death, her Assumption into Heaven, and the site of her tomb, as I believe, God has allowed to be subjects of uncertain tradi­tion that the pagan sentiments of the time might not penetrate Christianity, for the Blessed Virgin might otherwise have been adored as a goddess.

3. The Apostles Arrive to Be Present at the Blessed Virgin's Death

As the Blessed Virgin felt her end approaching, in accordance with the directions of her Divine Son, she called the Apostles to her by prayer. She was now in her sixty-third year. At the time of Christ's birth she was in her fifteenth. Before His Ascension Jesus had made known to His most holy Mother what she should say at the end of her earthly career to the Apostles and some of the disciples who should be with her. He told her also that she should bless them, and that it would conduce very much to their welfare and eternal salvation. He entrusted to her also certain spiritual labors for the general good, which being accomplished, her longing after Heaven was to be realized. Jesus had at the same time made known to Magdalen that she was to live concealed

The Apostles Gather for Mary's Death


 in the wilderness, and that Martha was to establish a community of women. He added that He Himself would always be with them.

At the prayer of the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles received, through angels, an admonition to repair to her at Ephesus. In the various places in which they were, they had erected little churches here and there. Many of them were constructed merely of plaited rods, or branches, covered with clay, but all were of the same form as Mary's house, that is, three-cornered in the back. They were provided with altars for the celebration of Holy Mass. The journeys of the Apostles, so distant, so exceedingly remote, were not made without divine assistance. Although they themselves were perhaps unconscious of it at the time, yet I do not doubt that they passed through many dangers in a supernatural manner. I often saw them walking unnoticed through the midst of a crowd, I have likewise seen that the miracles wrought by them among the various pagan nations were very numerous and of a different kind from those recorded of them in the Holy Scriptures. They labored every­where according to the peculiar needs of the people. I saw that they carried about them the bones of the Prophets or those of the first Christian martyrs, which relics they placed before them in time of prayer or when offering the Holy Sacrifice.

When called to Mary, Peter was in the region of Antioch with another Apostle. Andrew, who had shortly before been in Jerusalem, but had there been persecuted, was not far from Peter. I saw them both on their way to Ephesus at places not very distant from each other. They passed the nights in those open inns that are met along the roads in hot coun­tries. As Peter was lying one night near a wall, a resplendent youth approached him, took him by the hand, and bade him arise and hasten to Mary. On the way, the youth said, he would meet Andrew. Peter, who had grown stiff from age and fatigue,


Life of Jesus Christ

 rose to a sitting posture and, clasping his hands round his knees to support himself, listened to the angel's words. Then he stood up, put on his mantle, girded himself, took his staff, and started on his journey. He soon came up with Andrew, who had been called by the same apparition. After travelling some distance they were met by Thaddeus, who also had received a similar warning. They journeyed together to Mary, with whom they found John.

Jude Thaddeus and Simon were in Persia when they received their summons, Thomas, who was in stature thick and short and had reddish-brown or auburn hair, was of all the Apostles the farthest off. He arrived only after Mary's death. When the angel came to call him, he was praying in a hut built of reeds. With one very poor, simple servant, I saw him sailing alone in a little boat far over the waters. Then he journeyed across the country, turning aside from all the cities. A disciple now accompanied him. Thomas was in India when he received the warn­ing. Before receiving it he had determined to go into Tartary, and he could not bring himself to change his plans. He always wanted to do so much, there­fore it was that he was often behind time. So off he started northward almost across China, where Rus­sia now is.1 Here he was called a second time. He obeyed the summons and hurried to Ephesus. The servant with him was a Tartar whom he had bap­tized. Thomas did not return to Tartary after Mary's death. He was pierced with a lance in India. I have seen that he set up a stone in this last-named coun­try, upon which he knelt in prayer, and upon which the marks of his knees remained impressed. He told the people that when the sea would reach that stone, another would here preach Jesus Christ.

John had shortly before been in Jericho, for he often journeyed to Palestine, He usually abode in

1. Asiatic Russia.

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

This document is: ACE_4_0441

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