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The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

2.1 THE ANGELS ARE SHOWN THE RESTORATION OF MANKIND.




I saw in a wonderful picture that God showed the angels how it was His will to restore mankind after the Fall. At first sight I did not understand this picture, but soon it became quite clear to me. I saw the Throne of God and the Holy Trinity, and at the same time a movement within that Trinity. I saw the nine choirs of angels, and how God announced to them in what manner it was His will to restore the fallen human race. I saw an inexpressible joy among the angels over this. I was now shown in a number of symbolic pictures the unfolding of God's designs for the salvation of mankind. I saw these pictures appearing among the nine choirs of angels and following each other in a kind of historical sequence. I saw the angels helping to make these pictures, protecting and defending them. I cannot now remember for certain the order in which they appeared, but will tell in God's name what I can still recollect. I saw a mountain as of precious stones appear before the Throne of God; it grew and spread. It was in terraces, like a throne; then it changed into the shape of a tower--a tower which enshrined every treasure of the spirit and every gift of grace and was surrounded by the nine choirs of angels. At one side of this tower vine tendrils and ears of corn, intertwined like the fingers of folded hands, seemed to be streaming down from the edge of a golden cloud. I cannot remember at what exact moment in the whole picture I saw this. I saw in the sky a figure like a virgin which passed into the tower and as it were melted into it. The tower was very broad and was flat at the top; it seemed to have an opening at the back through which the virgin passed into it. This was not the Blessed Virgin as she is in time, but as she is in eternity, in God. I saw the appearance of her being formed before the face of the Holy Trinity, just as when one breathes, a little cloud is formed before one's mouth. [33] I also saw something going forth from the Holy Trinity towards the tower. At this moment of the picture I saw a vessel like a ciborium being formed among the choirs of angels. The angels all joined in giving this vessel the form of a tower surrounded by many pictures full of significance. Beside it stood two figures joining hands behind it. This spiritual vessel went on increasing in size, beauty, and richness. Then I saw something proceed from God and pass through all nine choirs of angels; it seemed to me like a little shining holy cloud which became more and more distinct as it approached the sacramental vessel which it finally entered. But in order that I should recognize this to be a real and essential blessing of God, conferring the grace of a pure and sinless line from generation to generation (like the cultivation of some plant in all its purity), I finally saw this blessing in the shape of a shining bean, enter the ciborium, which then passed into the tower. [34] I saw the angels actively taking part in the showing forth of these visions. There rose, however, from the depths below a series of what seemed to be false visions, for I saw the angels combating these and thrusting them aside. Many of these false visions I have forgotten, but here is what I still remember about them.

I saw a church rise up from below, almost in the same form in which the holy universal Church always appears to me when I see it not as a particular building but as the Holy Catholic Church in general. There was, however, this difference, that the latter has a tower over the entrance and the church rising from the depths had not. It was a very large church but a false one. The angels thrust it aside so that it stood all crooked. I also saw a great bowl, with a lip on one side; which tried to enter the false church but was also thrust aside. I then saw the angels preparing a chalice, of the shape of the Chalice of the Last Supper, which passed into the tower entered by the virgin. I also saw a lower tower or building appear, with many doors, through which I saw crowds of people passing, among them figures like Abraham and the Children of Israel. I think this had reference to the slavery in Egypt. I saw a round terraced tower arise, which also had reference to Egypt. This was thrust back and made to stand crooked. I also saw an Egyptian temple arise, like the one on the ceiling of which I had seen the Egyptian priests, idolaters, fastening the image of a winged virgin after receiving from Elijah' messenger communications of a prophetic vision of the Blessed Virgin. I will speak of his vision later; it was seen by the prophet on Mount Carmel. This temple, too, was thrust back and made to stand crooked.

I then saw between the choirs of angels, to the right of the holy tower, a branch which put forth buds, making a whole ancestral tree of little male and female figures holding each other's hands. This family tree ended with the appearance of a little crib with a little child in it. The crib was of the same shape as the one I had seen exposed in the temple of the Three Kings. [35] Then I saw a beautiful great church appear.

The way in which all these pictures were united with each other and yet melted one into the other was very wonderful. The whole vision was indescribably rich and full of significance. Even the hateful, evil, false appearances of towers, chalices, and churches, which were thrust aside, were made to assist in the unfolding of the scheme of salvation.

[When recounting these scattered visions, she came back again and again to the unspeakable joy of the angels. There was no real conclusion to these fragmentary visions, which seem to have been a series of symbolic pictures of the history of our salvation. She added: First of all I saw the emblems of the work of redemption among the choirs of angels, and then a series of pictures from Adam down to the Babylonian captivity.']











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