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

17. THEOKENO IS SUMMONED TO HEROD'S PALACE.




Herod's palace was on higher ground, not far from here, and I saw the way there illuminated with torches and braziers on poles. Herod sent a servant down and caused the oldest of the kings, Theokeno, to be brought to his palace in secret. It was after ten o'clock at night. He was received in a lower room by one of Herod's courtiers and questioned as to the object of his journey. He related everything in the most childlike manner, and begged him to ask Herod where to find the newborn King of the Jews whose star they had seen and followed in order to worship Him. When the courtier reported this to Herod, he was much startled, but he dissembled and sent in reply a message saying that he would cause inquiries to be made, but that in the meantime the kings were to rest: early next morning he would speak with them all himself and tell them what he had discovered. Theokeno was thus unable to give his companions any special encouragement when he returned to them, and they made no preparations for resting, but on the contrary ordered the repacking of much that had been unpacked. I did not see them sleeping that night at all; they were wandering about separately in the city with guides, looking at the sky as if they were seeking for their star. In Jerusalem itself all was quiet, but there was much talk and coming and going at the guard-house before the court. The kings were of the opinion that Herod probably knew everything but wished to keep it secret from them.

Herod was giving a feast when Theokeno was in the palace; the rooms were illuminated and full of guests, among them brazen-faced women in fine dresses. Theokeno's questions about a newborn King disturbed Herod greatly, and he at once summoned all the high priests and scribes. I saw them coming to him with their scrolls before midnight, wearing their priestly vestments and breast-plates and their girdles with letters. I saw as many as twenty of them about him. He asked them where Christ was to be born. I saw them unrolling their scrolls before him and answering, pointing with their fingers: In Bethlehem of Judah, for so it is written by the prophet Micah: "And you Bethlehem in the land of Judah are not the least among the princes of Judah; for out of you shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel."' Then I saw Herod walking about on the roof of the palace with some of them and looking in vain for the star of which Theokeno had spoken. He was in a strange state of unrest, but the learned priests made every effort to persuade him not to pay any attention to what the kings had said. These romantic people, they said, were always full of fantastic ideas about their stars; if such a thing had really happened, Herod and they themselves, in the Temple in the Holy City, would of course be the first to know of it.











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