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

24. DEPARTURE OF THE KINGS.




At midnight I suddenly saw a vision. I saw the kings lying asleep in their tent on rugs, and I saw the appearance of a shining youth among them. It was an angel. Their lamp was burning, and I saw them sitting up, half asleep. The angel woke them and told them to leave immediately, and not to go by Jerusalem but through the desert round the Dead Sea. They sprang in haste from their couches; some hurried to rouse their followers one went to the cave and woke St. Joseph, who hastened to Bethlehem to summon those who were in the inn. These, however, met him on his way there, for they had had the same vision. The tent was taken down, packed, and the rest of the encampment removed, all with wonderful speed. While the kings were taking once more a touching farewell of Joseph before the Crib, their followers were already hurrying southwards through the desert of Engaddi along the shores (If the Dead Sea. They traveled in separate parties so as to progress more quickly.

The kings begged that the Holy Family should fly with them, for danger most certainly threatened them, or at least that Mary should hide herself with the Child so as not to be molested because of them. They cried like children, embracing Joseph and speaking in the most moving manner. Then they mounted their dromedaries, which carried but little baggage, and hastened away across the desert. I saw the angel with them out in the fields, showing them their way; they seemed to be gone in an instant. They took different ways, about a quarter of an hour's distance apart from each other. First they went for an hour towards the east, and then southwards into the desert. Their way home led through the region which Jesus traversed on His return from Egypt in the third year of His ministry.











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