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.