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

2. ST. ANNE RETURNS WITH ELIUD.




[December 26 ^th:] Today Zechariah went away again, but Anna came back to visit the Holy Family with her eldest daughter, her second husband and the maidservant. Anna's eldest daughter is bigger than her mother and really looks older than Anna. Anna's second husband is taller and older than Joachim was. His name is Eliud, and he had a post at the Temple connected with the supervision of the sacrificial animals. Anna had a daughter by him, also called Mary. At Christ's birth she must have been six or eight years old. This Eliud died soon after this, and it was God's will that Anna should marry for the third time. Of this marriage there was a son, who was called one of Christ's brethren.

The maidservant brought by Anna from Nazareth a week ago is still with the Blessed Virgin. While the Blessed Virgin was living in the Cave of the Nativity, this maidservant lived in the little cave at the side; but now, as Mary is in the cave at the side, the maidservant sleeps under a shelter put up for her by Joseph in front of the cave. Anna and her companions sleep in the Cave of the Nativity.

The Holy Family is now deeply joyful. Anna is blissfully happy. Mary often lays the Infant Jesus in her arms for her to nurse. I did not see her do that with anyone else. I saw, to my great wonderment, that the Infant's hair, which is yellow and curly, ends in little fine rays of light intersecting each other. I think they make his hair curly, for I see them rubbing his head after washing it. They put a little cloak round him the while. I always see in the Holy Family the most touching and devout honor being paid to the Infant Jesus, but it is all quite simple and human, as it always is with holy and elect ones. The Child turns to His Mother with love such as I have never seen in one so young.

Mary told her mother all about the visit of the three holy kings, and Anna was greatly moved on hearing that the Lord God had summoned them from so far to acknowledge the Child of the Promise. She was shown the gifts of the kings, which were hidden in a wicker basket in a covered niche in the wall. She recognized them as tokens of homage and gazed at them with deep humility. She helped to give away some of them and to arrange and pack up the rest. All is now quiet in the neighborhood; all the paths except the one through the gate of the town have been closed by the authorities. Joseph no longer goes to Bethlehem for what he wants; the shepherds bring him everything needful. The kinswoman with whom Anna stayed in Benjamin is Mara [136] , the daughter of Elizabeth's sister Rhoda. She is poor, and later had several sons, who became disciples. One of them was called Nathanael and was later the bridegroom at Cana. This Mara was present at the Blessed Virgin's death at Ephesus.

This Nathanael is not the one whom Jesus saw under the fig tree. Nathanael, Mara's son, was present as a boy at the children's festival given by Anna for the twelve-year-old Jesus, when He came home after His first teaching in the Temple. The boy Jesus told on this occasion a parable of a wedding where water was to be turned into wine, and of another wedding, where wine was to be turned into blood. He told the boy Nathanael, as if in jest, that one day He would be present at Nathanael's wedding. The bride of Cana came from Bethlehem, from Joseph's family. After the miracle at Cana the bridegroom and the bride made a mutual vow of continence. Nathanael at once became a disciple and received the name Amator in baptism. Later he was made a bishop and was in Edessa; he was also on the island of Crete with Carpus. He then went to Armenia, and because of the many conversions he made he was captured and sent into exile to the shores of the Black Sea. On being set free he came into Mensor's land, where he worked a miracle (which I have forgotten) on a woman and baptized so many people that he was done to death, in the city of Acajacuh on an island in the River Euphrates. [137]

Today Anna sent away her husband Eliud with a loaded donkey and the maidservant, her relation, with two big packs. She carried one on her back and one in front. These contain part of the kings' gifts, stuffs of various kinds and golden vessels, which in later years were used at the first Christian religious services. They are sending everything away in secret, for some sort of investigation is always going on about here. It seems as though they are only taking these things to some place on the way to Nazareth whence they will be fetched by servants, for in earlier visions I saw Eliud back in Bethlehem at Anna's departure thence, which will soon take place. Anna was now alone with Mary in the side-cave. I saw that they were working together, plaiting and knitting a coarse blanket. The Cave of the Nativity is now completely cleared out. Joseph's donkey is hidden behind wicker screens. Today there were again officers of Herod in Bethlehem, searching in a number of houses for a newborn child.











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