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

5. COMMEMORATION OF MARY'S WEDDING.




Joseph did not remain hidden in the grave of Maraha. I saw him making all sorts of arrangements in the Cave of the Nativity with the two old shepherds. I saw the shepherds carrying in wreaths of leaves and flowers, but did not at first know why they were doing this; afterwards I saw that they were the preparations for a very touching ceremony. I saw Eliud, Anna's second husband, there once more, and also the maidservant. They had brought two donkeys with them. They had probably met Anna's menservants when the latter had come only part of the way from Nazareth with the animals, and had then sent the men and the baggage back to Nazareth and brought the donkeys to Bethlehem themselves. When I saw them on their way back here, I thought for some time that they were people from an inn outside Jerusalem where I saw the Holy Family staying later. Joseph had made use of the absence of the Blessed Virgin in Maraha's grave to decorate the Cave of the Nativity, with the help of the shepherds, in honor of the anniversary of their wedding. When all was in order, he fetched the Blessed Virgin with the Infant Jesus and Anna, and led them into the decorated Cave of the Nativity. Eliud and the maidservant and the three old shepherds were already there. How moving it was to see their joy when the Blessed Virgin carried the Infant Jesus into the cave! The roof and wails of the cave were hung with wreaths of flowers, and a table was set for a meal in the center. Some of the three holy kings' beautiful carpets were spread on the floor and table and hung on the walls. On the table a pyramid of foliage and flowers rose to an opening in the roof: on the topmost twig there was a dove which had, I think, been made for the occasion. I saw the whole cave full of lights and brightness. They had put the Infant Jesus sitting up in His basket-cradle on a stool. Mary and Joseph, crowned with wreaths, stood beside Him and drank out of one goblet. Besides the relations the old shepherds were present. They sang hymns and partook happily of a light meal. I saw choirs of angels and heavenly powers appearing in the cave. All present were filled with emotion and fervor. After this ceremony the Blessed Virgin with the Infant Jesus and Anna again betook themselves to the grave of Maraha.











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