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

2. SIMEON'S DEATH.




[February 3 ^rd:] Simeon had a wife and three sons, of whom the eldest was about forty and the youngest twenty years old. All three served in the Temple, and were later secret friends of Jesus and His followers. All became disciples of Our Lord, but at different times: before His death or after His ascension. At the Last Supper one of them prepared the Paschal Lamb for Jesus and the Apostles; but these were perhaps grandsons, not sons, of Simeon; I am not sure. Simeon's sons did much to help the friends of Our Lord at the time of the first persecutions after the Ascension. Simeon was related to Seraphia, who was later given the name Veronica, and also, through her father, to Zechariah.

I saw that Simeon fell ill yesterday immediately on returning home after his prophecy at the Presentation of Jesus, but he spoke very joyfully with his wife and sons. Tonight I saw that today was to be the day of his death. Of the many things I saw I can only remember this much. Simeon, from the couch where he lay, spoke earnestly to his wife and children, telling them of the salvation that was come to Israel and of everything that the angel had announced to him. His joy was touching to behold. Then I saw him die peacefully and heard the quiet lamentation of his family. Many other old priests and Jews were praying round his bed. Then I saw them carry his body into another room. They placed it on a board pierced with holes, and washed it with sponges, holding a cloth over it so that its nakedness could not be seen. The water ran through the board into a copper basin placed beneath it. Then they covered the body with big green leaves, surrounded it with bunches of sweet herbs, and wrapped it in a great cloth in which it was tied up with long bandages like a child in swaddling bands. The body lay so straight and rigid that I thought the bands must have been tied right round the board.

In the evening Simeon was buried. His body was carried to the grave by six men bearing torches. It lay on a board more or less the shape of a body, but surrounded by an edge higher in the middle of its four sides and lower at the corners. The wrapped-up corpse lay on this board without any other covering. The bearers and those who followed them walked quicker than is usual at our burials. The grave was on a hill not very far from the Temple. The door of the sepulcher was set slanting against a little hill. It was walled inside with a strange kind of masonry like that which I saw St. Benedict working at in his first monastery. [145] The walls, like those in the Blessed Virgin's cell in the Temple, were decorated with stars and other patterns in colored stones. The little cave in the middle of which they laid the corpse was just large enough to allow them to pass round the body. There were some other funeral customs such as laying various things beside the dead man--coins, little stones, and I think also food, but I am not sure.











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