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

5. CANDLEMAS.




The Feast of Candlemas was represented to me in a great picture, but one very difficult to describe, although I recollect much of what I saw.

I saw a feast being celebrated in the Church, transparent and floating above the earth, as I always am shown the Catholic Church when I am to contemplate it, not as some particular local church, but as the Universal Church itself. I saw this Church filled with choirs of angels surrounding the Most Holy Trinity. Since, however, I saw the Second Person of that Most Holy Trinity being presented and redeemed in the Temple, incarnate in the form of the Infant Jesus and yet present in the Most Holy Trinity, it seemed to me, as it did a short time ago, that the Child Jesus was sitting near me and comforting me at the same time that I saw a vision of the Holy Trinity. I saw the appearance of the Word become Flesh, the Infant Jesus, at my side, connected with the vision of the Trinity as it were by a path of light. I could not say, He is not there, since He is with me', nor could I say, He is not with me, since He is there'. And yet, in the instant when I had a vivid sensation of the Child Jesus being near me, the representation of the Most Holy Trinity was shown to me, but in a different form from that in which I see it when it is a picture of the Godhead alone.

I saw an altar appear in the center of the Church--not an altar like those in our churches today, but just an altar. On this altar stood a little tree of the same kind as the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, with broad hanging leaves. Then I saw the Blessed Virgin rise before the altar with the Infant Jesus in her arms as if she had come up out of the earth; and I saw the tree on the altar bow before her and then wither away. And I saw a great angel in priest's vestments, with only a ring round his head, approach Mary. She gave him the Child, whom he placed on the altar, and in the same moment I saw the Child thus offered up pass into the picture of the Holy Trinity, which I now saw once more in its usual form. I saw, too, that the angel gave the Mother of God a little bright globe surmounted by the figure of a child in swaddling-bands, and that Mary floated with this gift towards the altar. I saw crowds of poor people coming to her from all sides bearing lights: she handed all these lights to the Child on the globe, into whom they passed. And I saw a light and a radiance being thrown by these lights on Mary and the Child, illuminating everything. Mary had a flowing mantle which spread over the whole earth. The picture was then transformed into a festal ceremony.

I think that the withering of the Tree of Knowledge at Mary's appearance, and the passing of the Child on the altar into the Holy Trinity signified the reunion of mankind with God. That is why I saw all the scattered individual lights handed to the Mother of God and given by her to the Child Jesus: for He was the light enlightening all mankind, in whom alone all the scattered lights became one light to enlighten the whole world, symbolized by the globe, the orb of a king. The lights presented to the Blessed Virgin signified the Blessing of the Candles at today's feast.











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