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

12. HOW THE APOSTLES WERE CALLED TO MARY'S DEATHBED.




A short time before the Blessed Virgin's death, as she felt the approach of her reunion with her God, her Son, and her Redeemer, she prayed that there might be fulfilled what Jesus had promised to her in the house of Lazarus at Bethany on the day before His Ascension. It was shown to me in the spirit how at that time, when she begged Him that she might not live for long in this vale of tears after He had ascended, Jesus told her in general what spiritual works she was to accomplish before her end on earth. He told her, too, that in answer to her prayers the Apostles and several disciples would be present at her death, and what she was to say to them and how she was to bless them. I saw, too, how He told the inconsolable Mary Magdalen to hide herself in the desert, and her sister Martha to found a community of women; He Himself would always be with them.

After the Blessed Virgin had prayed that the Apostles should come to her, I saw the call going forth to them in many different parts of the world. At this moment I can remember what follows.

In many of the places where they had taught, the Apostles had already built little churches. Some of them had not yet been built in stone, but were made of plaited reeds plastered with clay; yet all those I saw had at the back the semicircular or three-sided apse, like Mary's house at Ephesus. They had altars in them and offered the holy sacrifice of the Mass there.

I saw all, the farthest as well as the nearest, being summoned by visions to come to the Blessed Virgin. The indescribably long journeys made by the Apostles were not accomplished without miraculous assistance from the Lord. I think that they often traveled in a supernatural manner without knowing it, for I often saw them passing through crowds of men apparently without anyone seeing them.

I saw that the miracles which the Apostles worked amongst various heathen and savage peoples were quite different from their miracles described in Holy Writ. Everywhere they worked miracles according to the needs of the people. I saw that they all took with them on their travels the bones of the Prophets or of martyrs done to death in the first persecutions, and kept them at hand when praying and offering the Holy Sacrifice.

When the Lord's summons to Ephesus came to the Apostles, Peter, and I think also Matthias, were in the region of Antioch. Andrew, who was on his way from Jerusalem, where he had suffered persecution, was not far from him. In the night I saw Peter and Andrew asleep on their journey in different places but not very far apart from each other. Neither of them were in a town, but were taking their rest in public shelters such as are found by the roadside in these hot countries. Peter was lying against a wall. I saw a shining youth approach and wake him by taking him by the hand and telling him to rise and hurry to Mary, and that he would meet Andrew on the way. I saw that Peter, who was already stiff from age and his exertions, sat up and rested his hands on his knees as he listened to the angel. Hardly had the vision vanished when he got up, wrapped himself in his cloak, fastened his girdle, grasped his staff, and set forth. He was soon met by Andrew, who had been summoned by the same vision; later they met with Thaddeus, to whom the same message had been given. Thus all three came to Mary's house, where they met John.

James the Greater, who had a narrow pale face and black hair, came from Spain to Jerusalem with several disciples, and stayed some time in Sarona near Joppa. It was here that the summons to Ephesus reached him. After Mary's death he went with some six others back to Jerusalem and suffered a martyr's death. [192] The man who denounced him was converted, was baptized by him, and beheaded with him.

Jude Thaddeus and Simon were in Persia when the summons reached them.

Thomas was of low stature and had red-brown hair. He was the farthest off, and did not arrive until after Mary's death. [193] I saw the summoning angel come to him. He was a very long way off. He was not in any town, but in a reed-hut, where he was praying, when the angel told him to go to Ephesus. I saw him alone in a little boat with a very simpleminded servant crossing a wide expanse of water--then journeying across country without, I think, touching at any town. He was accompanied by a disciple. He was in India when he received the warning, but before that he had decided to go farther north to Tartary, and could not make up his mind to abandon this plan. (He always tried to do too much and so often arrived too late.) So he went still farther north, right across China, to where Russia is now, where he received a second summons which sent him hurrying to Ephesus. The servant whom he had with him was a Tartar whom he had baptized. This man played a part in later events, but I forget what it was. Thomas did not return to Tartary after Mary's death. He was killed in India by being pierced with a lance. I saw that he set up a stone in that country on which he knelt and prayed, and that the marks of his knees were imprinted upon the stone. He foretold that when the sea should reach this stone, another would come to that country preaching Jesus Christ.

John had been in Jericho a short time before; he often traveled to the Promised Land. He usually stayed in Ephesus and its neighborhood, and it was here that the summons reached him.

Bartholomew was in Asia, east of the Red Sea. He was handsome and very gifted. His complexion was pale, and he had a high forehead, large eyes, and black curly hair. He had a short black curly beard, divided in the middle. He had just converted a king and his family. I saw it all and will recount it in due course. When he returned there he was murdered by the king's brother.

I forget where James the Less was when the summons reached him. He was very handsome and had a great resemblance to Our Lord, whence he was called by all his brethren the brother of the Lord.

About Matthew I again saw today that he was the son of Alpheus by a former marriage, and was thus the stepson of Alpheus' second wife Mary, the daughter of Cleophas.

I forget about Andrew.

Paul was not summoned. Only those were summoned who were relations or acquaintances of the Holy Family.











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