HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







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

I. ANCESTORS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN




Last night there came again before my soul everything that I had so often seen as a child concerning the life of the ancestors of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I saw it all in a series of pictures just as I did then. If only I could tell it all as I know it and have it before my eyes, it would certainly give great joy to the Pilgrim. [1] In my miserable state I was greatly revived by contemplating these pictures. As a child I was so certain of all I saw that if anyone told me any of the stories differently, I would say straight out: No, this is how it is.' And, indeed, I would have let myself be killed rather than deny that it was thus and not otherwise. Later on, life in the world confused me, and I kept silence. The inner certainty has, however, always remained with me, and last night I once more saw everything even to the smallest details.

When I was a child, my thoughts were always taken up with the Crib and the Child Jesus and with the Mother of God, and I often wondered very much why people told me nothing about the family of the Blessed Virgin. I could not understand at all why so little had been written down about her ancestors and relations. In the great longing which I had, I then received a multitude of visions of the Blessed Virgin's ancestors. I must have seen them back to the fourth or fifth generation. I saw them always as wonderfully pious and simple people inspired by a quite extraordinary secret longing for the coming of the promised Messiah. I saw them always living amongst other men who, compared to them, seemed to me rough and barbarous. They themselves, I saw, were so quiet, gentle and kindly, that I often said to myself in great anxiety about them: O where can these good people find a refuge, how are they to escape from those rough, wicked men? I will seek them out and will be their servant, I will fly with them into a wood where they can hide themselves; I am sure I shall still be able to find them!' So clearly did I see them and believe in them, that I was always afraid and full of anxiety about them.

I always saw these people leading a life of great self-denial. I often saw that those among them who were married bound themselves mutually to observe continence for a time; and this gave me much joy, though why this was I could not clearly say. They practiced these separations chiefly when they were occupied with all kinds of religious ceremonies, accompanied by incense and prayers. [2] From these I perceived that there were priests among them. I often saw them moving from one place to another, leaving large homesteads and retiring to smaller ones, in order to lead their lives undisturbed by wicked people.

They were so devout and so full of longing towards God that I often saw them alone in the field by day, and by night, too, running about and crying to God with such intense desire that, in the hunger of their hearts, they tore open their garments at their breasts, as if God were about to burn Himself into their hearts with the hot rays of the sun, or to quench with the moonlight and starlight their thirst for the fulfillment of the Promise.

I remember pictures like these came to me when, as a child or as a young girl, I was kneeling and praying to God, alone with the flock in the pastures, or at night on the high fields above our farm; or when, in Advent, I walked through the snow at midnight to the Rorate [3] devotions in St. James's Church at Coesfeld, three-quarters of an hour away from our cottage at Flamske. The evening before, and in the night, too, I prayed much for the poor souls in purgatory. I thought that in their lives they had perhaps not been eager enough for grace; perhaps they had given way to other desires for the creatures and goods of the world, had fallen into many faults, and were now yearning to be released. So I offered up my prayer and my longing to God our Savior for them, trying as it were to pay their debt for them. I got a little benefit, too, for myself, for I knew that the kind Holy Souls, in gratitude to me and because of their constant desire for help by prayers, would wake me at the right time and would not let me oversleep. And so they did; they floated round my bed like little flames, little dim, quiet flames, and woke me just in time for me to be able to offer up my morning prayer for them. Then I sprinkled myself and them with holy water, put on my clothes, and started on my way. I saw the poor little lights accompanying me in a regular procession; and on the way I sang with true heart's desire: Drop down dew, you heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.' And as I sang, I saw here and there, in the wilderness and in the fields, the beloved ancestors of Our Blessed Lady running about and crying for the Messiah; and I did as they did, and came to Coesfeld always in time for the Rorate [4] Mass, even when the Holy Souls led me, as they sometimes did, a very long way round past all the Stations of the Cross.

Now, in my visions of these beloved ancestors of the Blessed Virgin praying so hard in their hunger for God, they seemed to me strange indeed in their dress and in their way of living, and yet so near and so clear to me, that I still know and have before my eyes all their features and figures. And I kept asking myself: What manner of people are these? Everything is different from nowadays, yet there these people are, and all that I see has really happened!' And so I always used to hope that I might go to them.

In all they did and in all they said and in their religious services, these good people were very decided and exact; and they made no lamentations except over the sufferings of their neighbors.











<|CONTENTS| |NEXT|>    | FOOTNOTES|














Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com