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

2.10 VISION OF THE FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION [43] .




During the whole night I saw a terrible, horrifying picture of the sins of the whole world; but towards morning I fell asleep again and was transported to the place in Jerusalem where the Temple had stood, and then on to the region of Nazareth, where the house of Joachim and Anna used to stand. I recognized the country round. Here I saw a slender column of light rising out of the earth like the stem of a flower. This column was crowned with the appearance of a shining octagonal church, which grew forth from the stem like the calyx of a flower or the seed vessel of a poppy. [44] The column grew up within this church like a little tree, with symmetrical branches bearing the figures of those among the Blessed Virgin's family who were the objects of veneration on this feast. It was as if they were standing on the stamens of a flower. I saw the Blessed Virgin's holy mother St. Anne, standing between Joachim and another man, her father perhaps. Beneath St. Anne's breast I saw a space filled with light, somewhat in the shape of a chalice, and in this I saw the figure of a shining child growing and developing. Its little hands were crossed on its breast and its little head was bent, and countless rays of light issued from it towards one part of the world. (I thought it strange that they did not shine in all directions.) On others of the surrounding branches were many figures turned towards the center in veneration, and all round within the church I saw orders and choirs of saints, countless in number, all turning in prayer towards that holy mother. This celebration, in the sweetness of its harmony and devotion, can only be compared to a meadow of innumerable flowers, stirred by a gentle wind and lifting their heads to offer their scents and their colors to the sun from which they have received life itself and all they have to offer. Above this symbolical picture of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception the tree of light sent up another shoot, and in this second crown I saw a further moment of the feast being celebrated. Mary and Joseph were kneeling here, and a little lower St. Anne, all in adoration of the child Jesus, whom I saw above them in the top of the tree, holding in His hand the orb or globe and surrounded by an infinite glory of light. Around this scene, and bowing in adoration before it, were, nearest of all, the three holy kings, the shepherds, and the apostles and disciples; farther away other saints joined in the choirs of worshippers. In the light from above I saw indistinct figures of Powers and Principalities, and still higher I saw as it were a half-sun, its light streaming down through the dome of the church. This second picture seemed to indicate the approach of the Feast of the Nativity after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. When the picture first appeared, I seemed to be standing outside the church, looking outwards from under the pillar; later I saw into the inside of the church as I have described it. I saw, too, the little child Mary developing in the space of light under St. Anne's heart, and received, at the same moment, an inexpressible conviction of the Immaculate Conception. I read it as clearly as in a book, and understood it. It was shown to me, that a church to the glory of God had once stood here, but had been given over to destruction in consequence of unworthy disputes about this holy mystery; that the Church Triumphant, however, still celebrated this feast on this spot.











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