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

3. THE ACTUAL SEASON OF MARY'S CONCEPTION (NOTE BY THE WRITER).




All that has so far been recorded of the blessing given to Joachim and Anna is compiled from visions and reminiscences of Catherine Emmerich during the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 ^th. She explained, however, on that day in the year 1821 that the meeting of Joachim and Anna under the Golden Gate did not occur in December but in the autumn, at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles (which lasted from the 15 ^th to 23 ^rd of the month Tisri, i.e. in September or October). [53] Thus she saw Joachim building tabernacles with his shepherds (see p. 22 ) before going to the Temple, and Anna receiving the promise of fruitfulness while she was praying under a tree which formed a tabernacle. In the previous year, 1820, she had, however, stated that she remembered Joachim having gone up to Jerusalem with his offerings on the occasion of a dedication festival. This cannot be the usual Jewish dedication feast in the winter (the 25 ^th day of the month, Kislev), but must doubtless be a memorial festival of Solomon's dedication of the Temple. According to Catherine Emmerich's daily accounts of the three years of Jesus' ministry, Our Lord was in Aruma (a few hours' distant from Salem) at the close of the Feast of Tabernacles in the second year of His ministry, and taught there about the approaching destruction of the Temple.

This feast is, it is true, not mentioned in the works about Jewish antiquities which we commonly consult, but its existence cannot, I think, be doubted, apart from Catherine Emmerich's statements, if it is remembered that Solomon celebrated the consecration of his Temple in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles (3 Kings 8.2-66, and 2 Chronicles 7.10), and that the Masora on 3 Kings 8.2 and 54 appoints the account of the consecration of Solomon's Temple as festival lessons for the second and eighth days of the Feast of Tabernacles. Although Catherine Emmerich saw the meeting of Joachim and Anna happening at the close of the Feast of Tabernacles, and thus two months earlier than the Church's celebration of Mary's conception, it was always on the occasion of that feast on December 8 ^th that she was impelled to communicate visions about the Blessed Virgin's conception. She said, too, that it was on that day, not at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles in the autumn, that the remembrance of this grace-bringing event was already being celebrated by the three holy kings when Christ visited them in Arabia after the raising of Lazarus.

Here end the additional communications by Catherine Emmerich about the conception of Mary: the story of the Blessed Virgin's life is now resumed.











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