The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
2.1 JOACHIM IS SPURNED AT THE TEMPLE AND GOES TO STAY WITH HIS FLOCKS.
After having besought God's blessing on their marriage for so many
years in vain, I saw that Joachim was minded to offer another sacrifice
at the Temple. He and Anna prepared themselves for this by penitential
devotions. I saw them lying on the hard earth in prayer during the
night, girt in penitential garments; after which Joachim went at
sunrise across the country to where his herds were pasturing, while
Anna remained at home by herself. Soon after this I saw Anna sending
him doves, other birds and many different things in cages and baskets.
They were all taken to him by menservants to be offered up in the
Temple. He took two donkeys from the pasture, and loaded them with
these baskets and with others into which he put, I think, three very
lively little white creatures with long necks. I cannot remember
whether they were lambs or kids. He had with him a staff with a light
on the top of it, which looked as if it were shining inside a hollow
gourd. I saw him arriving with his menservants and beasts of burden at
a beautiful green field between Bethany and Jerusalem, a place where
later I often saw Jesus stay. They journeyed on to the Temple, and
stabled the donkeys at the same Temple inn, near the cattle market,
where Joachim and Anna afterwards lodged at Mary's Presentation. They
then took the sacrificial offerings up the steps, and passed through
the dwellings of the Temple servants as before.  Here Joachim's
servants went back after handing over the offerings.
oachim himself entered the hall, where stood the basin of water in
which all the sacrifices were washed. He then went through a long
passage into a hall on the left of the place in which were the altar of
incense, the table of the shewbreads and the seven-branched
candlestick.  There were several others assembled there to make
sacrifices, and it was here that Joachim had to bear his hardest trial.
I saw that one of the priests, Reuben  by name, disdained his
offerings, and did not put them with the others on the right-hand of
the hall, where they could be seen behind the bars, but thrust them on
one side. He reproached the unfortunate Joachim loudly and before the
others for his unfruitfulness, refused to admit him and sent him, in
disgrace, to an alcove enclosed with gratings.
I saw that upon this Joachim left the Temple in the greatest distress
and betook himself to an assembly house of the Essenes near Machaerus,
passing Bethany on the way. Here he sought counsel and consolation. (In
this same house, and earlier in a similar one near Bethlehem, lived the
prophet Manahem,  who prophesied to the young Herod about his
kingdom and his crimes.) From here Joachim betook himself to his most
distant herds on Mount Hermon. His way led him across the Jordan
through the desert of Gaddi. Mount Hermon is a long narrow mountain,
beautifully green and rich with fruit trees on the sunny side, but
covered with snow on the other.