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

5.5 THEY TRAVEL FURTHER SOUTH-EAST. THEY SEE THE TEMPLE ON MOUNT GARIZIM.




[Sunday, November 18 ^th:] The good people of this inn have become extremely fond of the Blessed Virgin, and have an intense sympathy with her and with her condition. They begged her in the most friendly way to stay and await her confinement here. They even showed her a comfortable room which they would make ready for her. The woman offered her, with all her heart, to care for her and look after her in every way. However, they started again on their journey early in the morning, and went down a valley on the south-eastern side of the mountains. They went farther away from Samaria, towards which the first part of their journey seemed to be directed. As they descended the hill, they could see the temple on Mount Garizim, which is visible from a great distance. There are many figures of lions or other animals on the roof which gleam white in the sunshine. I saw them traveling about six hours today, and towards evening I saw them arrive at a large shepherd's house in a field, where they were well received. This was about an hour's journey to the south-east of Shechem.

The man of the house was a steward of the orchards and fields belonging to the neighboring town. The house was not right down in the plain, but on a slope. All the country here was better and more fertile than during the first part of their journey, for this was the sunny side, and in the Promised Land at this time of year that makes a considerable difference. Between here and Bethlehem lay many other shepherds' dwellings, scattered about in the intersecting valleys. The people here belonged to those shepherds whose daughters later married some of the followers of the three holy kings who remained behind when their masters left. From one of these marriages came a boy who was healed by Our Lord in this house at the Blessed Virgin's request in the second year of His ministry, on July 31 ^st (the 7 ^th day of the month Ab) after He had talked with the Samaritan woman. Jesus took him with two other youths as companions on His journey to Arabia, after the raising of Lazarus, and afterwards he became a disciple. Jesus often stayed here and taught. There were children in the house, and Joseph blessed them before he went away.

[November 19 ^th:] Today I saw them traveling in more level country. The Blessed Virgin sometimes goes on foot. They often stop to rest and refresh themselves. They have little loaves with them, and a drink which is both cooling and strengthening. This is contained in delicately made little jugs shining like bronze, with two ears. It is balsam, which they mix with water. They sometimes pick berries and fruits which may still be found hanging in sunny places on the trees and bushes. Mary's saddle on the donkey has a foot-rest hanging on each side, so that her feet do not hang down as is usual in our country. She sits sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left of the pack-donkey, which moves very quietly and evenly. Joseph's first action, whenever they rest by the way or stop for the night, is to make ready a comfortable place for the Blessed Virgin to sit and rest. He often washes his feet, and Mary does the same. They have the habit of washing often.

It was already dark when they came to a house standing by itself. Joseph knocked at the door and asked for lodging. The master of the house refused, however, to open, and when Joseph explained Mary's condition and said that she could go no farther, adding that he was not asking for lodging without payment, the hard-hearted man retorted angrily that his house was not an inn, and that he wanted to be left alone and not disturbed by knocking, which he could not bear. He told Joseph to go on his way, and was so relentless that he did not even open the door, but shouted his harsh words from behind it. So they went on a little way and turned into a shed where they found the she-ass standing. Joseph kindled a light and prepared a bed for the Blessed Virgin, with her help. He brought the pack-donkey in, too, and found some straw and fodder for him. They prayed, took some refreshment, and slept for a few hours. It must be about six hours' journey from the last inn to this place. They must be some twenty-six hours from Nazareth and ten from Jerusalem. Until now they have not taken any high-roads, but have cut across several trade-roads leading from the Jordan to Samaria and running into the highways which go from Syria to Egypt. The by-roads which they took are very small, and in the mountains sometimes so narrow that a man must pick his way very carefully so as not to stumble. The donkeys, however, are very sure-footed. Their shelter here was on level ground.











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