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

7. VISIONS APPEAR DURING THE BIRTH OF CHRIST TO THE THREE HOLY KINGS.




At the hour when the Child Jesus was born I saw a wonderful vision which appeared to the three holy kings. These kings were star-worshippers and had a tower shaped like a pyramid with steps. It was made partly of timber and was on the top of a hill; one of them was always there, with several priests, to observe the stars. They always wrote down what they saw and communicated it to each other. On this night I think I saw two of the kings on this tower. The third, who lived to the east of the Caspian Sea, was not with them. They always observed one particular star, in which they saw various changes; they also saw visions in the sky. Last night I saw the picture which appeared to them; there were several variations of it. They did not see it in one star, but in a figure composed of several stars, and these stars were in motion. They saw a beautiful rainbow over the moon, which was in one of its quarters. Upon the rainbow a Virgin was enthroned; her right foot was resting on the moon. To the left of the Virgin, on the rainbow, was a vine, and on the right a sheaf of wheat. In front of the Virgin I saw the form of a chalice, shaped like the one used by Our Lord at the institution of the Blessed Sacrament. It seemed to rise up or to issue more clearly out of the radiance surrounding it. I saw a little child coming forth out of this chalice, and above the child a transparent disc, like an empty monstrance, from which rays like ears of wheat proceeded. It made me think of the Blessed Sacrament. On the right-hand side of the child issuing from the chalice, a branch grew forth on which an octagonal church blossomed like a flower. It had a great golden gate and two small side-doors. The Virgin moved the chalice, the child, and the host with her right hand, guiding them into the church before her. I saw into it, and as I did so it seemed to become quite big. I saw an appearance of the Holy Trinity in the back of the church. The tower of the church rose above this appearance, which at last turned into a city radiant with light, like the heavenly Jerusalem. In this picture I saw many things developing out of each other as I looked into this church; but I can no longer remember in what order I saw them, nor can I recollect in what manner the kings were informed that the child had been born in Judea. The third king who lived farther away saw the same picture in his own home in the same hour. The kings were filled with inexpressible joy at this vision, and immediately gathered together their treasures and presents and began their journey. It was only after several days that all three met. Already in the days just before the birth of Christ I noticed that they were in a state of great activity on their observatory tower and saw visions of many kinds.

Figure 15. Vision of the Emperor Augustus on the day of Jesus' birth.

How great was God's compassion towards the heathen! Shall I tell you from whence this prophecy came to the kings? I will recount now only just the end of it, for at this moment I cannot remember the whole. The ancestors of the three kings, from whom they descended in an unbroken line from father to son, lived as long ago as five hundred years before Christ's birth. (Elijah [103] must have lived eight hundred years before Christ.) Their ancestors were richer and more powerful than the three kings, for their possessions and inheritances had not been so much divided up as later on. Even in those times they lived in cities of tents--except the ancestor to the east of the Caspian Sea, whose city I now see; its foundations are of stone and the tents are set up on these, for it lies beside the sea, which often overflows. (Here on the mountains one is so high up; I see a sea to my right and one to my left; it is like looking into a black hole.) These chieftains were already at that time star-worshippers; but besides that they practiced dreadfully evil ceremonies; they sacrificed old men and cripples and slaughtered children as well. The most cruel of all their practices was to put the children, dressed in white, into cauldrons, and to boil them alive. But at last all this was changed for the better, and in spite of it God allowed these blind heathens to know of the birth of the Redeemer so long beforehand. In those days three daughters of these early chieftains were living at the same time. They were learned in the science of the stars, and all received at the same time the spirit of prophecy.

They all three saw at the same time in a vision that a star should rise out of Jacob and that a virgin should give birth to the Savior without knowing man. They wore long cloaks, and went about the whole country preaching amendment of life and announcing that the messengers of the Redeemer would one day come to them and bring them the ceremonies of the true religion. They also prophesied many things about our own and even later times. The fathers of these three virgins then built a temple in honor of the future Mother of God to the south of the sea, where their three countries met, and made sacrifices to her--some of them in that cruel manner of which I have spoken. The prophecies of the three virgins included something definite about a picture in the stars and various transformations in it: whereupon they began to look for this picture from a hill near the temple to the future Mother of God. They took note of everything and according to what they observed they kept on making various alterations on and in their temples, in their ceremonies and in their decorations. They varied the color of the tent-roof of the temple, which was sometimes blue, sometimes red, and sometimes yellow or still another color. They transferred (and this seemed to me remarkable) their weekly feast day to the Sabbath. Before it used to be Thursday, and I still remember its name. [Here she stammered something which sounded like Tanna or Tanada, but was not clearly audible.] [104]











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