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

8. VISION FRAGMENTS WHICH DETERMINE THE EXACT DATE OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.




[In the course of her visions of Christmas night Catherine Emmerich saw much that indicated the exact date of Christ's birth, but she forgot a great deal of it owing to illness and the disturbance of receiving visitors on the following day, which was her name-day, the feast of St. Catherine. That evening, however, shortly after these visits, she repeatedly gave utterance, in a state of trance, to the following fragments of these visions. It should be noted that she sees all dates written in Roman figures, i.e. with letters; and finds some difficulty in reading them; though she nearly always makes herself clear by repeating them several times in the order in which they appear or by showing them on her fingers. Today she did both. This is what she said:]

Now, you can read this: look, there it is: Christ was born when the year of the world 3997 was not yet quite completed. Afterwards people forgot the period of three years and a portion of a year which intervened between His birth and the year 4000, and then reckoned our new era as beginning four years later, so that Christ was born seven years and a portion of a year earlier than according to our reckoning. [105] One of the consuls in Rome at that time was called Lentulus; he was an ancestor of the priest and martyr Moses, of whom I possess a relic here, and who lived at the time of St. Cyprian. The Lentulus who was a friend of St. Peter in Rome also descended from him. Christ was born in the forty-fifth year of the Emperor Augustus. Herod reigned forty years in all until his death. [106] He was, it is true, only a vassal-king for seven years, but harassed the country grievously, and committed many cruelties. He died about the time of Christ's sixth year. I think that his death was kept a secret for some time. His end was dreadful, and in the last days of his life he was responsible for many murders and much misery. I saw him crawling about in a room padded with cushions. He had a spear, and stabbed at anyone who came near him. Jesus must have been born about the thirty-fourth year of Herod's reign. Two years before the entry of Mary into the Temple, just seventeen years before the Birth of Christ, Herod ordered that work should be done in the Temple. [107] It was not a rebuilding of the Temple, but alterations and embellishments were made here and there. The Flight into Egypt took place when Christ was nine months old, and the Massacre of the Innocents was in His second year.

[She mentioned, in addition, many other things--incidents, features, and journeys--from Herod's life, which showed how clearly she saw everything, but it was impossible to collect and arrange these very numerous communications, some of which she recounted only in fragments.]

The Birth of Christ occurred in a year which the Jews reckoned as having thirteen months. This must have been some such arrangement as our leap-years. [108] I think I have forgotten something about the Jews having months of twenty-one and twenty-two days twice a year. I heard something about feast-days connected with this, but have only a dim recollection of it all. I also saw how at different times something was altered in their calendar. It was after their coming out of a captivity, and the Temple was being added to at the same time. I saw the man who altered the calendar and I knew his name. [Here she tried to remember and said in her how German dialect with a smiling pretence of impatience, I can't remember the fellow's name'.] I think Christ was born in the month Kislev. [109] The reason why the Church keeps the feast exactly a month later than the actual event is because at one time, when an alteration in the calendar was made, some days and seasons were completely omitted. [110] I once saw it very plainly, but can no longer recall it properly.











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