Anna Catherine Emmerich.

The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ online

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roast meat, then came a plate with green vegetables balanced against
each other, and another plate with small bundles of bitter herbs, which
had the appearance of aromatic herbs. Opposite Jesus there was also one
dish with different herbs, and a second containing a brown-coloured
sauce of beverage. The guest had before them some round loaves instead
of plates, and they used ivory knives.

After the prayer, the major-domo laid the knife for cutting the lamb
on the table before Jesus, who placed a cup of wine before him, and
filled six other cups, each one of which stood between two Apostles.
Jesus blessed the wine and drank, and the Apostles drank two together
out of one cup. Then our Lord proceeded to cut up the lamb; his
Apostles presented their pieces of bread in turn, and each received his
share. They ate it in haste, separating the flesh from the bone, by
means of their ivory knives, and the bones were afterwards burnt. They
also ate the garlic and green herbs in haste, dipping them in the
sauce. All this time they remained standing, only leaning slightly on
the backs of their seats. Jesus brake one of the loaves of unleavened
bread, covered up a part of it, and divided the remainder among his
Apostles. Another cup of wine was brought, but Jesus drank not of it:
'Take this,' he said, 'and divide it among you, for I will not drink from
henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink
it with you new in the kingdom of my Father' (Matt. 26:29). When they had
drunk the wine, they sang a hymn; then Jesus prayed or taught, and they
again washed their hands. After this they sat down.

Our Lord cut up another lamb which was carried to the holy women in
one of the buildings of the court, where they were seated at table. The
Apostles ate some more vegetables and lettuce. The countenance of our
Divine Saviour bore an indescribable expression of serenity and
recollection, greater than I had ever before seen. He bade the Apostles
forget all their cares. The Blessed Virgin also, as she sat at table
with the other women, looked most placid and calm. When the other women
came up, and took hold of her veil to make her turn round and speak to
them, her every movement expressed the sweetest self-control and
placidity of spirit.

At first Jesus conversed lovingly and calmly with his disciples, but
after a while he became grave and sad: 'Amen, amen, I say to you, that
one of you is about to betray me:' he said, he that dippeth his hand with
me in the dish' (Matt. 26:21.23). Jesus was then distributing the
lettuce, of which there was only one dish, to those Apostles who were
by his side, and he had given Judas, who was nearly opposite to him,
the office of distributing it to the others. When Jesus spoke of a
traitor, an expression which filled all the Apostles with fear, he
said: 'he that dippeth his hand with me in the dish,' which means: 'one of
the twelve who are eating and drinking with me - one of those with whom I
am eating bread.' He did not plainly point out Judas to the others by
these words; for to dip the hand in the same dish was an expression
used to signify the most friendly and intimate intercourse. He was
desirous, however, to give a warning to Judas, who was then really
dipping his hand in the dish with our Saviour, to distribute the
lettuce. Jesus continued to speak: 'The Son of Man indeed goeth,' he said,
'as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man
shall be betrayed: It were better for him if that man had not been born.'

The Apostles were very much troubled, and each one of them
exclaimed: 'Lord, is it I?' for they were all perfectly aware that they did
not entirely understand his words. Peter leaned towards John, behind
Jesus, and made him a sign to ask our Lord who the traitor was to be,
for, having so often been reproved by our Lord, he trembled lest it
should be himself who was referred to. John was seated at the right
hand of Jesus, and as all were leaning on their left arms, using the
right to eat, his head was close to the bosom of Jesus. He leaned then
on his breast and said: 'Lord, who is it?' I did not see Jesus say to him
with his lips: 'He it is to whom I shall reach bread dipped.' I do not know
whether he whispered it to him, but John knew it, when Jesus having
dipped the bread, which was covered with lettuce, gave it tenderly to
Judas, who also asked: 'Is it I, Lord?' Jesus looked at him with love, and
answered him in general terms. Among the Jews, to give bread dipped was
a mark of friendship and confidence; Jesus on this occasion gave Judas
the morsel, in order thus to warn him, without making known his guilt
to the others. But the heart of Judas burned with anger, and during the
whole time of the repast, I saw a frightful little figure seated at his
feet, and sometimes ascending to his heart. I did not see John repeat
to Peter what he had learned from Jesus, but he set his fears at rest
by a look.


MEDITATION VII.

The Washing of the Feet.



They arose from table, and whilst they were arranging their clothes,
as they usually did before making their solemn prayer, the major-domo
came in with two servants to take away the table. Jesus, standing in
the midst of his Apostles, spoke to them long, in a most solemn manner.
I could not repeat exactly his whole discourse, but I remember he spoke
of his kingdom, of his going to his Father, of what he would leave them
now that he was about to be taken away, etc. He also gave them some
instructions concerning penance, the confession of sin, repentance, and
justification.

I felt that these instructions referred to the washing of the feet,
and I saw that all the Apostles acknowledged their sins and repented of
them, with the exception of Judas. This discourse was long and solemn.
When it was concluded, Jesus sent John and James the Less to fetch
water from the vestibule, and he told the Apostles to arrange the seats
in a half circle. He went himself into the vestibule, where he girded
himself with a towel. During this time, the Apostles spoke among
themselves, and began speculating as to which of them would be the
greatest, for our Lord having expressly announced that he was about to
leave them and that his kingdom was near at hand, they felt
strengthened anew in their idea that he had secret plans, and that he
was referring to some earthly triumph which would be theirs at the last
moment.

Meanwhile Jesus, in the vestibule, told John to take a basin, and
James a pitcher filled with water, with which they followed him into
the room, where the major-domo had placed another empty basin.

Jesus, on returning to his disciples in so humble a manner,
addressed them a few words of reproach on the subject of the dispute
which had arisen between them, and said among other things, that he
himself was their servant, and that they were to sit down, for him to
wash their feet. They sat down, therefore, in the same order as they
had sat at table. Jesus went from one to the other, poured water from
the basin which John carried on the feet of each, and then, taking the
end of the towel wherewith he was girded, wiped them. Most loving and
tender was the manner of our Lord while thus humbling himself at the
feet of his Apostles.

Peter, when his turn came, endeavoured through humility to prevent
Jesus from washing his feet: 'Lord,' he exclaimed, 'dost thou wash my feet?'
Jesus answered: 'What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know
hereafter.' It appeared to me that he said to him privately: 'Simon, thou
hast merited for my Father to reveal to thee who I am, whence I come,
and whither I am going, thou alone hast expressly confessed it,
therefore upon thee will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall
not prevail against it. My power will remain with thy successors to the
end of the world.'

Jesus showed him to the other Apostles, and said, that when he
should be no more present among them, Peter was to fill his place in
their regard. Peter said: 'Thou shalt never wash my feet!' Our Lord
replied: 'If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me.' Then Peter
exclaimed: 'Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.' Jesus
replied: 'He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is
clean wholly. And you are clean, but not all.'

By these last words he referred to Judas. He had spoken of the
washing of the feet as signifying purification from daily faults,
because the feet, which are continually in contact with the earth, are
also continually liable to be soiled, unless great care is taken.

This washing of the feet was spiritual, and served as a species of
absolution. Peter, in his zeal, saw nothing in it but too great an act
of abasement on the part of his Master; he knew not that to save him
Jesus would the very next day humble himself even to the ignominious
death of the cross.

When Jesus washed the feet of Judas, it was in the most loving and
affecting manner; he bent his sacred face even on to the feet of the
traitor; and in a low voice bade him now at least enter into himself,
for that he had been a faithless traitor for the last year. Judas
appeared to be anxious to pay no heed whatever to his words, and spoke
to John, upon which Peter became angry, and exclaimed: 'Judas, the Master
speaks to thee!' Then Judas made our Lord some vague, evasive reply, such
as, 'Heaven forbid, Lord!' The others had not remarked that Jesus was
speaking to Judas, for this words were uttered in a low voice, in order
not to be heard by them, and besides, they were engaged in putting on
their shoes. Nothing in the whole course of the Passion grieved Jesus
so deeply as the treason of Judas.

Jesus finally washed the feet of John and James.

He then spoke again on the subject of humility, telling them that he
that was the greatest among them was to be as their servant, and that
henceforth they were to wash one another's feet. Then he put on his
garments, and the Apostles let down their clothes, which they had
girded up before eating the Paschal Lamb.


MEDITATION VIII.

Institution of the Holy Eucharist.



By command of our Lord, the major-domo had again laid out the table,
which he had raised a little; then, having placed it once more in the
middle of the room, he stood one urn filled with wine, and another with
water underneath it. Peter and John went into the part of the room near
the hearth, to get the chalice which they had brought from Seraphia's
house, and which was still wrapped up in its covering. They carried it
between them as if they had been carrying a tabernacle, and placed it
on the table before Jesus. An oval plate stood there, with three fine
white azymous loaves, placed on a piece of linen, by the side of the
half loaf which Jesus had set aside during the Paschal meal, also a jar
containing wine and water, and three boxes, one filled with thick oil,
a second with liquid oil, and the third empty.

In earlier times, it had been the practice for all at table to eat
of the same loaf and drink of the same cup at the end of the meal,
thereby to express their friendship and brotherly love, and to welcome
and bid farewell to each other. I think Scripture must contain
something upon this subject.

On the day of the Last Supper, Jesus raised this custom (which had
hitherto been no more than a symbolical and figurative rite) to the
dignity of the holiest of sacraments. One of the charges brought before
Caiphas, on occasion of the treason of Judas, was, that Jesus had
introduced a novelty into the Paschal ceremonies, but Nicodemus proved
from Scripture that it was an ancient practice.

Jesus was seated between Peter and John, the doors were closed, and
everything was done in the most mysterious and imposing manner. When
the chalice was taken out of its covering, Jesus prayed, and spoke to
his Apostles with the utmost solemnity. I saw him giving them an
explanation of the Supper, and of the entire ceremony, and I was
forcibly reminded of a priest teaching others to say Mass.

He then drew a species of shelf with grooves from the boars on which
the jars stood, and taking a piece of white linen with which the
chalice was covered, spread it over the board and shelf. I then saw him
lift a round plate, which he placed on this same shelf, off the top of
the chalice. He next took the azymous loaves from beneath the linen
with which they were covered and placed them before him on the board;
then he took out of the chalice a smaller vase, and ranged the six
little glasses on each side of it. Then he blessed the bread and also
the oil, to the best of my belief after which he lifted up the paten
with the loaves upon it, in his two hands, raised his eyes, prayed,
offered, and replaced the paten on the table, covering it up again. He
then took the chalice, had some wine poured into it by Peter, and some
water, which he first blessed, by John, adding to it a little more
water, which he poured into a small spoon, and after this he blessed
the chalice, raised it up with a prayer, made the oblation, and
replaced it on the table.

John and Peter poured some water on his hands, which he held over
the plate on which the azymous loaves had been placed; then he took a
little of the water which had been poured on his hands, in the spoon
that he had taken out of the lower part of the chalice, and poured it
on theirs. After this, the vase was passed round the table, and all the
Apostles washed their hands in it. I do not remember whether this was
the precise order in which these ceremonies were performed; all I know
is, that they reminded me in a striking manner of the holy sacrifice of
the Mass.

Meanwhile, our Divine Lord became more and more tender and loving in
his demeanour; he told his Apostles that he was about to give them all
that he had, namely, his entire self, and he looked as though perfectly
transformed by love. I saw him becoming transparent, until he resembled
a luminous shadow. He broke the bread into several pieces, which he
laid together on the paten, and then took a corner of the first piece
and dripped it into the chalice. At the moment when he was doing this, I
seemed to see the Blessed Virgin receiving the Holy Sacrament in a
spiritual manner, although she was not present in the supper-room. I do
not know how it was done, but I thought I saw her enter without
touching the ground, and come before our Lord to receive the Holy
Eucharist; after which I saw her no more. Jesus had told her in the
morning, at Bethania, that he would keep the Pasch with her
spiritually, and he had named the hour at which she was to betake
herself to prayer, in order to receive it in spirit.

Again he prayed and taught; his words came forth from his lips like
fire and light, and entered into each of the Apostles, with the
exception of Judas. He took the paten with the pieces of bread (I do
not know whether he had placed it on the chalice) and said: 'Take and
eat; this is my Body which is given for you.' He stretched forth his
right hand as if to bless, and, whilst he did so, a brilliant light
came from him, his words were luminous, the bread entered the mouths of
the Apostles as a brilliant substance, and light seemed to penetrate
and surround them all, Judas alone remaining dark. Jesus presented the
bread first to Peter, next to John and then he made a sign to Judas to
approach.6 Judas was thus the third who received the Adorable
Sacrament, but the words of our Lord appeared to turn aside from the
mouth of the traitor, and come back to their Divine Author. So
perturbed was I in spirit at this sight, that my feelings cannot be
described. Jesus said to him: 'That which thou dost, do quickly.' He then
administered the Blessed Sacrament to the other Apostles, who
approached two and two.

Jesus raised the chalice by its two handles to a level with his
face, and pronounced the words of consecration. Whilst doing so, he
appeared wholly transfigured, as it were transparent, and as though
entirely passing into what he was going to give his Apostles. He made
Peter and John drink from the chalice which he held in his hand, and
then placed it again on the table. John poured the Divine Blood from
the chalice into the smaller glasses, and Peter presented them to the
Apostles, two of whom drank together out of the same cup. I think, but
am not quite certain, that Judas also partook of the chalice; he did
not return to his place, but immediately left the supper-room, and the
other Apostles thought that Jesus had given him some commission to do.
He left without praying or making any thanksgiving, and hence you may
perceive how sinful it is to neglect returning thanks either after
receiving our daily food, or after partaking of the Life-Giving Bread
of Angels. During the entire meal, I had seen a frightful little
figure, with one foot like a dried bone, remaining close to Judas, but
when he had reached the door, I beheld three devils pressing round him;
one entered into his mouth, the second urged him on, and the third
preceded him. It was night, and they seemed to be lighting him, whilst
he hurried onward like a madman.

Our Lord poured a few drops of the Precious Blood remaining in the
chalice into the little vase of which I have already spoken, and then
placed his fingers over the chalice, while Peter and John poured water
and wine upon them. This done, he caused them to drink again from the
chalice, and what remained of its contents was poured into the smaller
glasses, and distributed to the other Apostles. Then Jesus wiped the
chalice, put into it the little vase containing the remainder of the
Divine Blood, and placed over it the paten with the fragments of the
consecrated bread, after which he again put on the cover, wrapped up
the chalice, and stood it in the midst of the six small cups. I saw the
Apostles receive in communion these remains of the Adorable Sacrament,
after the Resurrection.

I do not remember seeing our Lord himself eat and drink of the
consecrated elements, neither did I see Melchisedech, when offering the
bread and wine, taste of them himself. It was made known to me why
priests partake of them, although Jesus did not.

Here Sister Emmerich looked suddenly up, and appeared to be
listening. Some explanation was given her on this subject, but the
following words were all that she could repeat to us: 'If the office of
distributing it had been given to angels, they would not have partaken,
but if priests did not partake, the Blessed Eucharist would be lost - it is
through their participation that it is preserved.'

There was an indescribable solemnity and order in all the actions of
Jesus during the institution of the Holy Eucharist, and his every
movement was most majestic. I saw the Apostles noting things down in
the little rolls of parchment which they carried on their persons.
Several times during the ceremonies I remarked that they bowed to each
other, in the same way that our priests do.


MEDITATION IX.

Private Instruction and Consecrations.



Jesus gave his Apostles some private instructions; he told them how
they were to preserve the Blessed Sacrament in memory of him, even to
the end of the world; he taught them the necessary forms for making use
of and communicating it, and in what manner they were, by degrees, to
teach and publish this mystery; finally he told them when they were to
receive what remained of the consecrated Elements, when to give some to
the Blessed Virgin, and how to consecrate, themselves, after he should
have sent them the Divine Comforter. He then spoke concerning the
priesthood, the sacred unction, and the preparation of the Chrism and
Holy Oils.7 He had there three boxes, two of which contained a mixture
of oil and balm. He taught them how to make this mixture, what parts of
the body were to be anointed with them, and upon what occasions. I
remember, among other things, that he mentioned a case in which the
Holy Eucharist could not be administered; perhaps what he said had
reference to Extreme Unction, for my recollections on this point are
not very clear. He spoke of different kinds of anointing, and in
particular of that of kings, and he said that even wicked kings who
were anointed, derived from it especial powers. He put ointment and oil
in the empty box, and mixed them together, but I cannot say for certain
whether it was at this moment, or at the time of the consecration of
the bread, that he blessed the oil.

I then saw Jesus anoint Peter and John, on whose hands he had
already poured the water which had flowed on his own, and two whom he
had given to drink out of the chalice. Then he laid his hands on their
shoulders and heads, while they, on their part, joined their hands and
crossed their thumbs, bowing down profoundly before him - I am not sure
whether they did not even kneel. He anointed the thumb and fore-finger
of each of their hands, and marked a cross on their heads with Chrism.
He said also that this would remain with them unto the end of the world.

James the Less, Andrew, James the Greater, and Bartholomew, were
also consecrated. I saw likewise that on Peter's bosom he crossed a sort
of stole worn round the neck, whilst on the others he simply placed it
crosswise, from the right shoulder to the left side. I do not know
whether this was done at the time of the institution of the Blessed
Sacrament, or only for the anointing.

I understood that Jesus communicated to them by this unction
something essential and supernatural, beyond my power to describe. He
told them that when they should have received the Holy Spirit they were
to consecrate the bread and wine, and anoint the other Apostles. It was
made known to me then that, on the day of Pentecost, Peter and John
imposed their hands upon the other Apostles, and a week later upon
several of the disciples. After the Resurrection, John gave the
Adorable Sacrament for the first time to the Blessed Virgin. It is a
festival no longer kept in the Church on earth, but I see it celebrated
in the Church triumphant. For the first few days after Pentecost I saw
only Peter and John consecrate the Blessed Eucharist, but after that
the others also consecrated.

Our Lord next proceeded to bless fire in a brass vessel, and care
was taken that it should not go out, but it was kept near the spot
where the Blessed Sacrament had been deposited, in one division of the
ancient Paschal hearth, and fire was always taken from it when needed
for spiritual purposes.

All that Jesus did upon this occasion was done in private, and
taught equally in private. The Church has retained all that was
essential of these secret instructions, and, under the inspiration of
the Holy Ghost, developed and adapted them to all her requirements.

Whether Peter and John were both consecrated bishops, or Peter alone
as bishop and John as priest, or to what dignity the other four
Apostles were raised, I cannot pretend to say. But the different ways
in which our Lord arranged the Apostles' stoles appear to indicate
different degrees of consecration.

When these holy ceremonies were concluded, the chalice (near which
the blessed Chrism also stood) was re-covered, and the Adorable
Sacrament carried by Peter and John into the back part of the room,
which was divided off by a curtain, and from thenceforth became the
Sanctuary. The spot where the Blessed Sacrament was deposited was not
very far above the Paschal stove. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus
took care of the Sanctuary and of the supper-room during the absence of
the Apostles.

Jesus again instructed his Apostles for a considerable length of
time, and also prayed several times. He frequently appeared to be
conversing with his Heavenly Father, and to be overflowing with
enthusiasm and love. The Apostles also were full of joy and zeal, and
asked him various questions which he forthwith answered. The scriptures
must contain much of this last discourse and conversation. He told
Peter and John different things to be made known later to the other
Apostles, who in their turn were to communicate them to the disciples
and holy women, according to the capacity of each for such knowledge.
He had a private conversation with John, whom he told that his life
would be longer than the lives of the others. He spoke to him also
concerning seven Churches, some crowns and angels, and instructed him
in the meaning of certain mysterious figures, which signified, to the
best of my belief, different epochs. The other Apostles were slightly
jealous of this confidential communication being made to John.

Jesus spoke also of the traitor. 'Now he is doing this or that,' he



Online LibraryAnna Catherine EmmerichThe Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ → online text (page 7 of 29)