The bitter Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ – Part 7

Jesus led back from the Court of Herod to that of Pilate.

The enemies of Jesus were perfectly infuriated at being obliged to take Jesus back, still
uncondemned, to Pilate, who had so many times declared his innocence. They led him
round by a much longer road, in order in the first place to let the persons of that part of the
town see him in the state of ignominy to which he was reduced, and in the second place to
give their emissaries more time to stir up the populace.
This road was extremely rough and uneven; and the soldiers, encouraged by the
Pharisees, scarcely refrained a moment from tormenting Jesus. The long garment with
which he was clothed impeded his steps, and caused him to fall heavily more than once; and
his cruel guards, as also many among the brutal populace, instead of assisting him in his
state of exhaustion, endeavoured by blows and kicks to force him to rise.
To all these outrages Jesus offered not the smallest resistance; he prayed constantly to his
Father for grace and strength that he might not sink under them, but accomplish the work of
his Passion for our redemption.
It was about eight o’clock when the procession reached the palace of Pilate. The crowd
was dense, and the Pharisees might be seen walking to and fro, endeavouring to incite and
infuriate them still more. Pilate, who remembered an insurrection which had taken place the
year before at the Paschal time, had assembled upwards of a thousand soldiers, whom he
posted around the Praetorium, the Forum, and his palace.
The Blessed Virgin, her elder sister Mary (the daughter of Heli), Mari (the daughter of
Cleophas), Magdalen, and about twenty of the holy women, were standing in a room from
whence they could see all which took place, and at first John was with them.
The Pharisees led Jesus, still clothed in the fool’s garment, through the midst of the
insolent mob, and had done all in their power to gather together the most vile and wicked of
miscreants from among the dregs of the people. A servant sent by Herod had already
reached Pilate, with a message to the effect that his master had fully appreciated his polite
deference to his opinion, but that he looked upon the far famed Galilean as not better than a
fool, that he had treated him as such, and now sent him back. Pilate was quite satisfied at
finding that Herod had come to the same conclusion as himself, and therefore returned a
polite message. From that hour they became friends, having been enemies many years; in
fact, ever since the falling-in of the aqueduct.
[The cause of the quarrel between Pilate and Herod was, according to the account of Sister Emmerich,
simply this: Pilate had undertaken to build an aqueduct on the south-east side of the mountain on which the
Temple stood, at the edge of the torrent into which the waters of the pool of Bethsaida emptied themselves,
and this aqueduct was to carry off the refuse of the Temple. Herod, through the medium of one of his
confidants, who was a member of the Sanhedrin, agreed to furnish him with the necessary materials, as also
with twenty-eight architects, who were also Herodians. His aim was to set the Jews still more against the
Roman governor, by causing the undertaking to fail. He accordingly came to a private understanding with the
architects, who agreed to construct the aqueduct in such a manner that it would be certain to fail. When the
work was almost finished, and a number of bricklayers from Ophel were busily employed in removing the
scaffolding, the twenty-eight builders went on to the top of the Tower of Siloe to contemplate the crash which
they knew must take place. Not only did the whole of the building crumble to pieces, fall, and kill ninety-three
workmen, but even the tower containing the twenty-eight architects came down, and not one escaped death.
This accident occurred a short time previous to the 8th of January, two years after Jesus had commenced
preaching; it took place on Herod’s birthday, the same day that John the Baptist was beheaded in the Castle of
Marcherunt. No Roman officer attended these festivities on account of the affair of the aqueduct, although
Pilate had, with hypocritical politeness, been requested to take a part in them. Sister Emmerich saw some of
the disciples of Jesus carry the news of this event into Samaria, where he was teaching, on the 8th of January.
Jesus went from thence to Hebron, to comfort the family of John; and she saw him, on the 13th of January,
cure many among the workmen of Ophel who had been injured by the fall of the aqueduct. We have seen by
the relation previously given how little gratitude they showed him. The enmity of Herod towards Pilate was
still farther increased by the manner in which the latter revenged himself on the followers of Herod. We will
insert here a few details which were communicated at different times to Sister Emmerich. On the 25th of
March, of the second year of our Lord’s preaching, when Jesus and his disciples were in the neighbourhood of
Bethania, they were warned by Lazarus that Judas of Gaulon intended to excite an insurrection against Pilate.
On the 28th of March, Pilate issued a proclamation to the effect that he intended to impose a tax, the proceeds
of which were partly to cover the expenses he had incurred in raising the building which had just fallen to the
ground. This announcement was followed by a sedition headed by Judas of Gaulon, who always stood up for
liberty, and who was (unknown to himself) a tool in the hands of the Herodians. The Herodians were rather
like our Freemasons. On the 30th of March, at ten o’clock p.m., Jesus, dressed in a dark garment, was
teaching in the Temple, with his Apostles and thirty disciples. The revolt of the Galileans against Pilate burst
forth on this very day, and the rebels set free fifty of their number who had been imprisoned the day before;
and many among the Romans were killed. On the 6th of April, Pilate caused the Galileans to be massacred at
the moment of offering sacrifice, by disguised soldiers whom he had concealed in the Temple. Judas was killed
with his companions. This massacre exasperated Herod still more against Pilate, and we have just seen by
what means their reconciliation was effected.]
Jesus was again led to the house of Pilate. The archers dragged him up the stairs with
their usual brutality; his feet became entangled in his long robe, and he fell upon the white
marble steps, which were stained with blood from his sacred head. His enemies had again
taken their seats at the entrance of the forum; the mob laughed at his fall, and the archers
truck their innocent victim, instead of assisting him to rise. Pilate was reclining on a species
of easy-chair, with a little table before him, and surrounded with officers and persons who
held strips of parchment covered with writing in their hands. He came forward and said to
the accusers of Jesus: ‘You have presented unto me this man, as one that perverteth the people, and
behold I, having examined him before you, find no cause in this man in those things wherein you
accuse him. No, nor Herod neither. For I sent you to him, and behold, nothing worthy of death is done
to him. I will chastise him, therefore, and release him.’
When the Pharisees heard these words, they became furious, and endeavoured to the
utmost of their power to persuade the people to revolt, distributing money among them to
effect this purpose. Pilate looked around with contempt, and addressed them in scornful
It happened to be the precise time when, according to an ancient custom, the people had
the privilege of demanding the deliverance of one prisoner. The Pharisees had dispatched
emissaries to persuade the people to demand the death, and not the life, of our Lord. Pilate
hoped that they would ask for Jesus, and determined to give them to choose between him
and a criminal called Barabbas, who had been convicted of a dreadful murder committed
during a sedition, as also of many other crimes, and was, moreover, detested by the people.
There was considerable excitement among the crowd; a certain portion came forward,
and their orators, addressing Pilate in a loud voice, said: ‘Grant us the favour you have
always granted on the festival day.’ Pilate made answer: ‘It is customary for me to deliver to
you a criminal at the Paschal time; whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus that is
called Christ?’
Although Pilate did not in his own mind feel at all certain that Jesus was the King of the
Jews, yet he called him so, partly because his Roman pride made him take delight in
humbling the Jews by calling such a despicable-looking person their king; and partly
because he felt a kind of inward belief that Jesus might really be that miraculous king, that
Messiah who had been promised. He saw plainly that the priests were incited by envy alone
in their accusations against Jesus; this made him most anxious to disappoint them; and the
desire was increased by that glimmering of the truth which partly enlightened his mind.
There was some hesitation among the crowd when Pilate asked this question, and a few
voices answered, ‘Barabbas.’ A servant sent by Pilate’s wife asked for him at this moment; he
left the platform, and the messenger presented the pledge which he had given her, saying at
the same time: ‘Claudia Procles begs you to remember your promise this morning.’ The
Pharisees and the priests walked anxiously and hastily about among the crowd, threatening
some and ordering others, although, in fact, little was required to incite the already
infuriated multitude.
Mary, with Magdalen, John, and the holy women, stood in a corner of the forum,
trembling and weeping; for although the Mother of Jesus was fully aware that the
redemption of man could not be brought about by any other means than the death of her
Son, yet she was filled with the anguish of a mother, and with a longing desire to save him
from those tortures and from that death which he was about to suffer. She prayed God not
to allow such a fearful crime to be perpetrated; she repeated the words of Jesus in the
Garden of Olives: ‘If it is possible, let this chalice pass away.’ She still felt a glimmering of hope,
because there was a report current that Pilate wished to acquit Jesus. Groups of persons,
mostly inhabitants of Capharnaum, where Jesus had taught, and among whom he had
wrought so many miraculous cures, were congregated in her vicinity; they pretended not to
remember either her or her weeping companions; they simply cast a glance now and then,
as if by chance, at their closely-veiled figures. Many thought, as did her companions
likewise, that these persons at least would reject Barabbas, and beg for the life of their
Saviour and Benefactor; but these hopes were, alas, fallacious.
Pilate sent back the pledge to his wife, as an assurance of his intention to keep his
promise. He again came forward on the platform, and seated himself at the little table. The
Chief Priests took their seats likewise, and Pilate once more demanded: ‘Which of the two am
I to deliver up to you?’ A general cry resounded through the hall: ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’
‘But what am I to do with Jesus, who is called Christ?’ replied Pilate. All exclaimed in a
tumultuous manner: ‘Let him be crucified! Let him be crucified!’ ‘But what evil has he done?’ asked
Pilate for the third time. ‘I find no cause in him. I will scourge and then acquit him.’ But the cry,
‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ burst from the crowd, and the sounds echoed like an infernal
tempest; the High Priests and the Pharisees vociferated and hurried backwards and forwards
as if insane. Pilate at last yielded; his weak pusillanimous character could not withstand
such violent demonstrations; he delivered up Barabbas to the people, and condemned Jesus
to be scourged.

The Scourging of Jesus.

That most weak and undecided of all judges, Pilate, had several times repeated these
dastardly words: ‘I find no crime in him: I will chastise him, therefore, and let him go;’ to which the
Jews had continued to respond, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ but he determined to adhere to his
resolution of not condemning our Lord to death, and ordered him to be scourged according
to the manner of the Romans. The guards were therefore ordered to conduct him through
the midst of the furious multitude to the forum, which they did with the utmost brutality, at
the same time loading him with abuse, and striking him with their staffs. The pillar where
criminals were scourged stood to the north of Pilate’s palace, near the guard-house, and the
executioners soon arrived, carrying whips, rods, and ropes, which they tossed down at its
base. They were six in number, dark, swarthy men, somewhat shorter than Jesus; their
chests were covered with a piece of leather, or with some dirty stuff; their loins were girded,
and their hairy, sinewy arms bare. They were malefactors from the frontiers of Egypt, who
had been condemned for their crimes to hard labour, and were employed principally in
making canals, and in erecting public buildings, the most criminal being selected to act as
executioners in the Praetorium.
These cruel men had many times scourged poor criminals to death at this pillar. They
resembled wild beasts or demons, and appeared to be half drunk. They struck our Lord with
their fists, and dragged him by the cords with which he was pinioned, although he followed
them without offering the least resistance, and, finally, they barbarously knocked him down
against the pillar. This pillar, placed in the centre of the court, stood alone, and did not serve
to sustain any part of the building; it was not very high, for a tall man could touch the
summit by stretching out his arm; there was a large iron ring at the top, and both rings and
hooks a little lower down. It is quite impossible to describe the cruelty shown by these
ruffians towards Jesus: they tore off the mantle with which he had been clothed in derision
at the court of Herod, and almost threw prostrate again.
Jesus trembled and shuddered as he stood before the pillar, and took off his garments as
quickly as he could, but his hands were bloody and swollen. The only return he made when
his brutal executioners struck and abused him was, to pray for them in the most touching
manner: he turned his face once towards his Mother, who was standing overcome with
grief; this look quite unnerved her: she fainted, and would have fallen, had not the holy
women who were there supported her. Jesus put his arms round the pillar, and when his
hands were thus raised, the archers fastened them to the iron ring which was at the top of
the pillar; they then dragged his arms to such a height that his feet, which were tightly
bound to the base of the pillar, scarcely touched the ground. Thus was the Holy of Holies
violently stretched, without a particle of clothing, on a pillar used for the punishment of the
greatest criminals; and then did two furious ruffians who were thirsting for his blood begin
in the most barbarous manner to scourge his sacred body from head to foot. The whips or
scourges which they first made use of appeared to me to be made of a species of flexible
white wood, but perhaps they were composed of the sinews of the ox, or of strips of leather.
Our loving Lord, the Son of God, true God and true Man, writhed as a worm under the
blows of these barbarians; his mild but deep groans might be heard from afar; they
resounded through the air, forming a kind of touching accompaniment to the hissing of the
instruments of torture. These groans resembled rather a touching cry of prayer and
supplication, than moans of anguish. The clamour of the Pharisees and the people formed
another species of accompaniment, which at times as a deafening thunder-storm deadened
and smothered these sacred and mournful cries, and in their place might be heard the
words, ‘Put him to death!’ ‘Crucify him!’ Pilate continued parleying with the people, and when
he demanded silence in order to be able to speak, he was obliged to proclaim his wishes to
the clamorous assembly by the sound of a trumpet, and at such moments you might again
hear the noise of the scourges, the moans of Jesus, the imprecations of the soldiers, and the
bleating of the Paschal lambs which were being washed in the Probatica pool, at no great
distance from the forum. There was something peculiarly touching in the plaintive bleating
of these lambs: they alone appeared to unite their lamentations with the suffering moans of
our Lord.
The Jewish mob was gathered together at some distance from the pillar at which the
dreadful punishment was taking place, and Roman soldiers were stationed in different parts
round about. Many persons were walking to and fro, some in silence, others speaking of
Jesus in the most insulting terms possible, and a few appearing touched, and I thought I
beheld rays of light issuing from our Lord and entering the hearts of the latter. I saw groups
of infamous, bold-looking young men, who were for the most part busying themselves near
the watch-house in preparing fresh scourges, while others went to seek branches of thorns.
Several of the servants of the High Priests went up to the brutal executioners and gave them
money; as also a large jug filled with a strong bright red liquid, which quite inebriated them,
and increased their cruelty tenfold towards their innocent Victim. The two ruffians
continued to strike our Lord with unremitting violence for a quarter of an hour, and were
then succeeded by two others. His body was entirely covered with black, blue, and red
marks; the blood was trickling down on the ground, and yet the furious cries which issued
from among the assembled Jews showed that their cruelty was far from being satiated.
The night had been extremely cold, and the morning was dark and cloudy; a little hail
had fallen, which surprised everyone, but towards twelve o’clock the day became brighter,
and the sun shone forth.
The two fresh executioners commenced scourging Jesus with the greatest possible fury;
they made use of a different kind of rod,—a species of thorny stick, covered with knots and
splinters. The blows from these sticks tore his flesh to pieces; his blood spouted out so as to
stain their arms, and he groaned, prayed, and shuddered. At this moment, some strangers
mounted on camels passed through the forum; they stopped for a moment, and were quite
overcome with pity and horror at the scene before them, upon which some of the bystanders
explained the cause of what they witnessed. Some of these travellers had been baptised by
John, and others had heard the sermon of Jesus on the mountain. The noise and the tumult
of the mob was even more deafening near the house of Pilate.
Two fresh executioners took the places of the last mentioned, who were beginning to
flag; their scourges were composed of small chains, or straps covered with iron hooks,
which penetrated to the bone, and tore off large pieces of flesh at every blow. What word,
alas! could describe this terrible—this heartrending scene!
The cruelty of these barbarians was nevertheless not yet satiated; they untied Jesus, and
again fastened him up with his back turned towards the pillar. As he was totally unable to
support himself in an upright position, they passed cords round his waist, under his arms,
and above his knees, and having bound his hands tightly into the rings which were placed at
the upper part of the pillar, they recommenced scourging him with even greater fury than
before; and one among them struck him constantly on the face with a new rod. The body of
our Lord was perfectly torn to shreds,—it was but one wound. He looked at his torturers
with his eyes filled with blood; as if entreating mercy; but their brutality appeared to
increase, and his moans each moment became more feeble.
The dreadful scourging had been continued without intermission for three quarters of an
hour, when a stranger of lowly birth, a relation to Ctesiphon, the blind man whom Jesus
had cured, rushed from amidst the crowd, and approached the pillar with a knife shaped
like a cutlass in his hand. ‘Cease!’ he exclaimed, in an indignant tone; ‘Cease! Scourge not
this innocent man unto death!’ The drunken miscreants, taken by surprise, stopped short,
while he quickly severed the cords which bound Jesus to the pillar, and disappeared among
the crowd. Jesus fell almost without consciousness on the ground, which was bathed with
his blood. The executioners left him there, and rejoined their cruel companions, who were
amusing themselves in the guardhouse with drinking, and plaiting the crown of thorns.
Our Lord remained for a short time on the ground, at the foot of the pillar, bathed in his
own blood, and two or three bold-looking girls came up to gratify their curiosity away in
disgust, but at the moment the pain of the wounds of Jesus was so intense that he raised his
bleeding head and looked at them. They retired quickly, and the soldiers and guards
laughed and made game of them.
During the time of the scourging of our Lord, I saw weeping angels approach him many
times; I likewise heard the prayers he constantly addressed to his Father for the pardon of
our sins—prayers which never ceased during the whole time of the infliction of this cruel
punishment. Whilst he lay bathed in his blood I saw an angel present to him a vase
containing a bright-looking beverage which appeared to reinvigorate him in a certain
degree. The archers soon returned, and after giving him some blows with their sticks, bade
him rise and follow them. He raised himself with the greatest difficulty, as his trembling
limbs could scarcely support the weight of this body; they did not give him sufficient time to
put on his clothes, but threw his upper garment over his naked shoulders and led him from
the pillar to the guardhouse, where he wiped the blood which trickled down his face with a
corner of his garment. When he passed before the benches on which the High Priests were
seated, they cried out, ‘Put him to death! Crucify him! Crucify him!’ and then turned away
disdainfully. The executioners led him into the interior of the guardhouse, which was filled
with slaves, archers, hodmen, and the very dregs of the people, but there were no soldiers.
The great excitement among the populace alarmed Pilate so much, that he sent to the
fortress of Antonia for a reinforcement of Roman soldiers, and posed these well-disciplined
troops round the guard-house; they were permitted to talk and to deride Jesus in every
possible way, but were forbidden to quit their ranks. These soldiers, whom Pilate had sent
for to intimidate the mob, numbered about a thousand.

Mary during the Scourging of our Lord.

I saw the Blessed Virgin in a continual ecstasy during the time of the scourging of her
Divine Son; she saw and suffered with inexpressible love and grief all the torments he was
enduring. She groaned feebly, and her eyes were red with weeping. A large veil covered her
person, and she leant upon Mary of Heli, her eldest sister, who was old and extremely like
their mother, Anne.6 Mary of Cleophas, the daughter of Mary of Heli, was there also. The
friends of Jesus and Mary stood around the latter; they wore large veils, appeared overcome
with grief and anxiety, an were weeping as if in the momentary expectation of death. The
dress of Mary was blue; it was long, and partly covered by a cloak made of white wool, and
her veil was of rather a yellow white. Magdalen was totally beside herself from grief, and
her hair was floating loosely under her veil.
When Jesus fell down at the foot of the pillar, after the flagellation, I saw Claudia
Procles, the wife of Pilate, sent some large pieces of linen to the Mother of God. I know not
whether she thought that Jesus would be set free, and that his Mother would then require
linen to dress his wounds, or whether this compassionate lady was aware of the use which
would be made of her present. At the termination of the scourging, Mary came to herself for
a time, and saw her Divine Son all torn and mangled, being led away by the archers after
the scouring: he wiped his eyes, which were filled with blood, that he might look at his
Mother, and she stretched out her hands towards him, and continued to look at the bloody
traces of his footsteps. I soon after saw Mary and Magdalen approach the pillar where Jesus
had been scourged; the mob were at a distance, and they were partly concealed by the other
holy women, and by a few kind-hearted persons who had joined them; they knelt down on
the ground near the pillar, and wiped up the sacred blood with the linen which Claudia
Procles had sent. John was not at that time with the holy women, who were about twenty in
number. The sons of Simeon and of Obed, and Veronica, as also the two nephews of Joseph
of Arimathea—Aram and Themni—were in the Temple, and appeared to be overwhelmed
with grief. It was not more than nine o’clock a.m. when the scourging terminated.

Interruption of the Visions of the Passion

by the Appearance of St. Joseph under the form of a Child.
During the whole time of the visions which we have just narrated (that is to say, from the
18th of February until the 8th of March), Sister Emmerich continued to suffer all the mental
and bodily tortures which were once endured by our Lord. Being totally immersed in these
meditations, and, as it were, dead to exterior objects, she wept and groaned like a person in
the hands of an executioner, trembled, shuddered, and writhed on her couch, while her face
resembled that of a man about to expire under torture, and a bloody sweat often trickled
6 Mary of Heli is often spoken of in this relation. According to Sister Emmerich, she was the daughter of St.
Joachim and St. Anne, and was born nearly twenty years before the Blessed Virgin. She was not the child of
promise, and is called Mary of Heli, by which she is distinguished from the other of the same name, because
she was the daughter of Joachim, or Heliachim. Her husband bore the name of Cleophas, and her daughter
that of Mary of Cleophas. This daughter was, however, older than her aunt, the Blessed Virgin, and had been
married first to Alpheus, by whom she had three sons, afterwards the Apostles Simon, James the Less and
Thaddeus. She had one son by her second husband, Sabat, and another called Simon, by her third husband,
Jonas. Simon was afterwards Bishop of Jerusalem.
over her chest and shoulders. She generally perspired so profusely that her bed and clothes
were saturated. Her sufferings from thirst were likewise fearful, and she might truly be
compared to a person perishing in a desert from the want of water. Generally speaking, her
mouth was so parched in the morning, and her tongue so contracted and dried up, that she
could not speak, but was obliged by signs and inarticulate sounds to beg for relief. Her
constant state of fever was probably brought on by the great pains she endured, added to
which she likewise often took upon herself the illnesses and temporal calamities merited by
others. It was always necessary for her to rest for a time before relating the different scenes
of the Passion, nor was it always that she could speak of what she had seen, and she was
even often obliged to discontinue her narrations for the day. She was in this state of
suffering on Saturday the 8th of March, and with the greatest difficulty and suffering
described the scourging of our Lord which she had seen in the vision of the previous night,
and which appeared to be present to her mind during the greatest part of the following day.
Towards evening, however, a change took place, and there was an interruption in the course
of meditations on the Passion which had latterly followed one another so regularly. We will
describe this interruption, in order, in the first place, to give our readers a more full
comprehension of the interior life of this most extraordinary person; and, in the second, to
enable them to pause for a time to rest their minds, as I well know that meditations on the
Passion of our Lord exhaust the weak, even when they remember that it was for their
salvation that he suffered and died.
The life of Sister Emmerich, both as regarded her spiritual and intellectual existence,
invariably harmonised with the spirit of the Church at different seasons of the year. It
harmonised even more strongly than man’s natural life does with season, or with the hours
of the day, and this caused her to be (if we may thus express ourselves) a realisation of the
existence and of the various intentions of the Church. Her union with its spirit was so
complete, that no sooner did a festival day begin (that is to say, on the eve), than a perfect
change took place within her, both intellectually and spiritually. As soon as the spiritual sun
of these festival days of the Church was set, she directed all her thoughts towards that which
would rise on the following day, and disposed all her prayers, good works, and sufferings
for the attainment of the special graces attached to the feast about to commence, like a plant
which absorbs the dew, and revels in the warmth and light of the first rays of the sun. These
changes did not, as will readily be believed, always take place at the exact moment when the
sound of the Angelus announced the commencement of a festival, and summoned the
faithful to prayer; for this bell is often, either through ignorance or negligence, rung at the
wrong time; but they commenced at the time when the feast really began.
If the Church commemorated a sorrowful mystery, she appeared depressed, faint, and
almost powerless; but the instant the celebration of a joyful feast commenced, both body
and soul revived to a new life, as if refreshed by the dew of new graces, and she continued in
this calm, quiet, and happy state, quite released from every kind of suffering, until the
evening. These things took place in her soul quite independently of her will; but as she had
had from infancy the most ardent desire of being obedient to Jesus and to his Church, God
had bestowed upon her those special graces which give a natural facility for practising
obedience. Every faculty of her soul was directed towards the Church, in the same manner
as a plant which, even if put into a dark cellar, naturally turns its leaves upwards, and
appears to seek the light.
On Saturday, 8th of March 1823, after sunset, Sister Emmerich had, with the greatest
difficulty, portrayed the different events of the scourging of our Lord, and the writer of these
pages thought that her mind was occupied in the contemplation of the ‘crowning with
thorns,’ when suddenly her countenance, which was preciously pale and haggard, like that
of a person on the point of death, became bright and serene and she exclaimed in a coaxing
tone, as if speaking to a child, ‘O, that dear little boy! Who is he?—Stay, I will ask him. His
name is Joseph. He has pushed his way through the crowd to come to me. Poor child, he is
laughing: he knows nothing at all of what is going on. How light his clothing is! I fear he
must be cold, the air is so sharp this morning. Wait, my child; let me put something more
over you.’ After saying these words in such a natural tone of voice that it was almost
impossible for those present not to turn round and expect to see the child, she held up a
dress which was near her, as would be done by a kind-hearted person wishing to clothe a
poor frozen child. The friend who was standing by her bedside had not sufficient time to ask
her to explain the words she had spoken, for a sudden change took place, both in her whole
appearance and manner, when her attendant pronounced the word obedience,—one of the
vows by which she had consecrated herself to our Lord. She instantly came to herself, and,
like an obedient child awakening from a sound sleep and starting up at the voice of its
mother, she stretched forth her hand, took the rosary and crucifix which were always at her
side, arranged her dress, rubbed her eyes, and sat up. She was then carried from her bed to a
chair, as she could neither stand nor walk; and it being the time for making her bed, her
friend left the room in order to write out what he had heard during the day.
On Sunday, the 9th of March, the friend asked her attendant what Sister Emmerich
meant the evening before when she spoke of a child called Joseph. The attendant answered,
‘She spoke of him again many times yesterday evening; he is the son of a cousin of mine,
and a great favourite of hers. I fear that her talking so much about him is a sign that he is
going to have an illness, for she said so many times that the poor child was almost without
clothing, and that he must be cold.’
The friend remembered having often seen this little Joseph playing on the bed of Sister
Emmerich, and he supposed that she was dreaming about him on the previous day. When
the friend went to see her later in the day to endeavour to obtain a continuation of the
narrations of the Passion, he found her, contrary to his expectation, more calm, and
apparently better in health than on the previous day. She told him that she had seen nothing
more after the scourging of our Lord; and when he questioned her concerning what she had
said about little Joseph, she could not remember having spoken of the child at all. He then
asked the reason of her being so calm, serene, and apparently well in health; and she
answered, ‘I always feel thus when Mid-Lent comes, for then the Church sings with Isaias
in the introit at Mass: “Rejoice, O, Jerusalem, and come together all you that love her;
rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow, that you may exult and be filled from the
breasts of your consolation.” Mid-Lent Sunday is consequently a day of rejoicing; and you
may likewise remember that, in the gospel of this day, the Church relates how our Lord fed
five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes, of which twelve baskets of fragments
remained, consequently we ought to rejoice.’
She likewise added, that our Lord had deigned to visit her on that day in the Holy
Communion, and that she always felt especial spiritual consolation when she received him
on that particular day of the year. The friend cast his eyes on the calendar of the diocese of
Munster, and saw that on that day they not only kept Mid-Lent Sunday, but likewise the
Feast of St. Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord; he was not aware of this before, because in
other places the feast of St. Joseph is kept on the 19th, and he remarked this circumstance to
Sister Emmerich, and asked her whether she did not think that was the cause of her
speaking about Joseph. She answered that she was perfectly aware of its being the feast of
the foster-father of Jesus, but that she had not been thinking of the child of that name.
However, a moment after, she suddenly remembered what her thoughts had been the day
before, and explained to her friend that the moment the feast of St. Joseph began, her vision
of the sorrowful mysteries of the Passion ceased, and were superseded by totally different
scenes, in which St. Joseph appeared under the form of a child, and that it was to him that
the words we have mentioned above were addressed.
We found that when she received these communications the vision was often in the form
of a child, especially in those cases when an artist would have made use of that simile to
express his ideas. If, for instance, the accomplishment of some Scripture prophecy was being
shown to her, she often saw by the side of the illustration a child, who clearly designated the
characteristics of such or such a prophet, by his position, his dress, and the manner in which
he held in his hand and waved to and fro the prophetic roll appended to a staff.
Sometimes, when she was in extreme suffering, a beautiful child, dressed in green, with a
calm and serene countenance, would approach, and seat himself in a posture of resignation
at the side of her bed, allowing himself to be moved from one side to the other, or even put
down on to the ground, without the smallest opposition and constantly looking at her
affectionately and consoling her. If, when quite prostrate from illness and the sufferings of
others which she had taken upon herself, she entered into communication with a saint,
either by participation in the celebration of his feast, or from his relics being brought to her,
she sometimes saw passages of the childhood of martyrdom. In her greatest sufferings she
was usually consoled, instructed, or reproved (whichever the occasion called for) by
apparitions under the form of children. Sometimes, when totally overcome by trouble and
distress, she would fall asleep, and be carried back in imagination to the scenes and perils of
her childhood. She sometimes dreamed, as her exclamations and gestures demonstrated,
that she was once more a little country girl of five years old, climbing over a hedge, caught
in the briars, and weeping with fear.
These scenes of her childhood were always events which had really occurred, and the
words which escaped her showed what was passing in her mind. She would exclaim (as if
repeating the words of others): ‘Why do you call out so?’ ‘I will not hold the hedge back
until you are quiet and ask me gently to do so.’ She had obeyed this injunction when she
was a child and caught in the hedge, and she followed the same rule when grown up and
suffering from the most terrible trials. She often spoke and joked about the thorn hedge, and
the patience and prayer which had then been recommended to her, which admonition she,
in after-life, had frequently neglected, but which had never failed her when she had recourse
to it. This symbolical coincidence of the events of her childhood with those of her riper
years shows that, in the individual no less than in humanity at large, prophetic types may be
found. But, to the individual as well as to mankind in general, a Divine Type has been given
in the person of our Redeemer, in order that both the one and the other, by walking in his
footsteps and with his assistance, may surpass human nature and attain to perfect wisdom
and grace with God and man. Thus it is that the will of God is done on earth as in heaven,
and that this kingdom is attained by ‘men of good will.’
She then gave a short account of the visions which had, on the previous night,
interrupted her visions of the Passion at the commencement of the feast of St. Joseph.

Description of the Personal Appearance of the Blessed Virgin.

While these sad events were taking place I was in Jerusalem, sometimes in one locality
and sometimes in another; I was quite overcome, my sufferings were intense, and I felt as if
about to expire. During the time of the scourging of my adorable Spouse I sat in the vicinity,
in a part which no Jew dared approach, for fear of defiling himself; but I did not fear
defilement, I was only anxious for a drop of our Lord’s blood to fall upon me, to purify me.
I felt so completely heartbroken that I thought I must die as I could not relieve Jesus, and
each blow which he received drew from me such sobs and moans that I felt quite astonished
at not being driven away. When the executioners took Jesus into the guardhouse, to crown
him with thorns, I longed to follow that I might again contemplate him in his sufferings.
Then it was that the Mother of Jesus, accompanied by the holy women, approached the
pillar and wiped up the blood with which it and the ground around were saturated. The
door of the guardhouse was open, and I heard the brutal laughter of the heartless men who
were busily employed in finishing off the crown of thorns which they had prepared for our
Lord. I was too much affected to weep, but I endeavoured to drag myself near to the place
where our Lord was to be crowned with thorns.
I once more saw the Blessed Virgin; her countenance was wan and pale, her eyes red
with weeping, but the simple dignity of her demeanour cannot be described.
Notwithstanding her grief and anguish, notwithstanding the fatigue which she had endured
(for she had been wandering ever since the previous evening through the streets of
Jerusalem, and across the Valley of Josaphat), her appearance was placid and modest, and
not a fold of her dress out of place. She looked majestically around, and her veil fell
gracefully over her shoulders. She moved quietly, and although her heart was a prey to the
most bitter grief, her countenance was calm and resigned. Her dress was moistened by the
dew which had fallen upon it during the night, and by the tears which she had shed in such
abundance; otherwise it was totally unsoiled. Her beauty was great, but indescribable, for it
was super-human—a mixture of majesty, sanctity, simplicity, and purity.
The appearance of Mary Magdalen was totally different; she was taller and more robust,
the expression of her countenance showed greater determination, but its beauty was almost
destroyed by the strong passions which she had so long indulged, and by the violent
repentance and grief she had since felt. It was painful to look upon her; she was the very
picture of despair, her long dishevelled hair was partly covered by her torn and wet veil, and
her appearance was that of one completely absorbed by woe and almost beside herself from
sorrow. Many of the inhabitants of Magdalum were standing near, gazing at her with
surprise and curiosity, for they had known her in former days, first in prosperity and
afterwards in degradation and consequent misery. They pointed, they even cast mud upon
her, but she saw nothing, knew nothing, and felt nothing, save her agonising grief.