Jesus Appears to the Five Hundred
From that last place, which was some hours south of Tiberias, Peter went with the other Apostles, the disciples, and many of the people westward to an elevated region which had on the north an extraordinarily fertile valley. Even in the depth of winter, it was covered with beautiful, tall grass, for there was a brook running through it; but in hot weather it was parched. Sometimes the whole valley was inundated by the rains that flowed down the mountains in streams. Up on this plateau they came to a hill, around which lay houses with gardens behind them extending up its sides. The hill was not much higher than the houses themselves. Five pathways planted with hedges and trees ran up the hill, whose summit afforded ample space for about a hundred people to walk about freely. From it the view extended far around the country and over the Galilean sea. It was a very beautiful prospect. At no great distance arose the mountain of the multiplication of the loaves, and it was in this region that Jesus delivered His Sermon on the Mount. The well of Capharnaum was at the base of this elevated plateau. The rest of the Apostles, many of the disciples, and all the holy women were here, besides the Mother of God and Veronica. Peter’s wife and daughter, the wives of Andrew and Matthew were come down from Bethsaida, along with many others. The Apostles and disciples knew that they were all to meet here. They scattered around, some under sheds, some in the open air. Peter related to the Apostles and the women the miraculous draught of fishes, and then went with them up the mountain, upon which the people had already been ranged by some of the disciples.
There was on it a hollow place in whose center stood a teacher’s pillar overgrown with moss. One could mount into it as into a pulpit. The hollow in which the pillar stood was furnished with steps in tiers, so that the numerous audience could see over one another. Peter placed five Apostles on the five several pathways that led up the mountain, and they taught the people, because all could not hear him, on account of the crowd. He himself stood on the pillar in the center, the Apostles, disciples, and many of the people around him, and published the Passion, the Resurrection, the apparitions of the Lord, and the obligation of following Him.
And now I saw Jesus approaching by the same route that Peter had come. He went up the moun-tain. The holy women, who were standing on one of the paths, prostrated before Him, and He spoke to them as He passed. As, resplendent with light, He stepped in through the crowd, many shuddered and became alarmed. These did not remain faithful. Then Jesus went to the pillar on which Peter was standing. Peter resigned his place and took up a position opposite Jesus, who now addressed the multitude. He spoke of abandoning one’s relatives, of following Him, and of the persecution that they would have to endure. About two hundred of His hearers withdrew when they heard Him talking of such things. All these were gone away, said Jesus. He had spoken to them mildly in order not to scandalize the weak. He uttered some very grave words upon the sufferings and persecution of those that would follow Him upon earth, and He alluded to their eternal reward. He addressed these remarks to the Apostles and disciples, as He had once before done in His last instruction in the Temple. He told them that they should at first remain in Jerusalem. When He should have sent them the Spirit, they should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and should at once establish a Community. Then He told them how they should disperse, form distant Communities, meet together once more, again separate for far-off countries, and receive at last the Baptism of blood.
While Jesus was speaking, the spirits of the ancient Patriarchs encircled the whole assembly, though invisibly. Jesus vanished. His disappearance was like a light suddenly extinguished in their midst. Many fell prostrate on their face. Peter again taught and prayed. This was Jesus’ principal apparition in Galilee, where He taught and gave proof to all of His Resurrection. The other apparitions were more secret.
Peter, Thaddeus, Andrew, and James the Less, I saw after that in another place, where they healed many sick whom lately in the region of Sichar they could not cure. Their fault was that, wishing to imitate the great dignity and reserve of Jesus in His demeanor, they did something extraordinary, they assumed an air of importance. They did not give humbly what they had received, but they gave it as coming from themselves, therefore success was not theirs. But now I saw them (and the sight touched me greatly) humbling themselves, kneeling down by the sick, and begging their pardon for failing to assist them. The sick were all cured. There were people even from Cedar among them. The cured went with the Apostles to Bethania for the Sabbath.
Love Feast (Agape) in Bethania And in the House Of the Last Supper. The Destruction Of the Holy Places By the Jews
I saw the Apostles in Bethania, whither they were followed by about three hundred of the Faithful, among them fifty women. They had given over their goods to the Community. The Blessed Virgin also had come from Jerusalem to Bethania, and was stopping in Martha and Magdalen’s house. There was a great Love Feast of bread-breaking and passing round of the cup held in the open hall of Lazarus’ court.
Peter afterward gave an instruction before a great multitude. There were some spies among the listeners. When Peter announced that they should leave all and join the Community, and that he would give them what they needed, the spies laughed derisively. He had nothing himself, they said, He was only a poor fisherman, a vagrant, who could hardly support his wife at home. Peter still continued to teach, more on the command of Jesus than from any interior, quickening sentiment which the Apostles received only with the Holy Ghost. He now spoke in the assemblies, excepting when the crowd was very great, for then he ordered some of the others to teach on various points. Since his reception of the mantle from Jesus and the meal offish (which indeed was not a natural fish), at which he had received special power, he had become quite another being. All recognized him as the head, the mouth, the hand of the Community. At Jesus’ prediction on the seashore respecting Peter’s death and John’s future, at the command, “Feed My lambs!” I felt that Peter, in his successors, was forever to provide for the guiding and feeding of the flocks, while John should stand ever at the source of the water that was to refresh and irrigate the meadow and quicken the sheep. It seemed to me that Peter’s influence belonged more to time, more to the exterior condition, and therefore was it divided among his successors; but that John’s was more interior, that it consisted more in inspiration, in the sending abroad of inspired messengers. Peter was more like the rock, the edifice; John more like a wind, a cloud, a thunderstorm, a son of thunder, a voice sender. Peter was more like the frame, the cords, and the tone of a harp; John was the sighing of the breeze through its strings, I am unable to express in more significant words what I inwardly perceived.
About fifty soldiers, the same that seized the Lord on Mount Olivet, came from Jerusalem to Bethania. They were guards belonging to the Temple and the High Priests. Some deputies also of the Sanhedrim made their appearance at the Council House in Bethania, and summoned the Apostles before them. Peter, John, and Thomas presented themselves and replied boldly and openly to the charge that they convened assemblies and occasioned disturbance among the people. Soldiers were placed at Lazarus’. The deputies from Jerusalem interrogated the Apostles publicly before the Council House. The magistrates of Bethania opposed them, saying that if they knew anything against those men, they ought to take them into custody, but that they must not disturb the peace of the place by the presence of soldiers. Peter, in order to avoid giving offense, dismissed one hundred and twenty-three of the assembled Faithful. Those from the greatest distance were directed to remain at the dwellings in the neighborhood, for they already had all things in common. The fifty women also withdrew and lived together in separate abodes. Peter gave orders for all to return to Bethania before the day of Christ’s Ascension.
The Apostles, on leaving Bethania, went to the house of the Last Supper near Jerusalem, where they prayed under the lamp before the Holy of Holies. There were about seven disciples with them. They could no longer reach the house of the Last Supper through the city, for the road on that side had been partly destroyed by the Jews. They had to go to the left of the Temple, and strike into the road taken by Peter and John on Maundy Thursday. There were numerous inns for the accommodation of strangers on this road, and the people living around these parts were not of pure Jewish origin. The Jews had expelled from their society and from public offices all that declared themselves for Jesus and that fraternized with the disciples. The places upon which Jesus fell during His sorrowful journey to Calvary, or at which something noteworthy had happened, they cut through with ditches. The ways leading to the sections chiefly inhabited or frequented by the followers of Jesus, they walled up. It appeared to me very strange to see a person caught in such a street as in a blind alley, and have to turn round and come out again. Sometimes the friends of Jesus again opened the ways to Calvary by night. All places around Jerusalem especially consecrated by the presence or the sufferings of Jesus, and on that account held in particular veneration by His followers, were maliciously laid waste by the Jews. The charming sites upon which Jesus had taught and tarried were rendered impassable and closed in with hedges. In some places they actually dug pitfalls into which the pious pilgrim might fall, but I saw some of those vicious Jews plunging into them themselves. Mount Calvary was rendered unapproachable by hedges and beams. Its summit was dug up and the earth scattered like manure over the paths, also over the five grassy, heart-shaped plots that were formed by the pathways running up to the place of crucifixion. When they had taken away the mound that encircled the place of crucifixion, there remained a white stone. In it was a four-cornered hole about an ell deep, in which the cross had been planted. I saw the workmen toiling with crowbars, trying to upturn that stone, but the more they tried, the deeper it sank, so they buried it at last under some rubbish. The Holy Sepulcher alone was left unmolested, for that was Nicodemus’ property. Christ’s head, while in the tomb, lay toward the east. If a person on leaving the cave went around toward the south, he would have the sun directly above him, and the west on his right.
I was interiorly instructed that all demolishers of representations of the Holy Way of the Cross, of Crucifixes, chapels or churches, of ancient devotions, of holy exercises and practices, and in general of all objects that draw us into closer relation with the history of Redemption, whether in building, picture, and writing, or by custom, festival, and prayer, will be judged with the enemies of Jesus’ bloody footsteps and as belonging to them.
The Majesty and Dignity of the Blessed Virgin
On the evening of the following day, I saw the Apostles and twenty of the disciples in the hall at prayer under the lamp. The Blessed Virgin, all the holy women, Lazarus, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and Obed were present. The prayer over, John addressed the Apostles, and Peter, the disciples. They spoke in words full of mystery of their relations to the Mother of the Lord and what she should be to them. During this instruction of the two Apostles, which they based on a communication received from Jesus, I saw the Blessed Virgin hovering over the assembly in a shining, outspread mantle whose folds embraced them all, and on her head descended a crown from the Most Holy Trinity through the open heavens above her. I no longer saw her kneeling outside the hall in prayer, and I had the conviction that Mary was the legitimate head of them all, the temple that enclosed them all. I think this vision was symbolical of what God designed to take place for the Church at this moment through the exposition of the Apostles upon Mary’s dignity.
Toward nine o’clock, I saw a meal set in the outer hall. The guests wore festal robes and Mary her wedding garment. When at prayer, however, she wore a white mantle and veil. She sat between Peter and John at the table of the Apostles, who were seated, their back to the court, the door of the hall in view. The other women and disciples were seated right and left at separate tables. Nicodemus and Joseph served. Peter carved the lamb, just as Jesus had done the Paschal lamb. At the end of the meal, there was a breaking of bread and a passing around of blessed (not consecrated) bread and wine.
After that I saw the Blessed Virgin with the Apostles in the Supper Room. She was standing between Peter and John under the lamp. The Holy of Holies was open, and they were praying on their knees before it.
When midnight had sounded, the Blessed Virgin, kneeling, received the Blessed Sacrament from Peter. He carried the Bread that had been consecrated and broken by Jesus on the little plate belonging to the chalice. At that instant I saw Jesus appear to her, though not visible to the others. Mary was penetrated with light and splendor. She was still in prayer. I saw that the holy Apostles were very reverent in their manner toward her. Mary next went to the little dwelling on the right of the entrance into the court of the Coenaculum, in which she now had her apartment. Here standing she recited the Magnificat, the Canticle of the three youths in the fiery furnace, and the 130th Psalm. The day was beginning to dawn when I saw Jesus entering through the closed doors. He spoke long to her, telling her that she was to help the Apostles, and explaining what she was to be to them. He gave her power over the whole Church, endued her with His strength, His protecting influence, and it was as if His light flowed in upon her, as if He penetrated her through and through. I cannot express it. A covered way of mats across the court to the house of the Last Supper was made for the Blessed Virgin, so that she could go from her little room to the Holy of Holies and the choir of the Apostles and disciples. John also resided in the little dwelling. When Jesus appeared to Mary in her cell, I saw her head encircled by a crown of stars as it had been at her Communion.
It was revealed to me also that as often as the Blessed Virgin communicated, the form of the Bread remained in her unchanged from one Communion to another, so that she always adored in her breast the Sacramental Presence of the God-Man. During a period of persecution, after the stoning of St. Stephen, the Apostles for a time refrained from consecrating. But even then the Church was not without the Blessed
Sacrament, for It was preserved in the living tabernacle of Mary’s most holy heart. I also learned at the same time that this was a grace entirely special, and that it could be imparted to the Blessed Virgin alone.
Increase of the Community
The number of the Faithful continued to increase, Many came to join them, especially from the Galilean Sea, with asses laden with baggage. It kept some busy procuring them quarters. They generally stopped first at the disciples’ inn outside Bethania, where the disciples dwelt in turn to receive the strangers, and give them advice and directions. The newcomers were sent by them to Lazarus, who owned many houses and dwellings. Many of them lived at Jerusalem also, in the quarter of Mount Sion. Only a few poor Jews were scattered around here. There were numerous old walls of extraordinary thickness, and vacant lots on which I saw asses grazing. Strangers who had come for the feast pitched their tents around this quarter. Besides the house of the Last Supper, there was another on Mount Sion, a very large, dilapidated old building (the Citadel of David), and numbers of the Faithful found shelter under its surroundings. They dwelt in huts, or in lodgings adjoining them. I saw that people dwelt below in the massive walls, while on their top were erected tents of coarse tapestry.
The Chaldeans from Sikdor, whom Jesus had directed to the Centurion of Capharnaum, and who had from there returned to their homes, were now come back again in great numbers with their beasts of burden and baggage. Their beasts and packs were standing in the inner court of the large, dilapidated building. The Jews did not molest them; only the road to the Temple mount and to the quarter of the city belonging to it was entirely walled up on the side of Mount Sion near the Pool of Bethsaida where the Christians were stopping. The Community was thereby completely separated, cut off from the Jews.
I saw the newcomers resigning, for the good of the Community, quantities of stuffs of fine and coarse, white and yellowish wool, carpets, canvas for tents, all in great rolls. Nicodemus and Joseph managed everything. Garments for religious service and Baptism were made out of some, and some was given to the needy, all of whom were cared for.
There was, at the Pool of Bethsaida, an old synagogue formerly used only by strangers come for the feast. It stood at some elevation above the pool. The Apostles now appropriated it to their own use. In it the newcomers assembled to be instructed by some of the Apostles. But all these strangers were not at once admitted to the Community, much less to the house of the Last Supper. I saw neither the Apostles nor the disciples, nor these newly arrived again frequenting the Temple. True, the Apostles, having received the Holy Ghost, went there after Pentecost, but it was only that they might preach to the assembled multitude. Their Temple was the house of the Last Supper that sheltered the Blessed Sacrament. The Mother of all was the Blessed Virgin. The Apostles consulted with her, and she was for them like an Apostle herself.
Peter’s wife and daughter, Mark’s wife, and other women had now come from Bethsaida to Bethania, where they dwelt under tents. They had no communication whatever with the men. They came into the presence of the Apostles only for instruction, and they employed themselves in weaving and twisting long strips of stuff and coarse covers for tents, many of them working at the same time upon one piece. The Blessed Virgin also, along with Martha and Magdalen, worked at embroidery, sometimes reclining, sometimes walking about, work in hand. I saw the Blessed Virgin embroidering in delicate colors figures something like an Apostle, or the Lord Himself, on a yellow, brown, or sky-blue ground. The figures were not so enveloped in mantles as formerly. Once they embroidered a representation of the Most Holy Trinity. It was like God the Father handing the cross to the Son, who looked like a High Priest. From both proceeded the Holy Ghost, though not in the form of a dove, for instead of wings there were arms. The figures were arranged more in a triangular form than one below the other. I have seen in the earliest churches of that period vestments that Mary had embroidered.
The Apostles themselves lent a hand in preparing the dwellings of the newcomers. They carried to them wood and matting and wicker partitions, and worked hard. The poor were provided with clothing, and even their food was prepared for them, for Lazarus had contributed toward the foundation of a general fund.
The holy women, among whom was the wife of Zacheus, busied themselves in helping the newly arrived women. No one had anything of his own. He that brought something with him gave it up, and he that had nothing, received something. The house of Simon the Leper was crowded with disciples. Simon himself no longer dwelt in it, for he had resigned it to the Community, and he now lived among the brethren. On the flat roof of the house there was formed, by means of movable wicker partitions, a kind of hall in which was placed an orator’s chair. It was reached from outside by steps in the wall. They built everywhere, they put up tents and sheds, they made use of every corner of walls and old buildings. There were also many vacant dwellings both here and in Jerusalem, for numbers of Jews went away after the Crucifixion.
The newly converted and the baptized became so numerous after Pentecost that the Apostles had to negotiate with the Jewish magistrates for procuring suitable dwelling-places for the newcomers. They sent Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Nathanael, and others well known among the Jews, to the magistrates who were assembled, about twenty in number, in a hall over the gate of the women’s porch. Three places outside the city and distant from the usual routes were assigned the converts: one to the west of Bethania, between it and Bethphage, where some huts and sheds were already put up; and two others south of Bethania, distant also from the highroads. In exchange for these, the disciples were to vacate the inn on the road outside Bethania, nor should they live permanently or put up at the inn beyond Jerusalem and on the road to Bethlehem, where Mary had stopped before her Purification in the Temple. I saw the magistrates indicating from the Temple the regions named, the deputies carrying back the news to the Community, some parties of the Faithful going thither, and Peter and John pointing out to them sites for building. Supplies of all kinds were transported on asses, and water in great leathern bottles, to the place between Bethania and Bethphage, where there was no water. But when the Christians began to dig a well, water at once gushed forth. I saw Simon of Bethania, who had had a household of his own and understood domestic economy, under an awning near the Pool of Bethsaida, and he appeared to be noting down on a roll of parchment the goods and chattels of the people, who had brought with them sheep, goats, doves, and great birds with red beaks and legs. All were distributed to those in need of them, also covers and woolen stuffs for clothing. Admirable order was observed in this distribution. The women received their portion through the hands of women; the men, from men. There were people from the most widely scattered regions, who did not understand one another’s language, but who with the greatest love handed over their property for distribution. The Apostles alone understood all.
Magdalen and Martha gave up their houses at Bethania to the new converts, and Lazarus delivered over all that he owned to the Community. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea did the same. They assumed the charge of providing for the Community and distributing the alms. But when they were ordained priests, Peter appointed deacons in their place.
The Days Immediately Preceding the Ascension
Jesus communicated with the Apostles quite naturally in those last days. He ate and prayed with them, walked with them in many directions, and repeated all that He had before told them. He appeared also to Simon of Cyrene as he was working in a garden between Bethphage and Jerusalem. Jesus, resplendent with light, approached him as if floating in the air. Simon fell on his knees and kissed the ground at Jesus’ feet, who signed to him with His hand to keep silence, and then vanished. Some others that were working nearby likewise saw Jesus, and they too fell on their knees like Simon. When Jesus was walking with the Apostles around Jerusalem, some of the Jews perceived the apparition, and were terrified. They ran to hide themselves, or to shut themselves up in their houses. Even the Apostles and disciples accompanied Him with a certain degree of timidity, for there was in Him something too spiritual for them. Jesus appeared also in other places, Bethlehem and Nazareth for instance, to those especially with whom He and His Blessed Mother had formerly had intercourse. He scattered blessings everywhere, and they that saw Him believed and joined the Apostles and disciples.
On the last day but one before the Ascension, I saw Jesus with five of the Apostles approaching Bethania from the east, whither the Blessed Virgin also, with other holy women, was coming from Jerusalem. Many of the Faithful were gathered around Lazarus’. They knew that Jesus was soon to leave them, and they wanted to see Him once more and bid Him goodbye. When Jesus had entered the house, these people were admitted into the spacious courtyard and the gates closed. Jesus took with the Apostles and disciples some refreshments standing, and to the latter, who were weeping bitterly, He said: “Why do ye weep, dear brethren? Behold this Woman! She is not weeping!” and He pointed to His Blessed Mother, who was standing with the holy women at the entrance of the hall. A long table was set in the court for the numerous strangers. Jesus went out to them, blessed little rolls, and distributed them, after which He gave them a sign to retire. And now His Blessed Mother humbly approached, to present to Him a petition. But Jesus, checking her with a gesture of His hand, told her that He could not grant it. Mary thanked most humbly, and withdrew.
Jesus took a singularly touching leave of Lazarus. He gave him a shining morsel, blessed him, and extended to him His hand. Lazarus, who generally remained hidden in his own house, did not accompany Jesus when He left for Jerusalem with the Apostles and disciples. They took the Palm Sunday route, though with many turnings into side ways. They went in four companies, allowing considerable distance to intervene between them. The Eleven went on with Jesus; the holy women followed last. I saw Jesus shining with light, a conspicuous figure in their midst. The marks of His wounds were not always visible to me, but when I did see them, they were brilliant as the sun. All were anxious and greatly depressed. Some were in tears; others were talking to one another, saying: “He has often before vanished from us,” for they did not want to think that He would really leave them. Peter and John alone appeared more calm, as if they understood the Lord better, for Jesus often spoke to them interiorly and explained to them many things. He often disappeared and then suddenly reappeared in their midst, as if desirous of preparing them for His final departure.
The way ran past charming little gardens where Jews were busy weaving and clipping the hedges, on which lovely bushes covered with flowers were growing in the form of pyramids. The laborers often covered their faces with their hands, fell to the earth, or fled among the shrubbery, I know not whether from fright and terror or from deep emotion. I do not know whether they saw the Lord, or whether they could not see Him. Once I heard Jesus saying to the disciples: “After all these places shall have been converted to the Faith by your preaching, and after others shall have driven the Faithful away and laid all things waste—then shall come a sad time. Ye do not as yet comprehend Me, but when ye will for the last time celebrate with Me the Last Supper, then ye will understand Me better.”
Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea had prepared a meal, which was served in the entrance hall of the house of the Last Supper. The hall opened on all sides, and a passage ran from the left through the courtyard, which was planted with trees, to the little house with the kitchen hearth built near the surrounding wall. The covered walks on the right were opened into the courtyard, and here were set the tables for the disciples. They consisted of long planks only. The table for Jesus and The Eleven was prepared in the entrance hall. On it stood little mugs and a large dish ornamented with delicate foliage, in which lay a fish along with some small rolls. On the disciples’ table were fruits and three-cornered dishes containing honeycombs. Flat bone knives were placed around. Near every dish lay three slices of bread, for there was one dish for every three of the guests.
The sun had set and it was beginning to grow dark when Jesus drew near with the Apostles. The Blessed Virgin, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea received Him at the gate. He went with His Blessed Mother into her little abode, while the Apostles proceeded to the entrance hall. When the disciples and holy women arrived somewhat later, Jesus joined The Eleven in the hall. The table, only one long side of which they occupied, was higher than those in general use. The Apostles reclined on cross-seats, but Jesus stood. At His side reclined John, who was more cheerful than the others. He was just like a child in disposition, now quickly troubled, and again full of consolation and joy. The lamp over the table was lighted. Nicodemus and Joseph served. I saw the Blessed Virgin standing at the entrance of the Supper Room. Jesus blessed the fish, the bread, and the herbs, and passed them around with words of earnest instruction. I saw His words like rays of light issuing from His mouth and entering that of the Apostles, into some quickly, into others slowly, according to their greater or less desire, their greater or less hunger after the teaching of Jesus. At the end of the meal,
Jesus blessed the cup, drank from it, and then passed it around. This, however, was not a consecration.
The love feast over, all assembled outside the hall under the trees. Jesus addressed to them a long instruction, and ended by giving them His blessing. To His Blessed Mother, who was standing in front of the holy women, He extended His hand. All were very much affected, and I felt that Magdalen ardently longed to embrace Jesus’ feet. But she restrained her desire, for His demeanor was so grave that He inspired holy fear. When He left them, they wept very much. It was not, however, an exterior weeping; it was like the weeping of the soul. I did not see the Blessed Virgin shedding tears. I never saw her actually weeping excepting when she lost Jesus, a Boy of twelve, on her return journey from the Paschal festival, and again when she stood under the cross after His death. The assembly broke up before midnight.
Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven
On the night before His wonderful Ascension, I saw Jesus in the inner hall of the house of the Last Supper with the Blessed Virgin and The Eleven. The disciples and the holy women were praying in the side halls. In the Supper Room the Communion Table was standing under the lighted lamp, and on it the Paschal Bread and chalice. The Apostles were in their robes of ceremony. The Blessed Virgin was opposite Jesus who, as on Maundy Thursday, was consecrating bread and wine.
I saw the Blessed Sacrament entering the mouths of the Apostles in the form of a luminous body, and Jesus’ words at the consecration of the wine flowing into the chalice like a stream of red light.
During the last days, Magdalen, Martha, and Mary Cleophas received the Blessed Sacrament.
Toward morning, Matins were solemnly recited as usual under the lamp, Jesus again imparted to Peter jurisdiction over the others, again laid upon him the mantle of which I have spoken, and repeated what He had said on the mountain by the Sea of Tiberias. He gave some instructions also on Baptism and the blessing of water. During Matins and the instructions, I saw seventeen of the most confidential disciples standing in the hall behind the Blessed Virgin.
Before leaving the house, Jesus presented the Blessed Virgin to the Apostles and disciples as their Mother, their Mediatrix, and their Advocate, and she bestowed upon Peter and all the rest her blessing, which they received bowing very low. At that instant I beheld Mary raised upon a throne, a sky-blue mantle around her, a crown upon her head. This was symbolical of her dignity as Queen of Mercy.
At dawn of day Jesus left the house of the Last Supper with The Eleven. The Blessed Virgin fol-lowed them closely; the disciples, at some little distance. They passed through the streets of Jerusalem where all was quiet, the inhabitants still buried in sleep. At each moment the Lord became more earnest, more rapid in speech and action. On the preceding evening He appeared to me much more sympathetic in His words to His followers. I recognized the route that they took as that of the Palm Sunday procession. I saw that Jesus went with them over all the paths trodden by Him during His Passion, in order to inspire them by His teachings and admonitions with a lively appreciation of the fulfillment of the Promise. In every place in which some scene of His Passion had been enacted, He paused a moment to instruct them upon the accomplishment of the words of the Prophets, upon the Promises, and to explain the symbolical relation of the place to the same. On those sites which the Jews had laid waste, over which they had thrown heaps of stones, through which they had opened ditches, or which they had rendered impassable in other ways in order to prevent their being venerated, Jesus ordered the disciples in His train to go on ahead and clear away all obstructions, which they quickly did. Then bowing low as He passed, they allowed Him to take the lead again while they followed. Just before the gate that led out to Mount Calvary, they turned aside from the road to a delightful spot shaded by trees. It was one of several places of prayer that lay around Jerusalem. Jesus paused to teach and comfort the little flock. Meanwhile, day dawned brightly; their hearts grew lighter, and they even began to think that Jesus would still remain with them.
New crowds of believers arrived, but I saw no women among them. Jesus again took the road that led to Mount Calvary and the Holy Sepulcher. But He did not follow it up to those points; He turned off and went around the city to the Mount of Olives. Some of the places on these roads consecrated to prayer and sanctified by Jesus’ teaching, and which had been laid waste or hedged in by the Jews, were now restored by the disciples. The tools for their work they found in the gardens on their way. I remember round shovels that looked like our bake oven shovels.
Jesus paused awhile with the crowd in an exceedingly cool and lovely spot covered with beautiful long grass, I was surprised to see that it was nowhere trodden down. The multitude that here surrounded Jesus was so great that I could no longer count them. Jesus spoke to them a very long time, like one who is about closing his discourse and coming to a conclusion. His hearers divined that the hour of parting was near, and yet they had no idea that the time still intervening was to be so short. The sun was already high, was already far above the horizon. I know not whether I express it rightly, for in that country it seems to me the sun is not so high as it is here. It always appears to me as if it were nearer to one. I do not see it as here, rising like a small globe. It shines there with far more brilliancy. Its rays are, on the whole, not so fine. They often look like a broad pathway of light, Jesus and His followers tarried here fully an hour. By this time the people in Jerusalem were all on the alert, amazed at the crowds of people they descried around Mount Olivet. Out of the city, too, crowds were pouring in bands. They consisted of all that had gone out to meet Jesus on Palm Sunday. The narrow roads were soon thronged, though around Jesus and His own, the space was left free.
The Lord went only to Gethsemani and from the Garden of Olives up to the summit of the mount. He did not set foot upon the path on which He had been arrested. The crowd followed as in a procession, ascending by the different paths that encircled the mount. Many even pressed through the fences and garden hedges. Jesus at each instant shone more brightly and His motions became more rapid. The disciples hastened after Him, but it was impossible to overtake Him. When He reached the top of the mountain, He was resplendent as a beam of white sunlight. A shining circle, glancing in all the colors of the rainbow, fell from Heaven around Him. The pressing crowd stood in a wide circle outside, as if blending with it. Jesus Himself shone still more brightly than the glory about Him. He laid the left hand on His breast and, raising the right, turned slowly around, blessing the whole world. The crowd stood motionless. I saw all receive the benediction. Jesus did not impart it with the flat, open hand, like the rabbis, but like the Christian Bishops. With great joy I felt His blessing of the whole world.
And now the rays of light from above united with the glory emanating from Jesus, and I saw Him disappearing, dissolving as it were in the light from Heaven, vanishing as He rose. I lost sight of His head first. It appeared as if one sun was lost in another, as if one flame entered another, as if a spark floated into a flame. It was as if one were gazing into the full midday splendors of the sun, though this light was whiter and clearer. Full day compared with this would be dark. First, I lost sight of Jesus’ head, then His whole person, and lastly His feet, radiant with light, disappeared in the celestial glory. I saw innumerable souls from all sides going into that light and vanishing on high with the Lord. I cannot say that I saw Him becoming apparently smaller and smaller like something flying up in the air, for He disappeared as it were in a cloud of light.
Out of that cloud, something like dew, like a shower of light fell upon all below, and when they could no longer endure the splendor, they were seized with amazement and terror. The Apostles and disciples, who were nearest to Jesus, were blinded by the dazzling glare. They were forced to lower their eyes, while many cast themselves prostrate on their faces. The Blessed Virgin was standing close behind them and gazing calmly straight ahead.
After some moments, when the splendor began to diminish, the whole assembly in deep silence—their souls swayed by varying emotions—gazed fixedly up at the brightness, which continued visible for a long time, I saw two figures appear in this light. They looked small at first, but seemed to grow larger and larger as they descended. They were clothed in long white garments, and each held a staff in one hand. They looked like Prophets. They addressed the multitude, their voices like trumpets resounding loud and clear. It seemed to me that they could surely be heard in Jerusalem. They made no motion, stood perfectly still, and said: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking up to Heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come as you have seen Him going into Heaven.”1 After these words the figures vanished. The brightness remained for a while longer and then disappeared like daylight retiring before the darkness of night. The disciples were quite out of themselves, for they now comprehended what had happened to them. The Lord had left them and gone to His Heavenly Father! Many, stunned by grief and amazement, fell to the earth. When the glare had entirely died away, they arose again, and the others gathered around them. They formed groups, the Blessed Virgin stepped forward, and so they stood for some time longer recovering themselves, talking together, and gazing upward. At last, the Apostles and disciples went back to the house of the Last Supper, and the Blessed Virgin followed. Some were weeping like children that refuse to be comforted, others were lost in thought. The Blessed Virgin, Peter, and John were very calm and full of consolation. I saw, however, some among the different groups who remained unmoved, unbelieving, and full of doubts. They withdrew from the rest.
On the top of Mount Olivet, from which Jesus ascended, there was a level rock. On it He stood addressing the multitude before He blessed them and the cloud of light received Him. His footsteps remained impressed on the stone, and on another the mark of one hand of the Blessed Virgin. It was past noon before the crowd entirely dispersed.
The Apostles and disciples now felt themselves alone. They were at first restless and like people forsaken. But by the soothing presence of the Blessed Virgin they were comforted, and putting entire confidence in Jesus’ words that she would be to them a mediatrix, a mother, and an advocate, they regained peace of soul.
A certain fear stole over the Jews in Jerusalem. I saw many closing doors and windows, others gathering together in groups. During the last days, they had experienced some peculiar feelings of alarm, which today were greatly intensified.
On the following days I saw the Apostles always together and the Blessed Virgin with them in the house of the Last Supper. At the last repast of Jesus, and ever after, I saw Mary when at prayer and the breaking of bread always opposite Peter, who now took the Lord’s place in the prayer circle and at meals. I received at the time the impression that Mary now held a position of high importance among the Apostles, and that she was placed over the Church.
The Apostles kept themselves very much aloof. I saw no one out of the great crowd of Jesus’ followers going to them into the house of the Last Supper. They guarded more against persecution from the Jews and gave themselves up to more earnest and well regulated prayer than did the
disciples dispersed in bands throughout the other apartments of the same house. The latter went in and out more freely. I saw many of them also very devoutly traversing the way of the Lord by night.
At the election of Mathias to the Apostolate, I saw Peter in the house of the Last Supper. He was clothed in his episcopal mantle and was standing in the center of the circle formed by the Apostles. The disciples were gathered in the open side halls. Peter proposed Joses Barsabas and Mathias, both of whom were standing off among the bands of disciples. There were some among these that wanted to be chosen in Judas’ place. The two mentioned had never thought of such a thing, and had no desires on the subject. N ext day the lots were cast, Barsabas and Mathias being excluded from the assembly. When it was found that the lot had fallen on Mathias, someone went into the disciples’ apartments and led him to the Apostles.