In this account of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich’s visions regarding the Last Supper, trial, scourging, carrying of the Cross, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Our Lord, we are given a compelling, often horrific description of the events of the Triduum. Included in her revelations are conversations, thoughts, emotions, motives and the demeanour of all the people who were present. Building on and corroborating what we know from Sacred Scripture, this chronicle leads us to understand more fully Our Lord’s redemptive sacrifice in propitiation for the sins of all mankind through the ages.
Bl. Anne Catherine’s ability to see into the hearts of people in her visions is a gift for us. Through her, we learn the cruel thoughts of those who revelled in the crucifixion, from the religious and government officials, to the torturers, executioners and the jeering crowds. Her description will make the Biblical reading of the Passion more powerful and probably more emotional.
Woven throughout the narrative is the role of Our Blessed Mother in the Passion and Death of Our Lord. Bl. Anne Catherine recounted that in her grievous suffering, Our Sorrowful Mother was completely united with Our Lord. In all things, she gave her fiat. She is described in this way: “Notwithstanding her grief and anguish, notwithstanding the fatigue which she had endured… her appearance was placid and modest, and not a fold of her dress out of place… She moved quietly, and although her heart was a prey to the most bitter grief, her countenance was calm and resigned… Her beauty was great, but indescribable, for it was superhuman – a mixture of majesty, sanctity, simplicity, and purity.”
Also included in the narration is Our Saviour’s descent into Hell. Bl. Anne Catherine described the place of everlasting punishment as “the temple of anguish and despair.” She saw the centre of Hell, the “dark and horrible-looking abyss” where Lucifer had been cast down. She understood that God the Father Himself had commanded this; but she also revealed that this demon “will be unchained for a time fifty or sixty years before the year of Christ 2000.” She explained that some demons were let loose before Lucifer “to serve as instruments of the Divine vengeance.”
After reading through the harrowing events of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, it is a welcome relief when the reader comes to the scenes of the Resurrection: when, to whom and how Our Redeemer showed His resurrected body. Their astonishment becomes real for us as we share in their wonder, excitement and profound love for Him.
Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich’s visions of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord are so vivid that the person who reads this book prayerfully cannot help but admit his or her own unworthiness. Her visions are in keeping with what saints and theologians have written through the centuries: that Our Saviour suffered and died in reparation for all our sins from all time, especially the sins against the Blessed Sacrament. At the same time, these revelations evoke gratitude and awe that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity would humble Himself to die a humiliating, horrible, ignominious death for us. If this book, read through the eyes of faith, does not bring a person to their knees and move them to a life of prayer, penance and conversion, nothing will.
The Lenten season is perhaps the most likely time to read and ponder what is contained in this book but truly, any time is the best time to contemplate what is written here. These pages, when read prayerfully, asking the Lord to illuminate our hearts and minds, will deepen our understanding of what it means to unite our sufferings with Christ. We will look upon Our Saviour hidden in the Blessed Sacrament with increased reverence, love, awe, devotion and gratitude. When we are blessed to be before the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, may we humble ourselves and pray, O Lord, I am not worthy.
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