The Immaculate Conception

A Candle

Yes, it’s back to Anne Katherine Emmerich’s visions. I”m fascinated by them.

It was a warning from on high that had led Joachim into the Holy Place, and it was by a similar inspiration that he was brought into a subterranean passage which belonged to the consecrated part of the Temple and ran under it and under the Golden Gate.

I have been told what was the meaning and origin of this passage when the Temple was built, and also what it was used for, but I have no clear recollection of this. Some religious observance relating to the blessing and reconciliation of the unfruitful was, I think, connected with this passage. In certain circumstances people were brought into it for rites of purification, expiation, absolution, and the like.

Joachim was led by priests near the slaughtering-place through a little door into this passage. The priests turned back, but Joachim continued along the passage, which gradually sloped downwards. Anna had also come to the Temple with her maidservant, who was carrying the doves for sacrifice in wicker baskets. She had handed over her offering and had revealed to a priest that she had been bidden by an angel to meet her husband under the Golden Gate.

I now saw that she was led by priests, accompanied by some venerable women (among whom I think was the prophetess Anna), through an entrance on the other side into the consecrated passage, where her companions left her. I had a very wonderful view of what this passage was like.

Joachim went through a little door; the passage sloped downwards, and was at first narrow but became broader afterwards. The walls were of glistening gold and green, and a reddish light shone in from above. I saw beautiful pillars like twisted trees and vines. After passing through about a third of the passage Joachim came to a place in the midst of which stood a pillar in the form of a palm tree with hanging leaves and fruits. Here he was met by Anna, radiant with happiness.

They embraced each other with holy joy, and each told the other their good tidings. They were in a state of ecstasy and enveloped in a cloud of light. I saw this light issuing from a great host of angels, who were carrying the appearance of a high shining tower and hovering above the heads of Anna and Joachim. The form of this tower was the same as I see in pictures, from the litany of the Blessed Virgin, of the Tower of David, the Tower of Ivory, and so forth. I saw that this tower seemed to disappear between Anna and Joachim, who were enveloped in a glory of brightness.

I understood that, as a result of the grace here given, the conception of Mary was as pure as all conceptions would have been but for the Fall. I had at the same time an indescribable vision. The heavens opened above them, and I saw the joy of the Holy Trinity and of the angels, and their participation in the mysterious blessing here bestowed on Mary’s parents.

Anna and Joachim returned, praising God, to the exit under the Golden Gate: towards the end the passage sloped upwards. They came into a kind of chapel under a beautiful and high arch, where many lights were burning. Here they were received by priests who led them away.

The part of the Temple above which was the hall of the Sanhedrin lay over the middle of the subterranean passage; above this end of it were, I think, dwellings of priests whose duty it was to look after the vestments. Joachim and Anna now came to a kind of bay at the outermost edge of the Temple hill, overlooking the valley of Josaphat, where the path could no longer go straight on but branched to right and left.

After they had visited another priest’s house, I saw Joachim and Anna and their servants starting on their journey home. On their arrival at Nazareth, Joachim, after a joyful meal, gave food to many poor people and distributed generous alms. I saw how full he and Anna were of joy and fervor and gratitude to God when they thought of His compassion towards them; I often saw them praying together with tears.

It was explained to me here that the Blessed Virgin was begotten by her parents in holy obedience and complete purity of heart, and that thereafter they lived together in continence in the greatest devoutness and fear of God.

I was at the same time clearly instructed how immeasurably the holiness of children was encouraged by the purity, chastity, and continence of their parents and by their resistance to all unclean temptations; and how continence after conception preserves the fruit of the womb from many sinful impulses. In general, I was given an overflowing abundance of knowledge about the roots of deformity and sin.

From St. Peter’s Lips to Our Ears

St. Peter - Lucas

“Rid your minds, then, of every encumbrance, keep full mastery of your senses, and set your hopes on the gracious gift that is offered you when Jesus Christ appears. Obedience should be native to you now; you must not retain the mould of your former untutored appetites. No, it is a holy God who has called you, and you too must be holy in all the ordering of your lives; You must be holy, the scripture says, because I am holy. You appeal to God as your Father; yes, but he judges each man impartially by what he has done; look anxiously, then, to the ordering of your lives while your stay on earth lasts.” 1 Peter 13-17 (Knox)

Psalm 83/84

How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of host!

My soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. For the sparrow has found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself where she may lay her young ones: Thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord: they shall praise thee for ever and ever.

Blessed is the man whose help is from thee: in his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps, In the vale of tears, in the place which be hath set.For the lawgiver shall give a blessing, they shall go from virtue to virtue: the God of gods shall be seen in Sion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Behold, O God our protector: and look on the face of thy Christ.

For better is one day in thy courts above thousands. I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners.  For God loveth mercy and truth: the Lord will give grace and glory.  He will not deprive of good things them that walk in innocence: O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

(In his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps: Ascensiones in corde suo disposuit. As by steps men ascended to the temple of God situated on a hill; so the good Christian ascends towards the eternal temple by certain steps of virtue disposed or ordered within the heart: and this whilst he lives as yet in the body, in this vale of tears, the place which man hath set: that is, which he hath brought himself to: being cast out of paradise for his sin.)

 

The Novena to St. Jane – August 4-12

Saint Jane de Chantal

O Glorious saint, blessed Jane Frances, who by the fervent prayer, attention to the Divine Presence, and purity of intention in they actions attainedst on earth an intimate union with God, be now our advocate, our mother, our guide in the path of virtue and perfection. Plead our cause near Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, to whom thou wast so tenderly devoted, and whose holy virtues thou didst so closely imitate. Obtain for us, O amiable and compassionate saint, the virtues thou seest most necessary for us; an ardent love of Jesus in the most holy Sacrament, a tender and filial confidence in His Blessed Mother, and, like thee, a constant remembrance of His sacred Passion and death. Obtain also, we pray thee, that our particular intention in this Novena may be fulfilled.

V. Pray for us, O holy St. Jane Frances.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

O almighty and Merciful God, Who didst grant blessed St. Jane Frances, so inflamed with the love of Thee, a wonderful degree of fortitude through all the paths of life, and wast pleased through her to adorn Thy Church with a new religious Order, grant, by her merits and prayers, that we, who sensible of our weakness confide in Thy Strength, may overcome all adversities with the help of Thy heavenly Grace, through Christ our Lord. Amen