The Nativity Of Our LORD JESUS CHRIST By Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 – 1824).
Anne Catherine Emmerich was a German Augustinian nun who had visions about Christ’s life and death. This book relates her visions regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary, from her marriage to St. Joseph to the events surrounding the birth of Christ. (Introduction by Ann Boulais).
Genre(s): Christianity-Other-Language: English.
Anne Catherine Emmerich (also Anna Katharina Emmerick; 8 September 1774 – 9 February 1824) was a Roman Catholic Augustinian Canoness Regular of Windesheim, mystic, Marian visionary, ecstatic and stigmatist.
She was born in Flamschen, a farming community at Coesfeld, in the Diocese of Münster, Westphalia, Germany, and died at age 49 in Dülmen, where she had been a nun, and later become bedridden. Emmerich experienced visions on the life and passion of Jesus Christ, reputed to be revealed to her by the Blessed Virgin Mary under religious ecstasy.
During her bedridden years, a number of well-known figures were inspired to visit her. The poet Clemens Brentano interviewed her at length and wrote two books based on his notes of her visions. The authenticity of Brentano’s writings has been questioned and critics have characterized the books as “conscious elaborations by a poet”.
Emmerich was beatified on 3 October 2004, by Pope John Paul II. However, the Vatican focused on her own personal piety rather than the religious writings associated to her by Clemens Brentano.
Emmerich said that as a child she had visions in which she talked with Jesus, saw the souls in purgatory, and witnessed the core of the Holy Trinity in the form of three concentric, interpenetrating full spheres. The largest but dimmest of the spheres represented the Father core, the medium sphere the Son core, and the smallest and brightest sphere the Holy Spirit core. Each sphere of omnipresent God is extended toward infinity beyond God’s core placed in heaven.
Emmerich had many mystical visions which she spoke about. The following seems to be mirrored in many traditions as truth: She wrote, for instance, of ‘a Mount of Prophets, which she clearly identified as the Himalayas, where live Enoch, Elijah and others who did not die in the ordinary way but ascended, and where animals which survived the Flood may also be found’. Some say she was seeing the legendary spiritual fortress of Shambala (Eastern tradition), or the Magical City of Luz (Hebrew Tradition), basically a place found in many ancient traditions where those who are immortal, or special in such a way, go. (This is mostly based on page 173 of The Secret History of the World by Jonathan Black).
Based on Emmerich’s growing reputation, a number of figures who were influential in the renewal movement of the Church early in the 19th century came to visit her, among them Clemens August von Droste zu Vischering, the future Archbishop of Cologne; Johann Michael Sailer, the Bishop of Ratisbon, since 1803 the sole surviving Elector Spiritual of the Holy Roman Empire; Bernhard Overberg and authors Luise Hensel and Friedrich Stolberg. Clemens von Droste, at the time still vicar‑general of the Archdiocese, called Emmerich “a special friend of God” in a letter he wrote to Stolberg.
Emmerich began to grow ever weaker during the summer of 1823. She died on 9 February 1824 in Dülmen and was buried in the graveyard outside the town, with a large number of people attending her funeral. Her grave was reopened twice in the weeks following the funeral, due to a rumor that her body had been stolen, but the coffin and the body were found to be intact.
In February 1975, Emmerich’s remains were moved to the Holy Cross Church in Dülmen, where they rest today.
On 3 October 2004, Anne Catherine Emmerich was beatified by Pope John Paul II. However, the books produced by Brentano were set aside, and her cause adjudicated solely on the basis of her own personal sanctity and virtue. Peter Gumpel, who was involved in the analysis of the matter at the Vatican, told Catholic News Service:
“Since it was impossible to distinguish what derives from Sister Emmerich and what is embroidery or additions, we could not take these writings as a criteria [in the decision on beatification]. Therefore, they were simply discarded completely from all the work for the cause.”
“Her example opened the hearts of poor and rich alike, of simple and cultured persons, whom she instructed in loving dedication to Jesus Christ.” — Pope John Paul II, Homily, Sunday, 3 October 2004.
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