FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
After they had
left, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Get up, take
the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you,
because herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.' So Joseph got up and,
taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until
Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: I called
my son out of Egypt.
Herod was furious on realising that he had been fooled by the wise men, and in Bethlehem
and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or
less, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. Then were fulfilled
the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly: it is Rachel weeping for her
children, refusing to be comforted because they are no more.
The Hail Mary
Hail Mary,Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, and
blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.
21. THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
VISIONS OF BLESSED ANNE CATHERINE EMMERICH,
FROM VOLUME I:
THE LOWLY LIFE AND BITTER PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS
CHRIST AND HIS BLESSED MOTHER TOGETHER WITH THE MYSTERIES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
FROM THE VISIONS OF BLESSED ANNE CATHERINE
As Recorded in the Journal of Clement Brentano
AND EDITED BY
VERY REV. C.E. SCHMOGER, C. SS. R.
When Herod saw that the King
s did not return, he thought they had failed
to find Jesus, and the whole affair seemed to be dying out. But after
Mary's return to Nazareth, Herod heard of Simeon's and Anna's prophecies
at the Presentation of the Child in the Temple, and his fears were
reawakened. I saw him in as great disquietude as at the time of the Kings
stay in Jerusalem. He was conferring with some aged Jews who read to
him from long rolls of writings mounted on rods. He had given orders for
a number of men to be gathered together in a
large court, and there
provided with weapons and uniforms. Things went on as they do with us
when soldiers are recruited. I saw that he sent these troops to various
places around Jerusalem, from which the mothers were to be summoned
to the Holy City. He caused their numbers to be everywhere ascertained.
He took these precautions in order to prevent the tumult that would
necessarily follow if the news of the projected slaughter of the children
was spread. I saw those soldiers in three different places, in Bethlehem,
in Gilgal, and in Hebron. The inhabitants were in great consternation,
because not able to divine why a garrison was placed in their towns. The
soldiers remained about nine months in those places, and the murder of
the little ones began when John
was about two years old.
Anne and Mary Heli were still at the home of the Holy Family in Nazareth.
Mary, with her Child, slept in the apartment to the right behind the
fireplace; Anne, to the left; and between hers and that of St. Joseph,
Mary Heli. These
rooms were not so high as the house itself, and were cut
off from one another only by wicker partitions. The ceiling also was of
wickerwork. Mary's couch was surrounded by a curtain, or screen. At her
feet, in His own little bed, lay the Infant Jesus within Mary's reach when
she sat upright. I saw a radiant youth standing at the side of Josephs
couch and speaking to him. Joseph sat up, but overcome by sleep, again
lay down. Then the youth caught him by the hand and raised him up.
Joseph, now thoroughly aroused, stood up and the youth vanished. Then I
saw Joseph going to the lamp that burned in the center of the house, and
getting a light. He proceeded to Marys chamber, knocked, and asked
permission to enter. I saw him going in and speaking to Mary who,
however, did not open her screen. After this he went out to the stable for
the ass, and returning, went into a room wherein were stored all kinds of
household goods. He was getting things ready for a journey. Mary arose,
quickly clothed herself for travelling, and went to arouse Anne, who got
up at once along with Mary Heli and the little boy. I cannot express how
touching was the trouble of Anne and the sister. Anne embraced Mary
over and over again with many tears, clasping her to her heart as if she
again to see her. The sister threw herself flat on the floor, and
wept. Only just before setting out, did they take the Infant Jesus from His
little bed. They all pressed the Child to their heart, and It was given to the
little boy to embrace. Mary then took the Child upon her breast, resting It
in a strip of stuff that fastened over her shoulders. A long mantle
enveloped both Mother and Child, and Mary wore over her head a large
veil, which hung down on both sides of her face. She made but few
s for the journey, and all she did was done quietly and quickly.
I did not see her even swathing the Child afresh. The holy travellers took
only a few things with them, far fewer than they had brought from
Bethlehem, only a little bundle and some coverings
. Joseph had a
leathern bottle filled with water and a basket with compartments in it' in
which were loaves, little jugs, and live birds. There was a cross seat for
Mary and the Child on the ass, also a little footboard. They went forward a
with Anne, for they took the road in the direction to her
house, only somewhat more to the left. When Joseph approached with the
ass, Anne again embraced and blessed Mary, who then mounted and rode
off. It was not yet midnight when they left the house. The
Child Jesus was
twelve weeks old. I had seen three times four weeks.
I saw Mary Heli going to her mothers house in order to send Eliud with a
servant to Nazareth, after which she returned with the boy to her own
home. I next saw Anne in Josephs house packing everything up for Eliud
and the servant to remove to her own house.
The Holy Family passed by many places that night, and not till morning
did I see them resting under a shed and taking a little refreshment.
I saw them taking their first nights lodging
s in the little village of Nazara,
between Legio and Massaloth. The poor, oppressed people of this place
who lodged the Holy Family were not, properly speaking, Jews. They had
to go far over a mountainous road to Samaria to worship, for their temple
Mt. Garizim, and they always had to work like slaves on the
Temple of Jerusalem and other public buildings. The Holy Family could go
no further. They were well received by these outcasts wtth whom they
remained the whole of the following day. On their ret
urn from Egypt, they
again visited those poor people. They did the same both going and
returning from the Temple the first time that the Child Jesus made the
journey to it. The whole family at a later period was baptized by John,
and they afterward joined
the disciples of Jesus.
The Holy Family on their flight met only three inns at which to spend the
night: here, at Nazara; again at Anim, or Engannim, among the camel
dealers; and lastly, among the robbers. At other times, they rested during
wanderings in valleys and caves and the most outof4he
way places. Further on from Nazara, I saw them hidden under the great
pine tree near which Mary, on her journey to Bethlehem, had been so
old. The persecution of Herod was known in these parts and it w
consequently, unsafe for them. The Ark of the Covenant had once rested
under this tree, when Joshua assembled the people and made them
renounce their idols.
Later, I saw the Holy Family by a well and balsam bush resting and
refreshing themselves. The branches of the bush were notched, and out
of them oozed the balsam in drops. The Child Jesus lay on Mary's lap, His
little feet bare. To the left behind them, lay Jerusalem far up above the
level of the country in which they then were.
When the Holy Family
had passed the walls of Gaza, I saw them in the
wilderness. No words can depict the difficulties of this journey. They
always travelled a mile eastward of the ordinary highway and, as they
shunned the public inns, they suffered the want of all necessaries.
them quite exhausted with not a drop of water (the little jug was empty)
drawing near to a low bush some distance from the road. The Blessed
Virgin alighted from the ass and sat down upon the dry grass. Suddenly
there jetted high before them a spring of water, which spread over the
plain. I witnessed their joy. Joseph dug a hole at a little distance, and led
the ass to it. The poor beast gladly drank from it as it filled. Mary bathed
the Child in the spring, and refreshed herself. The sun shone out
beautifully for a short time, and the weary travellers were strengthened
and full of grateful emotion. They tarried here for two or three hours. On
the sixth night, I saw them in a cave near the mount and city of Ephraim.
The cave was in a wild ravine, about one hours distance from the grove of
Mambre. I saw the Holy Family arrive, worn out and dejected. Mary was
very sad; she wept, for they were in want of everything. They rested here
a whole day and many wonders were vouchsafed them for their
spring gushed forth in the cave, a wild goat came running
to them and allowed itself to be milked, and they were visibly consoled by
an angel. One of the Prophets had often prayed in this cave. Samuel had
once sojourned in it, David had guarded his father
s sheep around it, and
to it had often retired to pray. He had in this cave, received through
angels, the divine commands, among them that to slay Goliath.
The last stopping place of the Holy Family in Herod's dominion was near
its confines. The innkeepers
appeared to be camel dealers, for I saw a
number of camels in an enclosed pasture ground. The people were rude
and wild, and they enriched themselves by thieving; still they received
the Holy Family most graciously. This place was distant a couple of hours
from the Dead Sea.
Once I saw Mary sending a messenger to Elizabeth, who then brought her
child to a very concealed place in the desert. Zachary accompanied her
only a part of the way. When they reached a certain body of water,
Elizabeth and the child cro
ssed over on a raft, while Zachary went on to
Nazareth by the same route taken by Mary on her visit to Elizabeth. I,
saw him on his journey.
Perhaps he was going to make some inquiries, for there were some
friends at Nazareth distressed at Mary's departure.
On a starry night, I saw the Holy Family going through a sandy wilderness
covered with low thickets. The scene was as vivid before me, as if I were
really crossing the desert with them. Here and there under the
copsewood, venomous snakes lay coiled. With
loud hissing, they
approached the path and darted their heads angrily toward the Holy
Family. But they, shielded by the light that environed them, stepped
securely along. I saw other animals with immense fins like wings on their
blackish body, with short feet, and a head like that of a fish. They darted
along, flying over the ground. At last, the Holy Family came behind the
bushes to a deep fissure in the ground, like the walls of a narrow defile,
and here they rested.
The last place in Judea by which they
passed, had a name that sounded
like Mara. I thought of Anne's ancestral place, but it was not it. The people
were very rude and uncivilized, and the Holy Family could get nothing
from them by way of refreshment.
Leaving this last place and scarcely knowing
how to proceed, they pressed
on through a desolate region. They could find no road, and a dark,
height stretched out before them. Mary was exhausted
and very sad. She knelt with Joseph, the Child in her arms, and cried to
God. And behold
! Several large, wild beasts, like lions, came running
around them, exhibiting friendly dispositions. I understood that they had
been sent to show the way. They looked toward the mountain, ran thither
and then turned back again, just like a dog that wants
someone to follow
it. At last the Holy Family followed them and, after crossing the mountain,
arrived at a very dismal region.