Elevation Of Blessed Emmerich Throws Accent On Mystical Aspects Of Church
By Michael H. Brown
The beatification of Anne Catherine Emmerich now focuses enormous attention on the value of mysticism. This was a mystic in the classic tradition: stigmata, bilocation, visions, apparitions, locutions, prophecy, healing -- throwing an accent on this aspect of the Church at a time when it has become all but ignored.
It demonstrates the worth authorities at the Vatican grant to such spiritual gifts, with the Pope specifically alluding during his homily Sunday to Emmerich's mysterious wounds, which the German seer, a nun confined to bed because of sickness, suffered on a virtually constant basis.
Her elevation toward sainthood likewise accents the importance of suffering at a time of ministries that exclude mention of it.
And it underscores the serious nature of the future. On June 1, 1821, the well-known 19th-century Augustinian nun reportedly described a vision in which she saw "nearly all the bishops of the world, but only a small number were perfectly sound.
"I also saw the Holy Father -- God-fearing and prayerful. Nothing left to be desired in his appearance, but he was weakened by old age and by much suffering. His head was lolling from side to side, and it dropped onto his chest as if he were falling asleep. He often fainted and seemed to be dying.
"But when he was praying, he was often comforted by apparitions from Heaven. Then, his head was erect, but as soon as it dropped again onto his chest, I saw a number of people looking quickly right and left, that is, in the direction of the world."
Ironically, during Sunday's beatification Pope John Paul II had great difficulty speaking and had to rest as many of his duties were assumed by aides, as has often been the case in recent years.
Many are under the mistaken impression that Blessed Emmerich was placed on the fast-track of canonization due to her role in the Mel Gibson movie, The Passion of the Christ, which drew heavily from Emmerich's book, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In a nearly dismissive fashion, secular reports Sunday referred to Emmerich as Gibson's "muse."
In fact the time-table for her beatification was in place well before Gibson, the famed Hollywood actor-turned-director, planned his blockbuster movie, and long before the Vatican was aware of the film.
But many of the most poignant scenes in the movie -- including the role of Mary -- came directly from Emmerich's mystical visions and it would be justice to the newly beatified mystic if Gibson, who courageously pursued the project, and has made hundreds of the millions from it, donated significantly to Emmerich's cause. It was her mysticism that granted the movie much of its charisma, as well as the tension of conflict between Christ and demonic images.
The Emmerich book is currently published by TAN Books and Publishers of Rockford, Illinois -- an extraordinary traditional publisher that is always in need of funds, sometimes desperately so. It would be spiritual justice to compensate the struggling publisher, without whom the book would be unavailable.
The charisms Emmerich possessed now take center stage, as do many of her extraordinary revelations beyond the life of Christ. Indeed, the accounts of her life -- most notably The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich -- are filled with tremendous anecdotes that demonstrate the interaction between earth and Heaven.
We'll bring more of those in the days ahead. Few are those who know that Emmerich claimed she was once given a miraculous book that contained many of Heaven's secrets. They also don't know about her insight into actual spiritual forces that she said held sway over various geographical locations -- a war she saw with her spiritual sight and defeated through suffering in the Name of Jesus.
More amazing Emmerich articles from our archive
[resources: The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich]
[see also: the life of Emmerich]
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