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The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ   By: (1774-1824)

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The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

From the Meditations of Anne Catherine Emmerich

Copyright Notice: This ebook was prepared from the 20th edition of this book, which was published in 1904 by Benziger Brothers in New York. The copyright for that edition is expired and the text is in the public domain. This ebook is not copyrighted and is also in the public domain.


The writer of this Preface was travelling in Germany, when he chanced to meet with a book, entitled, The History of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, from the Meditations of Anne Catherine Emmerich, which appeared to him both interesting and edifying. Its style was unpretending, its ideas simple, its tone unassuming, its sentiments unexaggerated, and its every sentence expressive of the most complete and entire submission to the Church. Yet, at the same time, it would have been difficult anywhere to meet with a more touching and lifelike paraphrase of the Gospel narrative. He thought that a book possessing such qualities deserved to be known on this side the Rhine, and that there could be no reason why it should not be valued for its own sake, independent of the somewhat singular source whence it emanated.

Still, the translator has by no means disguised to himself that this work is written, in the first place, for Christians; that is to say, for men who have the right to be very diffident in giving credence to particulars concerning facts which are articles of faith; and although he is aware that St. Bonaventure and many others, in their paraphrases of the Gospel history, have mixed up traditional details with those given in the sacred text, even these examples have not wholly reassured him. St. Bonaventure professed only to give a paraphrase, whereas these revelations appear to be something more. It is certain that the holy maiden herself gave them no higher title than that of dreams, and that the transcriber of her narratives treats as blasphemous the idea of regarding them in any degree as equivalent to a fifth Gospel; still it is evident that the confessors who exhorted Sister Emmerich to relate what she saw, the celebrated poet who passed four years near her couch, eagerly transcribing all he heard her say, and the German Bishops, who encouraged the publication of his book, considered it as something more than a paraphrase. Some explanations are needful on this head.

The writings of many Saints introduce us into a new, and, if I may be allowed the expression, a miraculous world. In all ages there have been revelations about the past, the present, the future, and even concerning things absolutely inaccessible to the human intellect. In the present day men are inclined to regard these revelations as simple hallucinations, or as caused by a sickly condition of body.

The Church, according to the testimony of her most approved writers, recognises three descriptions of ecstasy; of which the first is simply natural, and entirely brought about by certain physical tendencies and a highly imaginative mind; the second divine or angelic, arising from intercourse held with the supernatural world; and the third produced by infernal agency. (See, on this head, the work of Cardinal Bona, De Discretione Spirituum.) Lest we should here write a book instead of a preface, we will not enter into any development of this doctrine, which appears to us highly philosophical, and without which no satisfactory explanation can be given on the subject of the soul of man and its various states.

The Church directs certain means to be employed to ascertain by what spirit these ecstasies are produced, according to the maxim of St. John: 'Try the spirits, if they be of God.' (1 Jn 4:1). When circumstances or events claiming to be supernatural have been properly examined according to certain rules, the Church has in all ages made a selection from them.

Many persons who have been habitually in a state of ecstasy have been canonised, and their books approved... Continue reading book >>

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