Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich was an Augustinian nun who lived from 1774 to 1824. In addition to being a nun, she was also a stigmatic and ecstatic. Like a lot of saints, she grew up in a poor family. However, she was always very close to God and showed great love for Him and those of His Church, often giving everything she had, leaving her without anything for herself.
What was extraordinary about Emmerich is that from an early age, she experienced visions of Old and New Testament scenes. Angelico Press has made it their mission to publish English translations that have been supplemented and revised with material never translated before. Today, I would like to tell you about two of the volumes – First Beginnings and Mysteries of the Old Testament.
First Beginnings starts by talking about angels and the fallen angels. This was equal parts intriguing and terrifying. On the one hand, we see one set of angels choosing God and another set of angels choose self. We then see Hell being created. It isn’t overly descriptive, merely described as a dark disk rising from below. Some of the fallen angels remained there, and others still roam trying to lead man to eternal damnation. After this vision, we are walked through the Creation story, Paradise, Adam and Eve, the Fall, and the death of Abel. A brief section is dedicated to the name of Golgotha. This leads to Cain’s descendants, Enoch, Noah, and the construction of the ark. Other figures discussed were Nimrod, Derketo, Semiramis, Melchizedek, and Job.
Mysteries of the Old Testament begins with Joseph being sold into slavery. It talks of the jealousy of his brothers, a description of his coat of many colors, and mention of a special gift Jacob gave to Joseph, some of the bones of Adam. There is then much attention given to Asenath, Joseph’s future wife. From the Old Testament, we know very little about her, but here we are given a physical description of her, learn that she is a prophetess, and also are given examples of her great intelligence. The next section details Moses, specifically the burning bush. We see the prefiguring of Mary and the Incarnation in this area. Also included are Elijah (a personal favorite), Elisha, Ezra, and Malachi. Lastly, there is a lengthy passage on the Ark of the Covenant as it related to Abraham, Moses, Mary, and Jesus. This was a truly fascinating section and worth the price of the book alone!
Publishing these volumes was no doubt a monumental effort for Angelico Press, but you can tell it was truly a labor of love. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the Old Testament writings, as I find the people and history of the Old Testament to be fascinating. The level of detail and the illustrations provided make these two books a must read for any student of the Old Testament. I also appreciated the copious amounts of footnotes that were provided, as this gives us better understanding of the visions and the illustrations as well.
In addition to these two volumes about the Old Testament, there are ten other volumes in this series that cover the life of the Virgin Mary, people of the New Testament, Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich’s own life, and other themes. I am going to have to investigate and read these when I have the chance to get a fuller and more complete picture of the visions Anne experienced and the remarkable life she lived.
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Copyright 2018 Stuart Dunn
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