Light on Light

February 2008

Looking for Lenten reading?

We are pleased to announce that we have a limited quantity of Hurd Baruch's book Light on Light: Illuminations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the Mystical Visions of the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich (Maxkol Communications, 2004) for sale at the discounted price of $12 each.

In this book, Baruch orders and contextualizes the numerous detailed visions of the German nun Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824), who is largely regarded as one of the Catholic Church's greatest modern mystics. A remarkable woman, Sr. Emmerich was a stigmatic, bearing the five wounds of Christ on the cross — on both hands and feet, and a side wound from the lance. She also bore the visible wounds of the crown of thorns, two crosses on her body, and an invisible wound on her right shoulder, recalling the abrasion Christ suffered from carrying His cross. Her visible wounds bled considerably during Lent and the penitential days of the Church calendar. Subsisting for months at a time on only the Holy Eucharist and a teaspoon of beef tea, Sr. Emmerich considered it her vocation to suffer for Christ and the Church.

Sr. Emmerich's renown, however, springs from her mystical visions into the life of Christ. Her visions were transcribed by the German poet Clement Maria Brentano. This was no simple task: Sr. Emmerich's visions did not appear in chronological order but were triggered by the Church calendar: feast days, Lent, Easter, etc. Brentano spent six years trying to decipher and order Sr. Emmerich's visions, which were often fragmentary and inconsistent on minor points. To hear Baruch tell it, "Brentano wound up with thousands of pages of notes, and the task of organizing and reconciling them proved to be too much for him: he died after completing only one volume, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ." The bulk of Sr. Emmerich's visions were compiled by others in the four-volume The Life of Jesus Christ; many of her other visions appear in the single-volume The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the two-volume biography The Life of Anne Catherine Em­merich.

Apart from her mystical visions and stigmata, Sr. Emmerich's life exemplified the call of the Christian to a life of sanctity. For this reason she was beatified by the Church in 2004.

It was Sr. Emmerich's visions that inspired and inform Mel Gibson's masterpiece of cinema, The Passion of the Christ. Pope John Paul II was a fervent admirer of Sr. Emmerich as well.

With all private revelations, of course, Catholics must exercise prudence in judgment. Baruch acknowledges this in his Introduction: "The Catholic Church has not taken an official position on whether Sister Em­merich's visions are worthy of belief. The Church always keeps in mind that the holiness of the recipient of a vision or locution is no guarantee that he or she did not err in what was perceived, or in how those perceptions were interpreted and retransmitted by the recipient. For her part, Sister Emmerich did not claim that her visions had the accuracy of Scripture. According to Brentano's preface to his first edition of The Dolorous Passion, she herself considered her visions as having only ‘a human and defective value.'"

So, why is it worthwhile to examine Sr. Em­merich's visions? Because, as Baruch puts it, "While the Gospels teach us all that is necessary about Jesus for our salvation, they don't begin to satisfy our curiosity about Jesus Himself — what He looked like, how He sounded, who His 'brothers and sisters' were, what He said in private to His Mother.... And, they don't come close to relating...facts which might help us to better understand and appreciate His Passion and death...."

Baruch elaborates: "Apart from satisfying one's hunger to learn more about Jesus, there are three spiritual reasons to expose oneself to Sister Emmerich's visions. The first is to employ in meditation their wealth of information...." The second is to "comprehend with new eyes the totality of Jesus' mission and the price He paid to accomplish it." The third is that Sr. Emmerich's visions "fill, rather than empty, the figure of Jesus Christ: They fully confirm the Gospels' depiction of Jesus."

The reader who is willing to "immerse himself in the staggering wealth of detail about her visions," Baruch says, "will surely decide for himself that, in the main, their source could only have been divine revelation."

This Lent we are offering readers the chance to find out for themselves, and to make their own determination about the value of the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich. Along the way, we are certain that Baruch's account of her visions will stir readers to a greater appreciation of the life, suffering, and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, and bring them to a greater understanding of His redemptive mission.

To order Hurd Baruch's Light on Light: Illuminations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the Mystical Visions of the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, at the discounted price of $12 each (which includes shipping and handling), mail a check or money order, payable to New Oxford Review, to: NOR, Light on Light Book Offer, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley CA 94706. VISA, MasterCard, and Discover credit cards are also accepted: please include your name as it appears on your card, billing address, shipping address (if different from billing address), and card number and expiration date. Don't forget to indicate how many copies of the book you would like. U.S. orders will be shipped Media Mail.

Canadian orders, please add an additional $5 postage per book; other non-U.S. orders, please add an additional $10 postage per book.

Rejoice, He is risen!

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I have read all the books related to Anne Catherine Emmerich and her visions and I can't even begin to explain how they have helped me in all my various meditations and prayers! My love for Jesus, Mary, and our wonderful Church has been deepened by "seeing", and "hearing" Jesus, Mary, and the apostles. Thanks NOR for making this available for Lent! Posted by: rpkammerer
February 04, 2008 03:10 PM EST
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