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Light on Light

EDITORIAL

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.

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