there should be no question of sensual gratification, but only of penance and
mortification, of constant fear, of constant warfare against sin...carried on by
prayer and self-conquest....”
. . . go to the full quote
the visions of
the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich
PON their arrival
home [from Jerusalem, after Mary had been conceived there, Joachim and Anne
spoke to everyone about]
the mercy of God with feeling, joy, and devotion. From that time they lived
in perfect continence and in great fear of God. I received at this time an
instruction upon the great influence exerted upon children by the purity, the
the mortification of parents (Volume One, p. 138).
E instructed the women
on marriage inculcating modesty and continency. He pronounced the degeneracy
of the people of this place, and the pitiful condition of the children,
consequences of the illegitimate connections so common among them. He spoke
of the parents’ share in the corruption of their children, of arresting
the evil by penance and satisfaction, and of the second birth in baptism
(Volume One, p. 463).
T the close of the
banquet, the bridegroom went to Jesus and spoke to Him very humbly in private.
He told Him that he now felt himself dead to all carnal desires and that,
if his bride would consent, he would embrace a life of continence. The bride
also, having sought Jesus alone and expressed her wish to the same effect,
Jesus called them both before Him. He spoke to them of marriage, of chastity
so pleasing in the sight of God, and of the hundredfold fruit of the spirit.
He referred to many of the Prophets and other holy persons who had lived
in chastity, offering their bodies as a holocaust to the Heavenly Father.
They had thus reclaimed many wandering souls, had won them to themselves
as so many spiritual children, and had acquired a numerous and holy posterity.
Jesus spoke all this in parables of sowing and reaping. The young couple
took a vow of continence, by which they bound themselves to live as brother
and sister for the space of three years. Then they knelt before Jesus, and
He blessed them (Volume Two, p. 58).
ESUS went to an inn
belonging to the pagans. . . . He was received with great humility and affection.
He instructed them upon the call of the heathens, telling them that He was
now come to gain over those who had not been conquered by the Israelites.
. . . I never heard Him speaking to the heathens of circumcision, but He
always insisted on continence and the obligation of having but one wife (Volume
Two, p. 336).
E taught successively
several groups of men and women, making use of all kinds of similitudes.
His subject was marriage, which He treated in very beautiful and deeply
significant terms. He began by saying that in human nature much evil is mixed
with good, but that by prayer and renunciation the two must be separated
and the evil subdued. He who follows his unbridled passions works mischief.
Our works follow us and they will at some future day rise up against their
author. Our body is an image of the Creator, but Satan aims at destroying
that image in us. All that is superfluous brings with it sin and sickness,
becomes deformity and abomination. Jesus exhorted His hearers to chastity,
moderation, and prayer. Continence, prayer, and discipline have produced
holy men and Prophets. Jesus illustrated all this by similitudes referring
to the sowing of the grain, to the clearing out of stones and weeds from
the field, to its lying fallow, and to the blessing of God upon land justly
acquired. In speaking of the married state, He borrowed His similitudes from
the planting of the vine and the pruning of the branches. He spoke of noble
offspring, of pious families, of improved vineyards, and of races exalted
and ennobled. He spoke of the Patriarch Abraham, of his holiness, and the
alliance concluded with God in circumcision, and said that his descendants
had fallen into disorders by their indulgence of unrestrained passion and
their repeated marriages with the heathens (Volume Three,
ESUS taught of the
Fall, of the perversion of Adam and Eve, of the Promise, of the degeneracy
of men into the wild state, of the separation of the less corrupt, of the
guard set over marriage, in order to transmit virtues and graces from father
to son, and of the sanctification of marriage by the observance of the Divine
Law, moderation, and continency. In this way, Jesus’ discourse turned
upon the bride and bridegroom. To illustrate His meaning, He referred to
a certain tree on the island which could be fertilized by trees at a distance
yes, even across the sea, and He uttered the words: “In the same way
may hope, confidence in God, desire of salvation, humility and chastity become
in some manner the mother for the fulfillment of the Promise.” This
led Jesus to touch upon the mysterious signification of marriage, in that
it typifies the bond of union between the Consoler of Israel and His Church.
He called marriage a great mystery (Volume Three,
OW on this day of the
marriage festivities, the whole morning was spent in adorning the public
feast-house. Meanwhile Jesus and His disciples retired to the inn whither
came to Him men and women, some seeking instruction, others advice and
consolation, for in consequence of their connection with the heathens, these
people often had scruples and anxieties. The young affianced were longer
with Jesus than the others. He spoke with the maidens alone and singly. It
was something like confession and instruction. He questioned them upon their
motives in entering the married state, whether they had reflected upon their
posterity and the salvation of the same, which was a fruit springing from
the fear of God, chastity, and temperance. Jesus found the young brides not
instructed on these points (Volume Three, p. 393).
FTER hearing and exhorting
these sinners individually, Jesus bade them send their wives to Him. When
they came, He related to each one separately the repentance of her husband,
exhorted her to heartfelt forgiveness and entire forgetfulness of the past,
and urged her to recall the malediction she had pronounced. If, He told them,
they did not act sincerely in this circumstance, the guilt of their
husband’s relapse would fall upon them. The women wept and thanked and
promised everything. Jesus reconciled several of these couples right away
that same day. He made them come before Him, interrogated them anew, as is
customary at the marriage ceremony, joined their hands together, covered
them with a scarf, and blessed them. The wife of one of the faithless husbands
solemnly revoked the malediction that she had pronounced upon the illegitimate
children. The mother of the poor little ones, who were being raised in the
Jewish asylum for children, was a pagan. Standing before Jesus, the injured
but now forgiving wife placed her hand crosswise with that of her husband
over the children’s heads, revoked the malediction, and blessed the
children. Jesus imposed upon those guilty of adultery, as penance, alms,
fasts, continence, and prayer. He who had sinned with the pagan was completely
transformed (Volume Three, p. 406).
ESUS warned them likewise
against such marriages with the heathens as those in which both parties,
indifferent to religion, enter into wedlock merely for the sake of property
and money, greater freedom, and the gratification of passion. (Volume Three,
ESUS instructed them
in parables, but I remember only these words of His discourse: “They
who say that they are chaste, but who eat and drink only what pleases their
appetite, are like those that try to extinguish a fire with dry wood”
(Volume Three, p. 470).
ESUS gave another
instruction upon marriage. . . . In marriage there should be no question
of sensual gratification, but only of penance and mortification, of constant
fear, of constant warfare against sin and sinful desires, and this warfare
is best carried on by prayer and self-conquest. Such struggles against self,
such victories over self on the mother’s part, secure similar victories
to her children (Volume Three, p. 504).
HEN He again taught
on marriage, upon which He dwelt for a long time. If married people, He said,
would live together modestly and chastely, if they would recognize their
state as one of penance, then they would lead their children in the way of
salvation, then would their state become not a means of diverting souls from
their end, but one that would reap a harvest for those mansions in His
Father’s house (Volume Three, p. 506).
HE instruction turned
again upon marriage, which, Jesus said, could produce pure, sweet fruit only
when it was guarded by self-command, mortification, and moderation united
to pain and labor (Volume Three, p. 509).
HEY must, He said,
be willing to sacrifice for God and the neighbor. The communication between
Jesus and these people became more and more intimate and, in order to rescue
them from the ignorance into which they had fallen, He taught under manifold
similitudes upon the chastity, modesty, and self-conquest that should grace
the married state. The similitudes referred to the sowing and the harvest.
He went also to visit two parties who were about to marry notwithstanding
their relationship to each other in prohibited degrees. One couple were blood
relatives. Jesus summoned them into His presence and told them that their
design sprang from the desire of temporal goods, and that it was not lawful.
They were terrified on finding that He knew their thoughts, for no one had
said anything to Him about it; so they relinquished their intention. Here
they washed one another’s feet, and the bride wiped Jesus’ feet
with the end of her veil, or the upper part of her mantle. Both the man and
the woman recognized Jesus by His teaching as more than a Prophet. They were
converted and followed Him. Jesus next went out to a house in the country,
in which lived a stepmother who wanted to marry her stepson, though the latter
as yet did not clearly comprehend her design. Jesus made known to the son
the danger in which he was, and bade him flee from the place and go labor
at Salathiel’s, which he obediently did. The Lord washed his feet also.
The stepmother, whom Jesus gravely rebuked for her guilt, was greatly
exasperated. She did no penance and went to perdition (Volume Three,
E said, “Thou
hast allowed thy heart to be moved by the beauty of thy wife! But think how
great the beauty of the soul must be, since God sends His Son upon earth
to save souls by the sacrifice of His Body! Whoever serves the body, serves
not the soul. Beauty inflames concupiscence, and concupiscence corrupts the
soul. Incontinence is like a creeping plant that chokes and destroys the
wheat and the vines” (Volume Three, pp. 514515).
ESUS once more spoke
to them of the duties of the married state. . . . He inculcated the observance
of modesty and purity, bade them in all their actions to aim at purity of
intention, exhorted them to prayer and renunciation, and rigorously commanded
perfect continence after the period of conception (Volume Three,
ESUS then explained
to them that they who enjoy [themselves] on earth have to render an
account hereafter, and that this life is one of penance (Volume Three,
1. In all these excerpts continence
as well as continency means abstinence from all sexual activity.