Volume IV– Anne Catherine Emmerich
JESUS and his disciples ate the Paschal Lamb in the supper-room. They divided into three groups. Jesus ate the Paschal Lamb with the twelve Apostles in the supper-room, properly so called; Nathaniel with twelve other disciples in one of the lateral rooms, and Eliacim (the son of Cleophas and Mary, the daughter of Heli), who had been a disciple of John the Baptist, with twelve more, in another side-room
Three lambs were immolated for them in the Temple, but there was a fourth lamb which was immolated in the supper-room, and was the one eaten by Jesus with his Apostles. Judas was not aware of this circumstance, because being engaged in plotting his betrayal of our Lord, he only returned a few moments before the repast, and after the immolation of the lamb had taken place. Most touching was the scene of the immolation of the lamb to be eaten by Jesus and his Apostles; it took place in the vestibule of the supper-room. The Apostles and disciples were present, singing the 118th Psalm. Jesus spoke of a new period then beginning, and said that the sacrifice of Moses and the figure of the Paschal Lamb were about to receive their accomplishment, but that on this very account, the lamb was to be immolated in the same manner as formerly in Egypt, and that they were really about to go forth from the house of bondage.
The vessels and necessary instruments were prepared, and then the attendants brought a beautiful little lamb, decorated with a crown, which was sent to the Blessed Virgin in the room where she had remained with the other holy women. The lamb was fastened with its back against a board by a cord around its body, and reminded me of Jesus tied to the pillar and scourged. The son of Simeon held the lamb’s head; Jesus made a slight incision in its neck with the point of a knife, Which he then gave to the son of Simeon, that he might complete killing it. Jesus appeared to inflict the wound with a feeling of repugnance, and he was quick in his movements, although his countenance was grave, and his manner such as to inspire respect. The blood flowed into a basin, and the attendants brought a branch of hyssop, which Jesus dipped in it. Then he went to the door of the room, stained the side-posts and the lock with blood, and placed the branch which had been dipped in blood above the door. He then spoke to the disciples, and told them, among other things, that the exterminating angel would pass by, that they would adore in that room without fear or anxiety, when he, the true Paschal Lamb, should have been immolated–that a new epoch, and a new sacrifice were about to begin, which would last to the end of the world.
They then went to the other side of the room, near the hearth where the Ark of the Covenant had formerly stood. Fire had already been lighted there, and Jesus poured some blood upon the hearth, consecrating it as an altar; and the remainder of the blood and the fat were thrown on the fire beneath the altar, after which Jesus, followed by his Apostles, walked round the supper-room, singing some psalms, and consecrating it as a new Temple. The doors were all closed during this time. Meanwhile the son of Simeon had completed the preparation of the lamb. He passed a stake through its body, fastening the front legs on a cross piece of wood, and stretching the hind ones along the stake. It bore a strong resemblance to Jesus on the cross and was placed in the oven, to be there roasted with the three other lambs brought from the Temple.
The Paschal Lambs of the Jews were all immolated in the vestibule of the Temple, but in different parts, according as the persons who were to eat them were rich, or poor, or Strangers. The Paschal Lamb belonging to Jesus was not immolated in the Temple, but everything else was done strictly according to the law. Jesus again addressed his disciples, saying that the lamb was but a figure, that he himself would next day be the true Paschal Lamb, together with other things which I have forgotten.
When Jesus had finished his instructions concerning the Paschal Lamb and its signification, the time being come, and Judas also returned, the tables were set out. The disciples put on travelling dresses which were in the vestibule, different shoes, a white robe resembling a shirt, and a cloak, which was short in front and longer behind, their sleeves were large and turned back, and they girded up their clothes around the waist. Each party went to their own table; and two sets of disciples in the side rooms, and our Lord and his Apostles in the supper-room. They held staves in their hands, and went two and two to the table, where they remained standing, each in his own place, with the stave resting on his arms, and his hands upraised.
The table was narrow, and about half a foot higher than the knees of a man; in shape it resembled a horseshoe, and opposite Jesus, in the inner part of the half-circle, there was a space left vacant, that the attendants might be able to set down the dishes. As far as I can remember, John, James the Greater, and James the Less sat on the right-hand of Jesus; after them Bartholomew, and then, round the corner, Thomas and Judas Iscariot. Peter, Andrew, and Thaddeus sat on the left of Jesus; next came Simon, and then (round the corner) Matthew and Philip.
The Paschal Lamb was placed on a dish in the centre of the table. Its head rested on its front legs, which were fastened to a cross-stick, its hind legs being stretched out, and the dish was garnished with garlic. By the side there was a dish with the Paschal roast meat, then came a plate with green vegetables balanced against each other, and another plate with small bundles of bitter herbs, which had the appearance of aromatic herbs. Opposite Jesus there was also one dish with different herbs, and a second containing a brown-coloured sauce or beverage. The guests had before them some round loaves instead of plates, and they used ivory knives.
After the prayer, the major-domo laid the knife for cutting the lamb on the table before Jesus, who placed a cup of wine before him, and filled six other cups, each one of which stood between two Apostles. Jesus blessed the wine and drank, and the Apostles drank two together out of one cup. Then our Lord proceeded to cut up the lamb; his Apostles presented their pieces of bread in turn, and each received his share. They ate it in haste, separating the flesh from the bone, by means of their ivory knives, and the bones were afterwards burnt. They also ate the garlic and green herbs in haste, dipping them in the sauce. All this time they remained standing, only leaning slightly on the backs of their seats. Jesus broke one of the loaves of unleavened bread, covered up a part of it, and divided the remainder among his Apostles. Another cup of wine was brought, but Jesus drank not of it: ‘Take this,’ he said, ‘and divide it among you, for I will not drink from henceforth, of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father‘ (Matt. xxvi. 2 9). When they had drunk the wine, they sang a hymn; then Jesus prayed or taught, and they again washed their hands. After this they sat down.
Our Lord cut up another lamb, which was carried to the holy women in one of the buildings of the court, where they were seated at table. The Apostles ate some more vegetables and lettuce. The countenance of our Divine Saviour bore an indescribable expression of serenity and recollection, greater than I had ever before Seen. He bade the Apostles forget all their cares. The Blessed Virgin also, as she sat at table with the other women, looked most placid and calm. When the other women came up, and took hold of her veil to make her turn round and speak to them, her every movement expressed the sweetest self-control and placidity of spirit.
At first Jesus conversed lovingly and calmly with his disciples, but after a while he became grave and sad: ‘Amen, Amen, I say to you, that one of you is about to betray me:’ he said, ‘he that dippeth his hand with me in the dish‘ (Matt. xxvi. 21, 23). Jesus was then distributing the lettuce, of which there was only one dish, to those Apostles who were by his side, and be had given Judas, who was nearly opposite to him, the office of distributing it to the others. When Jesus spoke of a traitor, an expression which filled all the Apostles with fear, he said: ‘he that dippeth his hand with me in the dish,’ which means: I one of the twelve who are eating and drinking with me–one of those with whom I am eating bread.’ He did not plainly point out Judas to the others by these words; for to dip the hand in the same dish was an expression used to signify the most friendly and intimate intercourse. He was desirous, however, to give a warning to Judas, who was then really dipping his hand in the dish with our Saviour, to distribute the lettuce. Jesus continued to speak: ‘The Son of man indeed goeth,’ he said, ‘as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed: It were better for him if that man had not been born.’
The Apostles were very much troubled, and each one of them exclaimed: ‘Lord, is it I?’ for they were all perfectly aware that they did not entirely understand his words. Peter leaned towards John, behind Jesus, and made him a sign to ask our Lord who the traitor was to be, for, having so often been reproved by our Lord, he trembled lest it should be himself who was referred to. John was seated at the right hand of Jesus, and as all were leaning on their left arms, using the right to eat, his head was close to the bosom of Jesus. He leaned then on his breast and said: ‘Lord, who is it?’ I did not see Jesus say to him with his lips: ‘He it is to whom I shall reach bread dipped.’ I do not know whether he whispered it to him, but John knew it, when Jesus having dipped the bread, which was covered with lettuce, gave it tenderly to Judas, who also asked: ‘Is it I, Lord?’ Jesus looked at him with love, and answered him in general terms. Among the Jews, to give ‘bread dipped was a mark of friendship and confidence; Jesus on this occasion gave Judas the morsel, in order thus to warn him, without making known his guilt to the others. But the heart of Judas burned with anger, and during the whole time of the repast, I saw a frightful little figure seated at his feet, and sometimes ascending to his heart. I did not see John repeat to Peter what he had learned from Jesus, but he set his fears at rest by a look.
Institution of the Holy Eucharist.
By command of our Lord, the major-domo had again laid out the table, which he had raised a little; then, having placed it once more in the middle of the room, he stood one urn filled with wine, and another with water underneath it. Peter and John went into the part of the room near the hearth, to get the chalice which they had brought from Seraphia’s house, and which was still wrapped up in its covering. They carried it between them as if they had been carrying a tabernacle, and placed it on the table before Jesus. An oval plate stood there, with three fine white azymous loaves, placed on a piece of linen, by the side of the half loaf which Jesus had set aside during the Paschal meal, also a jar containing wine and water, and three boxes, one filled with thick oil, a second with liquid oil, and the third empty.
In earlier times, it had been the practice for all at table to eat of the same loaf and drink of the same cup at the end of the meal, thereby to express their friendship and brotherly love, and to welcome and bid farewell to each other. I think Scripture must contain something upon this subject.
On the day of the Last Supper, Jesus raised this custom (which had hitherto been no more than a symbolical and figurative rite) to the dignity of the holiest of sacraments. One of the charges brought before Caiphas, on occasion of the treason of Judas, was, that Jesus had introduced a novelty into the Paschal ceremonies, but Nicodemus proved from Scripture that it was an ancient practice.
Jesus was seated between Peter and John, the doors were closed, and everything was done in the most mysterious and imposing manner. When the chalice was taken out of its covering, Jesus prayed, and spoke to his Apostles with the utmost solemnity. I saw him giving them an explanation of the Supper, and of the entire ceremony, and I was forcibly reminded of a priest teaching others to say Mass.
He then drew a species of shelf with grooves from the board on which the jars stood, and taking a piece of white linen with which the chalice was covered, spread it over the board and shelf. I then saw him lift a round plate, which he placed on this same shelf, off the top of the chalice. He next took the azymous loaves from beneath the linen with which they were covered, and placed them before him on the board; then be took out of the chalice a smaller vase, and ranged the six little glasses on each side of it. Then he blessed the bread and also the oil, to the best of my belief, after which he lifted up the paten with the loaves upon it, in his two hands, raised his eyes, prayed offered, and replaced the paten on the table, covering it up again. He then took the chalice, had some wine poured into it by Peter, and some water, which he first blessed, by John, adding to it a little more water, which he poured into a small spoon, and after this he blessed the chalice, raised it up with a prayer, made the oblation, and replaced it on the table.
John and Peter poured some water on his hands, which he held over the plate on which the azymous loaves had been placed; then he took a little of the water which had been poured on his hands, in the spoon that be had taken out of the lower part of the chalice, and poured it on theirs. After this, the vase was passed round the table, and all the Apostles washed their hands in it. I do not remember whether this was the precise order in which these ceremonies were performed; all I know is, that they reminded me in a striking manner of the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
Meanwhile, our Divine Lord became more and more tender and loving in his demeanour; he told his Apostles that he was about to give them all that he had, namely, his entire self, and he looked as though perfectly transformed by love. I saw him becoming transparent, until he resembled a luminous shadow. He broke the bread into several pieces, which he laid together on the paten, and then took a corner of the first piece and dropped it into the chalice. At the moment when he was doing this, I seemed to see the Blessed Virgin receiving the Holy Sacrament in a spiritual manner, although she was not present in the supper-room. I do not know how it was done, but I thought I saw her enter without touching the ground, and come before our Lord to receive the Holy Eucharist; after which I saw her no more. Jesus had told her in the morning, at Bethania, that he would keep the Pasch with her spiritually, and he had named the hour at which she was to betake herself to prayer, in order to receive it in spirit.
Again he prayed and taught; his words came forth from his lips like fire and light, and entered into each of the Apostles, with the exception of Judas. He took the paten with the pieces of bread (I do not know whether he had placed it on the chalice) and said: ‘Take and eat; this is my Body which is given for you.’ He stretched forth his right hand as if to bless, and, whilst he did so, a brilliant light came from him, his words were luminous, the bread entered the mouths of the Apostles as a brilliant substance, and light seemed to penetrate and surround them all, Judas alone remaining dark. Jesus presented the bread first to Peter, next to John 1 and then he made a sign to Judas to approach. Judas was thus the third who received the Adorable Sacrament, but the words of our Lord appeared to turn aside from the mouth of the traitor, and come back to their Divine Author. So perturbed was I in spirit at this sight, that my feelings cannot be described. Jesus said to him: ‘That which thou dost, do quickly.’ He then administered the Blessed Sacrament to the other Apostles, who approached two and two.
Jesus raised the chalice by its two handles to a level with his face, and pronounced the words of consecration. Whilst doing so, he appeared wholly transfigured, as it were transparent, and as though entirely passing into what he was going to give his Apostles. He made Peter and John drink from the chalice which he held in his hand, and then placed it again on the table. John poured the Divine Blood from the chalice into the smaller glasses, and Peter presented them to the Apostles, two of whom drank together out of the same cup. I think, but am not quite certain, that Judas also partook of the chalice; he did not return to his place, but immediately left the supper-room, and the other Apostles thought that Jesus had given him some commission to do. He left without praying or making any thanksgiving, and hence you may perceive how sinful it is to neglect returning thanks either after receiving our daily food, or after partaking of the Life-Giving Bread of Angels. During the entire meal, I had seen a frightful little figure, with one foot like a dried bone, remaining close to Judas, but when he had reached the door, I beheld three devils pressing round him; one entered into his mouth, the second urged him on, and the third preceded him. It was night, and they seemed to be lighting him, whilst he hurried onward like a madman.
Our Lord poured a few drops of the Precious Blood remaining in the chalice into the little vase of which I have already spoken, and then placed his fingers over the chalice, while Peter and John poured water and wine upon them. This done, he caused them to drink again from the chalice, and what remained of its contents was poured into the smaller glasses, and distributed to the other Apostles. Then Jesus wiped the chalice, put into it the little vase containing the remainder of the Divine Blood, and placed over it the paten with the fragments of the consecrated bread, after which he again put on the cover, wrapped up the chalice, and stood it in the midst of the six small cups. I saw the Apostles receive in communion these remains of the Adorable Sacrament, after the Resurrection.
I do not remember seeing our Lord himself eat and drink of the consecrated elements, neither did I see Melchisedech, when offering the bread and wine, taste of them himself. It was made known to me why priests partake of them, although Jesus did not.
[Here Sister Emmerich looked suddenly up, and appeared to be listening. Some explanation was given her on this subject, but the following words were all that she could repeat to us: ‘If the office of distributing it had been given to angels, they would not have partaken, but if priests did not partake, the Blessed Eucharist would be lost– it is through their participation that it is preserved.’]
There was an indescribable solemnity and order in all the actions of Jesus during the institution of the Holy Eucharist, and his every movement was most majestic. I saw the Apostles noting things down in the little rolls of parchment which they carried on their persons. Several times during the ceremonies I remarked that they bowed to each other, in the same way that our priests do.
[resources: The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ]