I know this post is a little late this morning, but after reading Today’s Gospel, my mind went immediately to the reflections of Blessed Anne Emmerich; I wanted to share her vision with you today. It is in regard to Jesus commissioning the Apostles for their mission – His mission. I posted her book in yesterday’s post and I would strongly urge you to find these reflections on line and read them daily throughout Lent. They are truly inspirational. This is her vision regarding the “Private Instructions and Consecrations”…
Private Instructions and Consecrations
Jesus gave his Apostles some private instructions; he told them how they were to preserve the Blessed Sacrament in memory of him, even to the end of the world; he taught them the necessary forms for making use of and communicating it, and in what manner they were, by degrees, to teach and publish this mystery; finally he told them when they were to receive what remained of the consecrated Elements, when to give some to the Blessed Virgin, and how to consecrate, themselves, after he should have sent them the Divine Comforter. He then spoke concerning the priesthood, the sacred unction, and the preparation of the Chrism and Holy Oils.* He had there three boxes, two of which contained a mixture of oil and balm. He taught them how to make this mixture, what parts of the body were to be anointed with them, and upon what occasions. I remember, among other things, that he mentioned a case in which the Holy Eucharist could not be administered; perhaps what he said had reference to Extreme Unction, for my recollections on this point are not very clear. He spoke of different kinds of anointing, and in particular of that of kings, and he said that even wicked kings who were anointed, derived from it especial powers. He put ointment and oil in the empty box, and mixed them together, but I cannot say for certain whether it was at this moment, or at the time of the consecration of the bread, that he blessed the oil.
*It was not without surprise that the editor, some years after these things had been related by Sister Emmerich, read, in the Latin edition of the Roman Catechism (Mayence, Muller), in reference to the Sacrament of Confirmation, that, according to the tradition of the holy Pope Fabian, Jesus taught his Apostles in what manner they were to prepare the Holy Chrism, after the institution of the Blessed Sacrament. The Pope says expressly, in the 54th paragraph of his Second Epistle to the Bishops of the East: ‘ Our predecessors received from the Apostles and delivered to us that our Saviour Jesus Christ, after having made the Last Supper with his Apostles and washed their feet, taught them how to prepare the Holy Chrism. ‘
I then saw Jesus anoint Peter and John, on whose hands he had already poured the water which had flowed on his own, and to whom he had given to drink out of the chalice. Then he laid his hands on their shoulders and heads, while they, on their part, joined their hands and crossed their thumbs, bowing down profoundly before him—I am not sure whether they did not even kneel. He anointed the thumb and fore-finger of each of their hands, and marked across on their heads with Chrism. He said also that this would remain with them unto the end of the world.
James the Less, Andrew, James the Greater, and Bartholomew, were also consecrated. I saw likewise that on Peter’s bosom he crossed a sort of stole worn round the neck, whilst on the others he simply placed it crosswise, from the right shoulder to the left side. I do not know whether this was done at the time of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, or only for the anointing.
I understood that Jesus communicated to them by this unction something essential and supernatural, beyond my power to describe. He told them that when they should have received the Holy Spirit they were to consecrate the bread and wine, and anoint the other Apostles. It was made known to me then that, on the day of Pentecost, Peter and John imposed their hands upon the other Apostles, and a week later upon several of the disciples. After the Resurrection, John gave the Adorable Sacrament for the first time to the Blessed Virgin. This event was solemnised as a festival among the Apostles. It is a festival no longer kept in the Church on earth, but I see it celebrated in the Church triumphant. For the first few days after Pentecost I saw only Peter and John consecrate the Blessed Eucharist, but after that the others also consecrated.
Our Lord next proceeded to bless fire in a brass vessel and care was taken that it should not go out, but it was kept near the spot where the Blessed Sacrament had been deposited, in one division of the ancient Paschal hearth, and fire was always taken from it when needed for spiritual purposes.
All that Jesus did upon this occasion was done in private, and taught equally in private. The Church has retained all that was essential of these secret instructions, and, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, developed and adapted them to all her requirements.
Whether Peter and John were both consecrated bishops, or Peter alone as bishop and John as priest, or to what dignity the other four Apostles were raised, I cannot pretend to say. But the different ways in which our Lord arranged the Apostles’ stoles appear to indicate different degrees of consecration.
When these holy ceremonies were concluded, the chalice (near which the blessed Chrism also stood) was recovered, and the Adorable Sacrament carried by Peter and John into the back part of the room, which was divided off by a curtain, and from thenceforth became the Sanctuary. The spot where the Blessed Sacrament was deposited was not very far above the Paschal stove. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took care of the Sanctuary and of the supper-room during the absence of the Apostles.
Jesus again instructed his Apostles for a considerable length of time, and also prayed several times. He frequently appeared to be conversing with his Heavenly Father, and to be over flowing with enthusiasm and love. The Apostles also were full of joy and zeal, and asked him various questions which he forthwith answered. The scriptures must contain much of this last discourse and conversation. He told Peter and John different things to be made known later to the other Apostles, who in their turn were to communicate them to the disciples and holy women, according to the capacity of each for such knowledge. He had a private conversation with John, whom he told that his life would be longer than the lives of the others. He spoke to him also concerning seven Churches, some crowns and angels, and instructed him in the meaning of certain mysterious figures, which signified, to the best of my belief, different epochs. The other Apostles were slightly jealous of this confidential communication being made to John.
Jesus spoke also of the traitor. ‘Now he is doing this or that,’ he said, and I, in fact, saw Judas doing exactly as he said of him. As Peter was vehemently protesting that he would always remain faithful, our Lord said to him: ‘Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren.’
Again, our Lord said, that whither he was going they could not follow him, when Peter exclaimed: ‘Lord, I am ready to go with thee both into prison and to death.’ And Jesus replied: ‘ Amen, amen, I say to thee, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.’
Jesus, while making known to his Apostles that trying times were at hand for them, said: ‘When I sent you without purse, or scrip, or shoes, did you want anything? ‘ They answered: ‘Nothing.’ ‘But now,’ he continued, ‘ he that hath a purse let him take it, and likewise a scrip, and he that hath not, let him sell his coat and buy a sword. For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: AND WITH THE WICKED WAS HE RECKONED. For the things concerning me have an end.’ The Apostles only understood his words in a carnal sense, and Peter showed him two swords, which were short and thick, like cleavers. Jesus said: ‘ It is enough: let us go hence.’ Then they sang the thanksgiving hymn, put the table on one side, and went into the vestibule.
There, Jesus found his Mother, Mary of Cleophas, and Magdalen, who earnestly besought him not to go to Mount Olivet, for a report had spread that his enemies were seeking to lay hands on him. But Jesus comforted them in few words, and hastened onward—it being then about nine o’clock. They went down the road by which Peter and John had come to the supper-room, and directed their steps towards Mount Olivet.
I have always seen the Pasch and the institution of the Blessed Sacrament take place in the order related above. But my feelings were each time so strongly excited and my emotion so great, that I could not give much attention to all the details, but now I have seen them more distinctly. No words can describe how painful and exhausting is such a sight as that of beholding the hidden recesses of hearts, the love and constancy of our Saviour, and to know at the same time all that is going to befall him. How would it be possible to observe all that is merely external! the heart is overflowing with admiration, gratitude, and love—the blindness of men seems perfectly incomprehensible—and the soul is overwhelmed with sorrow at the thought of the ingratitude of the whole world, and of her own sins!
The eating of the Paschal Lamb was performed by Jesus rapidly, and in entire conformity with all the legal ordinances. The Pharisees were in the habit of adding some minute and superstitious ceremonies.
Do something great for our Lord today – spend sometime in prayer and quiet reflection on what you find your mission for our Lord to be…
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.
Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.
But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.