Anne Catherine Emmerich was told by Our Lord that her gift of seeing the past, present, and future in mystic vision was greater than that possessed by anyone else in history. Born at Flamske in Westphalia, Germany, on September 8, 1774, she became a nun of the Augustinian Order at Dulmen. She had the use of reason from her birth and could understand liturgical Latin from her first time at Mass. During the last 12 years of her life, she could eat no food except Holy Communion, nor take any drink except water, subsisting entirely on the Holy Eucharist. From 1802 until her death, she bore the wounds of the Crown of Thorns, and from 1812, the full stigmata of Our Lord, including a cross over her heart and the wound from the lance.
Anne Catherine Emmerich possessed the gift of reading hearts, and she saw, in actual, visual detail, the facts of Catholic belief which most of us simply have to accept on faith. The basic truths of the catechism--angels, devils, Purgatory, the life of Our Lord and the Blessed Mother, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the grace of the Sacraments--all these truths were as real to her as the material world. Her revelations make the hidden, supernatural world come alive. Below are some of the most enthralling of these revelations:
"The Church is the only one, the Roman Catholic! And if there were left upon earth but one Catholic, he would be the one, universal Church, the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ against which the gates of Hell shall never prevail."
"Then I had the sweet assurance that Mary is the Church; the Church, our mother; God, our father; and Jesus, our brother."
"O who can tell the beauty, the purity, the innocence of Mary! She knows everything, and yet she seems to know nothing, so childlike is she. She lowers her eyes and, when she looks up, her glance penetrates like a ray, like a pure beam of light, like truth itself! It is because she is perfectly innocent, full of God, and without returns upon self. None can resist her grace."
"All over the world I saw numberless infusions of the Spirit; sometimes, like a lightning-stroke, falling on a congregation in church, and I could tell who among them had received the grace; or again, I beheld individuals praying in their homes, suddenly endowed with light and strength. The sight awoke in me great joy and confidence that the Church, amid her ever-increasing tribulations, will not succumb; for in all parts of the world I saw defenders raised up to her by the Holy Ghost. Yes, I felt that the oppression of the powers of this world serves but to increase her strength."
"There is no created good so lightly esteemed, so carelessly trifled away by an immense majority of human beings as the fugitive moments of this short life so rapidly flying toward eternity."
"Man's value before God is estimated by the dispositions of his heart, its uprightness, its good-will, its charity, and not by keenness of intellect or extent of knowledge."
"If the Church is true, all in her is true; he who admits not the one, believes not the other."
"What the Pilgrim [Clement Brentano, her self-appointed secretary] gathers he will bear far away, for here there is no desire to have it. But it will produce fruit where he goes, and that same fruit will one day return and make itself felt even here."
"I was again told [by Our Lord] that no one has ever seen all that I have seen or in the same way."
"From the lips of those that pray I see a chain of words issuing like a fiery stream and mounting up to God, and in them I see the disposition of the one who prays, I read everything. The writing is as varied as the individuals themselves."
"I saw Adam's bones reposing in a cavern under Mt. Calvary deep down, almost to water level, and in a straight line beneath the spot on which Jesus Christ was crucified."
"Mass badly celebrated is an enormous evil. Ah! it is not a matter of indifference how it is said! . . . I have had a great vision on the mystery of Holy Mass and I have seen that whatever good has existed since creation is owing to it."
"Were man and the earth in perfect harmony, there would be paradise here below. Prayer governs the weather . . . I see the life of nature intimately connected with that of the soul."
"She said what is most painful for me to repeat, that if only one priest offered the Unbloody Sacrifice as worthily and with the same sentiments as the Apostles, he could ward off all calamities from the Church."
"I can never grieve for a person who dies resignedly, nor for a child suffering patiently; for patient suffering is the most enviable state of man."
"Now, for all who are not in living union with Jesus Christ by faith and grace, nature is full of Satan's influence."
"Owing to the spirit of the world and tepidity, if the Savior returned to earth today to announce His doctrine in person, He would find as many opponents as He did among the Jews."
"Now I saw clearly by this that the dear God looks only at the heart in time of prayer."
"No grace, no degree of sanctity surpasses in intrinsic dignity and grandeur the sacerdotal [priestly] character."
"The poor souls suffer inexpressibly."
"Many stay a long time in purgatory who, although not great sinners, have lived tepidly."
"The prayer most pleasing to God is that made for others and particularly for the poor souls. Pray for them, if you want your prayers to bring high interest."