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SAINT THOMAS- Blessed Anna Katharina Emmerick Thomas' parents lived in Apheke, a town on the banks of a small river between Legio and Jezrael. The three cities, by their respective situation, …More
SAINT THOMAS- Blessed Anna Katharina Emmerick
Thomas' parents lived in Apheke, a town on the banks of a small river between Legio and Jezrael. The three cities, by their respective situation, figured like a cloverleaf. Apheke was crossed by a main road on which the merchants passed with their camels. Thomas' father was a trader and had interests in shipping the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea; he sent far away by this route the goods he bought from the caravans. Thomas had a twin brother, and their mother had died giving birth to them. Their father remarried and this second marriage gave Thomas a sister and two brothers. After the death of the father, the widow took another husband. This new couple was still very young, and Thomas was entrusted to a brother of his father who belonged to a sect and who brought him up harshly. As a result of the commerce which his parents and allies carried on, Thomas entered early into communication with foreigners, he became acquainted with Their customs and with their languages, and it is perhaps for this reason that he was later sent in the remote regions of India. His upbringing had given him a lot of self-confidence and he wanted proof of everything. He often changed professions; he occupied himself with navigation, commerce, and also gave himself up to fishing on the Sea of Galilee, where he entered for the first time into communication with those who were afterwards to be his colleagues in the apostolate. Later, he began to study at Saphet various branches of the sciences taught in Judea, and he attended the schools of the Pharisees without becoming a Pharisee himself. He then led a wandering life, residing sometimes with him, sometimes with Bartholomew and with Nathanael, who, I believe, got him a job as a scribe. Thomas was about three years older than Jesus. The Lord having gone to the temple towards his twentieth year, Thomas went there on his side and saw Jesus without however speaking to him. This trip was the occasion for a change in his way of being, because Thomas then entered into quite intimate relations with James the Minor who was Essene and remarkable for his piety: the latter told him many things touching Jesus, this which led him to a more serious and pious life. When Jesus reached his thirtieth year, Thomas was residing in Arimathea where he was working as a scribe: he heard of Jesus and John, however he did not believe at first. Three years after Jesus' journey to the country of the Magi, I saw Thomas arrive in this same country with the apostle Thaddeus, the disciples Kaïsar and Silvanus, the son of the centurion Achias of Giscala and two others: all baptized on this path that I see Jesus walking in my current visions. He did not take the route by which Jesus had come: he started from a more southern point. I saw him in the Mensor camp. They gave him a solemn reception, but less pompous than that given to Jesus, for these people had become simpler in their morals. I saw that everything had changed in their temple: there were no more idols, no more representation of the starry sky: but I saw again the little crib and there was still a donkey next to it. I also saw again the image of the Lamb of God and the altar with the chalice. I saw the baptism ceremony of Mensor, the other old king and the principal members of their family: there were about twelve of them. A large basin had been placed in front of the tent castle on the small fountain island and the water from the gushing fountain had flowed into it. The apostle blesses this water; those to be baptized bowed their heads overhead, and two of Thomas' companions laid their right hands on the shoulder of each of the neophytes. Thomas was holding a bouquet of foliage which he dipped in the basin and with which he threw water on the heads of the neophytes. Later, when several of them were baptized, it was they who laid hands on others. I saw successively baptize all those who lived there, including Cuppes and the other women. I saw during this baptism the Holy Spirit hovering or descending on the new Christians, in the form of a luminous winged body resembling a dove and an angel. NOTE: Anne Catherine saw the life of Saint Thomas on December 21, 1820, during the course of the visions mentioned above concerning the life of Jesus. I saw the bodies of the dead, especially that of one of the kings, lying in their tombs as before. I saw the branch planted in front of the door of the tomb of the latter and the dove perched on this branch, as I had already seen it. He had been dead for twelve years, for when Jesus came here, I heard that his death was nine years ago. I saw Thomas enter this tomb and, which I had not seen before, the apostle remove a kind of white mask from over his face.
which he washed with holy water. I don't live in that laying on of hands circumstance. The head was still covered with brownish skin. I saw again last night that after the baptism, a service of thanksgiving was celebrated, not in the temple, but in the open air in front of this building. I knew all the names and I forgot them: I only remember that Mensor received the name of Leander at baptism and Theokeno, the infirm old king, that of Leon. I also saw that later they left their residence to others who did not emigrate with them, that they left divided into three troops and that the one where the most considerable people were found arrived in an island where Dionysius the Areopagite resided for some time together with Carpus. I saw Thomas baptizing all the way and even in the pagan city of Cedar: however no one was baptized in that place in Chaldea where the closed garden was, any more than in the city where I see Jesus now (see page 91 ). I believe Thaddeus was baptized there later, when he went to Persia after Mary's death. When Thomas was at the end of his journey, he sent Thaddeus with a letter to King Abgar so that he healed him: the Lord had made known to him by a revelation the illness of this prince. Everywhere on his way, Thomas performed great miracles: he established catechists to instruct the inhabitants of the countries he had traveled through: he even left a disciple there. He himself continued his journey and went as far as Bactria. He penetrated very far into the north, beyond the point where China touches Russia, and there he found absolutely savage hordes. He was well received in Bactria and among the peoples who follow the teachings of the shining star (Zoroaster). He also went to Tibet. It was from distant lands beyond Bactria that Thomas brought with him, when he came to Ephesus for the death of Mary, that servant who had in his manners something so new to me, so strange, so servile. , but at the same time so docile and so pious. The country from which he came then was not, however, the most remote of those to which the apostolic pursuits of which I speak now led him. I always saw this servant with him afterwards. He could carry huge loads and he dragged large stones when Thomas was building a chapel. Later I saw Thomas not only in India but also in an island inhabited by black men and even in Japan, and I heard him make predictions about the future of religion in these countries. Thomas had some reluctance to leave for India. Before going there, he had often had dreams in which he saw himself building large and beautiful palaces in India. He did not understand this at first and did not take it into account, telling himself that he was not an architect. However, something always told him inside that he had to go to India, that he would make many conversions there and win many souls to God there: these were the beautiful palaces he was to build. He spoke about it to Pierre who encouraged him to leave for India. He skirted the coast of the Red Sea; he even went to the island of Socotora and preached there, but he did not stay there long. In the second city of India that Thomas visited, he found that preparations were being made for a great feast. He taught, healed the sick, and the king came to hear him and many other people. He made so many followers that a young priest of the idols conceived a great hatred for him and struck him in the face while he was preaching. Thomas showed himself full of gentleness, turned the other cheek and thanked him. This touched the king and all the people very much: they looked upon Thomas as a very holy man and the priest of the idols himself was converted. His hand was covered with leprosy, but Thomas healed him and he became his most faithful supporter. Thomas also converted the king's daughter and her demon-possessed husband, after which he left that country and went further east. The king's daughter having given birth to a child, her husband and they took a vow of chastity and gave all their goods to the poor. The king was very irritated and wanted to persuade them that Thomas was a magician: they nevertheless remained faithful to their resolution; they propagated everywhere the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ such as they had received it and converted many people. The father himself finally let himself be touched and begged Thomas to come back. He returned, for, on taking leave of them, he had told them that he would see them again soon. The king was baptized with a large part of his people: later he even became a deacon and went to the Magi. I believe he also received the priesthood. His son built a church. I saw Thomas in another town which was also by the sea and I saw that he was preparing to retrace his steps: I believe he was not there. in the country where Saint Francis Xavier went afterwards. But Jesus appeared to him and ordered him to go deeper into India. Thomas did not obey, taking as pretext that these people were too rude: then Jesus appeared to him for the second time and told him that he was fleeing from his face like Jonah of old, but that he had to obey: he promised him that he would be with him, that great wonders would be wrought by him, and that on the day of judgment he would be beside his master as a witness of what he had done for men. That's all I remember of that appearance. In the city where he was, a palace was to be built, everyone was obliged to work there. I saw many poor people who were given no salary: they were horribly oppressed and vexed. Thomas preached before this great multitude of workmen: the king also came to hear him more than once. As the apostle included in his teaching very beautiful parables concerning the art of building, the king took him for a very skilful architect: he entrusted him with the construction of the palace, gave him a large sum of money for this and left. for a trip. Thomas continued to teach and convert, and he gave the money to the poor who had previously been nearly starving. The king fell ill and wanted to know how the construction of the palace was progressing: but he was told that the work was progressing little, that the foreigner gave all the money to the poor, that he preached and baptized. Thomas was summoned to the king who reproached him deeply, but he replied that he had actually built a beautiful palace and that he had seen one like it (he meant the one he had seen in his dreams, when he had received for the first time the order to go and preach the Gospel in India): he added that the king could not see him because he was blind: "Give me back my sight" , said the king, and he asked Thomas to open his eyes by touching them with his fingers. The apostle answered that they were the eyes of the spirit and that if he wanted to do what he wanted, he would show him the building. Then Thomas described the holy Church and all the doctrine of Jesus as a magnificent edifice; then he ordered the king, in the name of Jesus, to get up healed and to come with him to the building that was being built. When they arrived there, they saw near there a large trunk of a tree which the sea had deposited there and which they had tried in vain to remove with a great number of camels. Thomas asked that this tree trunk be given to him to be used for the construction of a church, if he managed to remove it alone. The king having consented, Thomas took his belt, tied it to the tree and dragged him to the site where the church was to be built. This miracle converted many people and the king himself was baptized with a large part of his people. A light was then seen to shine on his head which spread from there on all the assistants. He also had a vision in which he saw in the form of a building the good works done by Thomas. The church that Thomas built in this place reminded me of the church of Saint Jacques in Coësfeld: I thought there was a resemblance. I saw Thomas leaving there accompanied by many people, healing, casting out demons and baptizing near a fountain. He told the people of the country to bring him their best loaves: then he blessed them and distributed them. There was a man there who, when he wanted to take his share, was attacked by a sudden illness and Thomas asked him what fault he had to blame himself for. He answered that having heard Thomas teach that adulterers would not enter the kingdom of God, he had surprised his wife in adultery and had killed her: and that he had thought to deliver himself from his sin by eating of this bread . But it was not his wife that he had killed, but a person with whom he had trade as well as several others and he had killed her out of jealousy. Thomas convinced this man of lies and made him understand how guilty he had been: then he healed him and made him do penance: he also resuscitated the woman, whereupon many people were converted. There also came a character of distinction, a very good and very learned man who always lived in the midst of books. He begged Thomas to help him. His wife and daughter were demon-possessed and frantic. They had previously lived in disorder and the husband having cursed them in his anger, the demon had taken possession of them. Thomas followed this man to his house where he found the two women in a frightful state: they pretended to throw themselves on him to tear him to pieces: but he tied their hands to a post with his belt, took a whip and knocked vigorously. They then kept perfectly quiet and Thomas gave this man permission to subject them to the same treatment every day. Later when fasting and scourging had made them quite manageable, the apostle drove out the filthy spirit that possessed them and converted them. This man became a zealous disciple of Thomas. He had a wonderfully beautiful and very wealthy niece who was married to a cousin of the king. She had heard of Thomas's miracles and longed to hear it. She reached him through the crowd and threw herself at his feet, begging him to convert her. Thomas instructed her and blessed her: she was very touched, burst into tears and from then on she devoted herself to prayer and continual fasting. Her husband, who loved her tenderly, was very upset and wanted to distract her, but she begged him to leave her free for a while longer. She went to hear Thomas preach every day and became a very zealous Christian. This irritated her husband, who appeared before the king dressed in mourning and lodged a complaint against Thomas. The king had the apostle scourged and imprisoned, whom the converted woman's husband had brought to him bound with cords. This was the first torture he had to undergo in the course of his long journeys and he gave thanks to God for it. The woman cut her hair, wept, prayed, gave all her property to the poor and renounced all kinds of adornment. The women of this country wore their hair curly, but those who made themselves Christians cut off a few curls to humble themselves. During her husband's absence she won the guards for money and went at night with others to be instructed by Thomas in the prison. His nurse accompanied him and they asked for baptism. Thomas told them to prepare everything for this purpose in his house: he left the prison to go find them and he baptized her, her and many others. The jailers had fallen asleep by an effect of divine goodness. Thomas came back before they woke up. There were in the royal family itself persons who changed their lives and had themselves instructed by the apostle: then the king had him brought before him. Thomas, having vainly urged him to convert, asked him to prove by the judgment of God the truth of his teachings. The king had spears reddened in the fire placed in front of him: Thomas walked on them without experiencing any harm and a spring sprang up at the place where they had been placed. Thomas told him that he himself had had doubts, which moreover he told everywhere, that he had seen the miracles of Jesus for three years and yet he had often doubted: that is why he believed now and had to mission to announce the truth to the infidels. He published his fault everywhere. The king then had him confined in a bathroom filled with burning steam (Anne Catherine describes this room with enough detail): he should have died there suffocating, but he felt no heat there and breathed an air still costs. He wanted after that to force him to adore his idol and Thomas said to him: "If Jesus does not break your idol, I will sacrifice to him". Preparations were then made for a great feast and all went to the temple with a procession of singers and players of instruments. The idol was made of gold and seated on a chariot, but Thomas having put himself in prayer, he shot from heaven like a bolt of fire which melted the main idol and shattered several others. There then arose a great uproar among the people and among the priests, and Thomas was again thrown into prison. He was delivered from this prison as Peter had been from his, and he went to an island where he remained a long time. Finally he embarked on a ship, but soon a storm broke out and they saw from afar a Japanese vessel stranded on a sand bank and exposed to the greatest dangers: it was lying on its side, unable to walk and already half filled with sand and water. Thomas said to the sailors who were driving him: "We have to go and help these people". They refused to do so in order not to expose themselves to the same perils. But Thomas said to them: "If you want to go and rescue them, my master, whom I have often seen commanding the waves, will clear the way for us towards this ship". When they had given their assent, Thomas prayed and commanded the waves in the name of Jesus: then the sea calmed down before them and they arrived near the ship without difficulty. Thomas worked with the others to lighten her, get her out of the sand and put her back afloat. It was not badly damaged and when everything was put back in order, the commander of this ship who had learned of the miracle worked by Thomas and the charity he had shown, asked him to come with him to Japan. But the people on the other ship would not let him go until the Japanese had promised to bring him back himself. Thomas left disciples in the country he was leaving to continue his teaching, and he left with this man for Japan, where he remained for about six months. They entered with their building into the interior heart of a city: it is built in a triangle on each bank of the river or canal that crosses it and can be circumnavigated by water. NOTE: She gave the name of this Japanese city, but without being quite sure: this name would be Kivivia. Behind the city rise at the water's edge towers and walls or ramparts built of stones of a brilliant black. Before re-embarking, Thomas engraved a prophecy on these walls: he used for this an instrument which was used on the ship and with which one could split the stone. The letters were very large and each one was a whole word. It was an abrogation of the Christian doctrine: he added that it had been preached in this place. but that she would disappear without leaving almost a trace: that then another would come and revive her, but she would disappear again. He also told why things would happen this way and announced that the inhabitants of the country would close it entirely to foreigners. There were, however, to come there half-Christian people by means of whom some vestiges of Christianity would be preserved: then finally the Japanese were to receive the doctrine of truth again. I saw all this in great detail: names of emperors and place names were shown to me, but I forgot them. This inscription was engulfed in an earthquake with the cross that was carved above it. Anne Catherine said something more about the character of the Japanese, and said that at that time they were already very methodical, very curious and very passionate. She also indicated the causes of the apostasy, but in unclear terms. She believed that the Jesuits had been preceded in Japan by other missionaries, and she spoke rather vaguely of people to whom she attributed the ruin of Christianity in the country. In recounting the above relating to the Japanese ship and its commander, she said: "He is not a merchant, he is only in charge of the regular transport of goods: he makes this trip every year. I had forgotten it: but now I see all this together with the ship, the inscription and the city: that is why I can speak of it." This man took Thomas back to where he had come from. Several members of the royal family later converted. The priests were singularly irritated against him. One of them had a sick son whom he begged Thomas to heal: but then he strangled that son and blamed Thomas for his death. Thomas had the corpse brought and ordered him in the name of Jesus to say who had put him to death. The dead man sat up and answered: "It is my father"; which gave rise to many other conversions. I saw that Thomas usually prayed in front of the city at a considerable distance from the sea; he was kneeling on a stone and his knees had left their imprint there. He predicted once that when the sea, which was however very far away, would reach this stone, there would come from a very distant country a man who would also preach the doctrine of Jesus. I could not imagine that the sea would come that far, but afterwards Saint Francis Xavier landed in this place and erected a stone cross there. I saw Thomas kneeling on this stone where he was praying, rapt in ecstasy, when the priests of the idols came to attack him and pierced him from behind with a spear. His body was transported to Edessa: I saw a feast celebrated in his honor there. Yet there remained at the place of his martyrdom one of his ribs with the spear that had pierced him. There was near the stone a young olive tree which was sprinkled with its blood: I saw that it oozed oil from it every year on the day of his martyrdom and that, when that did not happen, the people of the country expected an unhappy year. I saw that the idolaters tried in vain to uproot this l shrub which always grew back, that a church was built there, and that when they celebrated holy mass on the feast day of the apostle, the shrub had a oil seepage. The town is called Méliapour: it is in a sad state today, but Christianity will flourish there again. I learned that Thomas had arrived at the age of ninety-three. He was very dark, very thin and he had reddish hair. At the time of his death the Lord appeared to him and told him that he would sit with him on the day of judgment. He passed through a corner of Germany: if I am not mistaken as regards his numerous journeys, he went to Egypt immediately after the separation of the apostles, then to Arabia: before arriving in the desert, he had sent a disciple to the apostle Thaddeus to tell him to go and visit King Abgar. He then baptized the Magi, then he went to Bactria, China, Tibet and even to a country which today is part of the Russian Empire: it was from there that he returned for the death of Mary. He then left the Promised Land. first in Italy, passed through a corner of Germany, crossed part of Switzerland and France, passed through Africa, arrived through Abyssinia near the country where Judith resides, and reached Socotora by way of Ethiopia. From there he went to India and to Meliapour, where he was delivered from his prison by an angel; went overland to China, crossing part of it and penetrating to the far north, now subject to Russia. From there he passed into the principal of the islands of Japan, in the center of which rise mountains of extraordinary height. (Anne Catherine then described the configuration of the island of Jesso or Matsmai and indicated the situation of the other islands and of the surrounding countries: she traced the contours with her finger on the cover of her bed, and that on lines as fixed as those of the best-cut pattern.) Thomas had a half-sister named Lysia. His eldest brother (himself the younger of two twins) traded in Joppa: Pierre, during his stay in that city after the Ascension, persuaded him to join the Christian community; he succeeded above all in telling her of Thomas's incredulity and what had been the result. After the death of the Savior, Thomas had spent some time with his family: he reads the same before his departure for India. Thomas' brother was a tall man; he went with Peter to Damascus. Lysia was not converted until the time of Stephen's martyrdom. She was a rich widow: she gave her property to the community and met with the holy women in Jerusalem. Later his two sons were among the disciples.