PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
One of the hopeful signs of our times, despite a spirit of worldliness and polite sensualism, is the growing interest which is being manifested in the study of the lives of the mystics. It is evidence of how far the Church of God has lifted society out of the dross of materialism, when her great heroes and heroines of virtue, whose hearts were so unreservedly and passionately set upon things not of this earth, and never appealing to anything but the highest and noblest in their fellow men, are receiving a recognition so sincere and so profound.
Nor is this recognition confined to the children of the " household of the faith." The " mystical " literature of the Catholic Church is read by a great number of non-Catholics who are engaged in a sincere earch after truth. The writer has in mind the testimony of more than one devout convert, who owes the first dawning of the Light to the reading of the life of a saint.
And this is but natural. The blending of the potential perfections of heaven with the actual experiences of earth, so impressively illustrated in the lives of the saints, brings the well disposed mind into such close touch with the supernatural, that all worldly concerns appear dwarfed and pale. The tree is judged by its fruit, and the conclusion is, that a church which can produce such exalted characters must have within her the divinity of the Gospel and the truth as it has been revealed by Jesus Christ.
Considering these facts, it is with joy and edification we hail this second English edition of the life of Anne Catherine Emmerich. Already her name is well known to the whole Catholic world. When the record of the wonderful visions accorded her first appeared, it provoked a great deal
of adverse criticism. But time, which is the one great test of genuineness, has caused that adverse criticism to disappear and to give way to the highest approval.
An illustrious evidence of this fact is shown by the following letter from a canon of the Cathedral of Loybach, Bavaria : "At first I did not believe Catherine Emmerich's statements. I wondered how the Bishop of Limbourg could approve the publication of such a book. I went to work to find out all the falsehoods she was telling, and to my surprise, I found that in the light of tradition, geography, topography, and history, Anne Catherine Emmerich knew more than all our so-called savants. After Holy Scripture, there is no book that contains so many words of eternal truth and life than the revelations of A. C. Emmerich."
To this we must add the testimony of the eminent theologian, Dr. Rohling, who writes in an Appendix to his Medulla Theologica Moralis : " I cannot refrain from adding my voice of commendation to that of all who have written on the life and visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich, and I earnestly commend them.
I desire to mention in particular her visions on the Life and Passion of Our Lord, since I am convinced that every priest who studies them will be so inflamed with zeal for souls and longing for his own salvation, that it will be impossible for him to be lost. He will find Our Lord therein portrayed in colors so lively, and he will receive so clear a perception of His goodness, that he will gladly renounce all worldly pleasure, and daily participate in a new outpouring of God's Holy Spirit, thus becoming ever fatter to move the hearts of worldlings and lead them to penance."
A perusal of the Life of Catherine Emmerich makes one appreciate these impressive words of Dr. Rohling. Her visions bring before the mind so vivid a realization of the mission and Passion of Our Redeemer that, when the reader finishes his study of them, he feels conscious of having undergone an unusual influence, and he is moved to voice his feelings in the exclamation of the two who met the Saviour on the way to Emmaus : " Was not our heart burning within us whilst He spoke in the way, and opened to us the Scriptures ? "
To learn the life of Our Divine Lord, is the chief study of every Christian. Catherine Emmerich is a notable aid to the performance of this duty. It was a commendable thought of the translator to place this work at the disposal of English readers, for whatever tends to bring the soul into close
union with the Saviour is of supreme value.
We read in the Gospels that a diseased woman once pressed through the crowd, touched the hem of the Master's garment, and by the power of her faith was immediately healed. Is not the loyal disciple, who gets still near enough to touch Him in spirit and draw forth the inspiring virtue He delivers, made spiritually whole ?
This is the mission of Catherine Emmerich — to bring souls into touch with Christ. And in a day like ours, when so many hearts are waxing cold, and a spirit of irreligion seems to sway the minds of multitudes, who will deny that the mission of Anne Catherine Emmerich is a blessing to the world ?
All admirers of this great servant of God received with grateful hearts the blessed tidings that the process for her Beatification had actually begun in Rome. We pray that the day is not far distant when the Church will enroll her name in the list of saints. One thing is certain : we may safely venture the opinion that the influence she has had upon the history of the Church in the nineteenth century will increase as the years roll by, and continue till time is no more.
Despite all that the haters of the Christian religion may say — and they are saying much that is blasphemous — the memory of Jesus and His Passion will endure to the end. Ah, how little did Pilate dream, as he led Him out, bleeding from the degradation of the scourge, and said to the multitude, " Behold the man ! " — how little did the infuriated mob dream that the voice of that silent sufferer would thrill the world forever, and the image of Him crucified would melt the heart of all posterity.
nimated by a very different spirit from that which filled the soul of the worldly-ambitious Pilate, Anne Catherine Emmerich cries out to us, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world ! "
This work will no doubt, now and then, meet with half-veiled sneers and cynical warnings from those that cannot appreciate its merits. But it is comforting to know that such criticism will in no way lessen its effect upon those elect souls who are seeking encouragement and enlightenment in a life of prayer. And He who, while on earth, breathed such divinity of tenderness, such inexhaustible magnanimity of forbearing pity and love toward all men ; who from His throne in Heaven is now willing to give the pearl of great price purchased with His Precious Blood to the lowest child of humanity ; who in the agony of death on Calvary's Cross yearned over the broken malefactor by His side with the promise of Paradise, will not fail to bless and enlighten all who, in a rightful spirit, study the life and revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich.
A word, in conclusion, as to the work of the translator. She has succeeded in producing a work that reads as if it had been originally written in English. One may say that she has literally put her heart into it. It ranks among the most valuable productions of the Catholic press, and none will read it without profit.
T. A. D.
Feast of St. Monica,— 1903.
T. A. D.