" I am not a priest and cannot bless them, but all that the heart of a mother can ask of God for her children, I ask of Him and will never cease to ask Him." ~ Sister Marie
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Father Poulin didn’t intend to read all of the Catherine Emmerich book, until he started and made the startling discovery of how well and simple it was written. Then he finally convinced his colleagues and they were all interested in Ephesus and Mary’s house.
Father Poulin, satisfied with his good decision about reading the book, opened it, then became ashamed. “I didn’t wish to be seen with this book in my hands!” So he stood by the corner of the table ready to throw it down if somebody should knock on his door.
“I read the foreword first . . . Let us go on! . . . then the preface, then the third . . . a note concerning Catherine Emmerich. Here we are! I started to read this note slowly, looking for some stupidities or extravagances.
“You can imagine my surprise! It was something very pious, very simple, all conforming to good sense; I was astonished! There was sweetness, words and style which invaded you slowly, going straight to your heart.”
He read on, charmed by the text when the big bell rang. “What! Seven o’clock already!” He had been reading for an hour and was thrilled. He left the book open, placed it on the table and left for the church. At eight o’clock, he was back, took up the book again and began reading. This time, he didn’t hide. He read the note on Catherine Emmerich until the end with delight in everything he was reading and everything he was learning . . . but he still wasn’t a convert.
Following the note there was a title in big black letters: The Suffering Passion of Jesus Christ according to Catherine Emmerich. When he looked at the title, all his repugnancy returned. But this time, Father Poulin overcame it. He turned the page; continued reading. “I had never read anything so pious, so beautiful, so interesting about our Lord’s Passion . . . except the gospel. I wasn’t reading,” he said. “I was devouring the pages.”
Father Poulin was anxious to share his unexpected illumination. Only his colleagues didn’t agree with him and they let out a loud sigh of disagreement.
“But do read it,” Father Poulin answered. “Read and you will see.”
“Me . . . reading things like that,” one replied. “I have no time to waste!”
“If I read it,” a fourth associate said “I must go to confession.”
And the jokes continued. Everyone laughed. Father Poulin was alone against the opposition and despite his arguments, his exhortations, he failed to convince them.
From that time on, each evening or during recreation, or occasionally because of his reading or because of some reflection, there were amicable arguments.
Finally, one evening in early January 1891, the group eagerly argued about Catherine Emmerich. One of the elders, Father Dubulle said, “Mother Superior; I was like you, unbelieving, and without any will to read. But then I read it and now I believe what it says.”
“Oh! I don’t believe it at all,” Father Poulin quickly responded. “But I agree, it is very simple, very pious, very right and very interesting.”
“Have you read the Holy Virgin’s Life?” Father Dubulle asked Father Poulin.
“No . . . I don’t know if it exists.”
“Would you like to read it?”
Father Poulin looked at Father Dubulle for a few moments. “Of course . . . with pleasure.”
Father Dubulle left the room and a few minutes later, returned holding a small book bound in black entitled: “The Holy Mary’s life according to the visions of Catherine Emmerich translated from German by the Abbe Calzales,” etc.
Father Poulin took the book and started to read it like he did the suffering passion of Jesus, with a delicious feeling. There was that same piety, simplicity, the same rectitude, the same attractive unction and the same interesting facts and sayings.
As he read the last chapters where Catherine Emmerich wrote about Mary’s stay at Ephesus, her house, her death and her grave, he exclaimed, “What’s this? I had never thought in my life of Jerusalem or Ephesus, or of Ephesus more than Jerusalem! I had never had the opportunity of any revelation!”
Meanwhile, the question was transformed and full of interest for all of them. They were in Smyrna and thus interested in Ephesus.
During the first recreation, Father Poulin loudly announced his discovery to everyone. “Hey . . . all of you, listen, listen to me! I’ve found the answer!”
Thus, the discussions started again but with more passion than before. For the next weeks and months, it was the primary topic of their conversations.
Then, by common agreement, they adopted a resolution: “It’s quite easy,” one said. “We can go and see if it’s true or it isn’t. If it’s true, we have to accept the evidence; if it’s not true then we finish with Catherine Emmerich; she will be considered to be only a visionary, thus nobody will speak about her anymore.”
Segment 11: After several discussions, Father Poulin and his colleagues come to a decision: go to Ephesus.
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