Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Archive for November, 2008

A Summary… chpts 1-7

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on November 30, 2008

Greetings!: This is a continuation of an Advent reflection as seen from the eyes of the Mother of the Redeemer, the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Please refer to the first post in this series: INTRODUCTION if you are a first time reader.



ST BRIDGET OF SWEDEN: Know that is not for your own sake alone that I speak to you, but also for the salvation of all Christians…

VEN. MOTHER MARY OF AGREDA: Many mysteries pertaining to My Mother…are still hidden,…I desire to make known to mortals how much her intercession is worth…If men would seek to please Me…if they would all begin to solicit her intercession from their whole heart, the world would find some relief.”

SISTER ANNA CATHERINE EMMERICH: I give you these visions – and I have ever done so – to prove that I shall be with My Church till the end of days.  But visions alone sanctify no one; you must practice charity, patience, and all the other virtues.” (emphasis added)

Chapter 1: St. Anne and St. Joachim

BEFORE TIME BEGAN, the Holy Trinity decreed that one day, after the creation of the world and of man and after man’s fall, God the Son was to be born of a Virgin Mother.  In order that this Mother should be the purest human being who ever lived, Almighty God decreed that she was to be miraculously exempt from all stain of original sin…

St. Anne was born in Bethlehem of rich parents who owned many flocks of sheep and herds of cattle.  But they regularly gave away to the poor a large part of their possessions and kept very little for themselves.  After Anne’s birth they moved to a beautiful country estate… near Nazareth.


One day Anne happened to be praying fervently to God to give her a husband who would help her to live according to the Divine Law.  And at the very same moment on another farm near Nazareth and unusually pious middle-aged bachelor named Joachim was also praying for God’s help in choosing a wife.

When the prayers of St. Anne and St. Joachim were presented by the angels before the throne of the Blessed Trinity, God decreed that this pure couple should unite in marriage…

The Very next day, Joachim…went and asked Anne’s father for the hand of his daughter.  And soon the couple were solemnly wedded…St. Anne was about 24years at the time, and St. Joachim was 42 years.  They made their home on the estate of Anne’s father.

Each year they divided all their rents and income and sheep into three parts.  Then they gave one third to the Temple for God’s service, one third to the poor, and they kept only what was left.

In their home they frequently talked together about God and the coming of the Redeemer, for which they prayed long and fervently.  Both Anne and Joachim had been serious even in their youth.  Now as they matured, they made a distinguished and devout couple.

In His wisdom Almighty God proceeded to purify them still further by giving them a heavy cross to bear, a cross which only grew heavier as the years passed: they remained childless.  Among the Israelites in those times, this was considered not only the greatest misfortunes and disgrace (1Sam 1:5,7,10-11)… But they took these humiliations with patience and continued to pray that God might bless their marriage with children.  Seven years passed without an answer to their prayers.

Then one day when Joachim was offering his sacrifice in the temple, the priest rebuked and insulted him saying, “Why do you come here, Joachim?  Your offerings are not acceptable to the Lord!”  His face burning with shame, the poor man withdrew to a corner of the Temple and prayed: “O Lord, my sins merit this disgrace.  But as I accept it according to Thy will, do not cast me away…”

That evening St. Anne was sitting under a great tree in her garden reading prayers… begging God to send Joachim home and to let them have at least one child – she was now 44 years.  Then she prayed…for the coming of the Messiah.  Just then the Archangel Gabriel suddenly appeared before her in resplendent form:

“Anne, servant of God, the Lord has heard thy petitions.  If He delays in their fulfillment, it is in order to prepare thee and give to thee much more than thou has asked…He sends me to give thee joyful news: He chooses thee to be the mother of her who is to give birth to the Redeemer of mankind! … now go to the Temple to give thanks to the Lord, and [you] shall meet Joachim at the Golden Gate.”

This time the Holy Spirit moved the priests in the Temple to accept Joachim’s offerings courteously, and several of his friends congratulated him.  Then two priests led him to the Holy Place and left him alone after burning incense on the altar.

While Joachim prayed on his knees with his arms extended, a bright angel appeared and told him that this childlessness was not a disgrace but and honor; for the child who was to be born of his wife would be the most perfect flower of the race of Abraham.

Next the angel took him into the Holy of Holies, anointed his forehead, and gave him a certain mystic blessing which freed him from all sensuality.  Then he led him back to the Holy Place and vanished, as Joachim sank to the floor in an ecstatic trance.  Soon the priests found him thus and revived him with marks of respect…He told the priests that he wanted to meet his wife at the Golden Gate, and they showed him the way…

Thus it happened that near the Golden Gate St. Joachim suddenly perceived his beloved wife coming toward him, her beautiful face shining with joy.  They hastened toward each other and embraced with tender emotion… As they now renewed their vow to offer their child to His Temple, they seemed to be rapt in a holy ecstasy.  A cloud of heavenly light enfolded them, while a great number of angels hovered over them…Never had a human couple achieved such supernatural purity of soul.

Thus did Almighty God prepare and purify Mary’s good parents until the great day at last came when the glorious mystery of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God took place.

THE BLESSED VIRGIN SAID TO ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN: “It is a truth that I was conceived without original sin and not in sin.  A golden hour was my conception.  My Son joined my father and my mother in a marriage of such chastity that a purer union has never been seen.  Sensuality was extinguished in them.  Thus my flesh was formed through divine charity.”

What is this Advent “thing” really all about?…

But just what are we watching and waiting for? The fulfillment of God’s promises—the time when every tear will be wiped away and all pain and suffering will end (Revelation 21:4). For the time when we will be gathered around God’s throne, completely immersed in [His]love and filled to overflowing with [His] divine life. We’re not waiting just for Christmas; we’re waiting for the fulfillment of everything that Christmas beganJesus’ glorious return!

Rather than passively waiting, try to spend this Advent actively anticipating the Lord. Invite [Him] to meet you in prayer and at Mass. Look for [Him]in the face of a stranger—or a difficult family member. Let the sights, sounds, and smells of the season lift your imagination and give you a glimpse of the celebration that awaits you.

“Lord, I praise [You] for being so committed to our salvation! Give me the grace to keep watching and waiting for [You].”

Courtesy of Word among us publication: Meditation excerpt for Nov 30, 2008: First Sunday of Advent


Coming soon: Mary’s birth


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Posted by Anne Elizabeth on November 28, 2008

Greetings and Salutations to one and all!

In the next few weeks I will share with each of you excerpts from a beautiful book entitled, “The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics”.  It is compiled by Raphael Brown (no relation to the known heretic that shares the same last name…), and contains the visions as written/reported by St Elizabeth of Schoenau, St Bridget of Sweden, Ven Mother Mary of Agreda, and Sister Anna Catherine Emmerich.

These holy women all received private revelation from our Blessed Mother, and their revelations are approved by the Holy See.  I have used this book both in the classroom and during my own Advent and Lent meditations.  I have also recommended it to countless others as the material contained within does not contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church either in faith or morals.  Also, the revelation contained within is nothing “new”, but rather a further conformation of previous tradition.

As many know (or should know), the Catholic Church is not just scripture or just tradition, it is BOTH Scripture AND Tradition (Good Theology).  On that note, I refer to the forward, written by Rev. Edward A Ryan, S.J., for further information regarding private revelation and the Church’s position on the topic.  The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics, can be purchased online either new or used, first copy written ©1951, again by Raphael Brown.

The Forward (excerpts):

Mysticism, especially of the visionary type, has always been a subject of discussion in the Church.  Among its manifestations, some few have merited the approval of the prudent, others are looked upon as doubtful, while many have been rejected as false.  In certain cases the Church has intervened with a condemnation.

…in the case of holy people and when the supernatural character of the phenomena seems sufficiently guaranteed, caution is necessary…

Despite difficulties which are obvious to all who have had some experience in this thorny field, the Church has never been adverse to the prudent exploitation of the mystical writings of her saintly children.  Catholic doctrine on revelation is clear enough to supply the required safeguards (emphasis added).


The Church teaches as a revealed dogma (set in stone and cannot be re-interpreted by anyone!), that public revelation ceased with the death of the last Apostle (John), over eighteen hundred years ago.  The deposit of faith is complete.  No further revelation binding all will be forthcoming to the end of time:

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel
contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.” ~Gal 1:8

God’s revelation in and through His Son is FINAL.  The Church which possesses the fullness of this revelation can alone impose beliefs on the faithful at large and the Church imposes only such as are contained in the Holy Scripture AND in divine and Apostolic Tradition (emphasis ADDED).


The first law of new revelation is…that they cannot be really new.  They must agree with Holy Scripture AND Tradition, with morality AND the decisions of the Church.

St. Thomas Aquinas remarks that Catholic Faith “rests upon the revelation
made to the Apostles and the Prophets who wrote the canonical Scriptures
But not on a revelation, if any, made to others

The Church, in approving the mystical phenomena, affirms that there is nothing against faith or morals in the content of the revelations but does not guarantee their truth.  The possibility of error in the facts is not excluded (emphasis added).

In other words (Anne Elizabeth’s understanding):

That which is contained within this series, the private revelations of the aforementioned holy women, are approved by the Church in that they do not contradict Sacred Scripture or Apostolic Tradition.  They are also in line with the moral teaching of the Church founded by Jesus Christ, left to the care of Peter and his successors.  The writings contained within are worthy of reading and veneration by the faithful, but the faithful are not required to believe in them.  The faithful may read them as nice little stories, or they can choose to accept them as accurate facts, or they can even dismiss and ignore the writings all together.  I choose to accept them, hence why I am bringing them to my readers.

Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church.  They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help us to live more fully in our faith in our certain period of history.

Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or [His] saints to the Church. Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations.”~CCC§67

(i.e. Mormons, 7th Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc…)

Conclusion (from the forward):

We have scriptural testimony that Mary and Joseph had visions (Lk 1:26-37; 2:33-35; Mt1:20-24; 2:13-15, 19-23).  Their many years at Nazareth with Jesus were, in a sense, a long vision of surpassing grandeur which included much intimate revelation.  If we were to accept as true all the visions of the saints, we should still be obliged to judge that their favors, taken together, are not worthy to be compared with those of the Incomparable Virgin.

As St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the Doctor of the Church who was
pre-eminent in Mariology, declared, “What wonder is there if God,
Who is wonderful in His Saints, has shown Himself still more
wonderful in His Mother?”

It is true, of course, that our Blessed Lady, unlike her divine Son, did not have in this life the beatific visionShe lived, as we her children live, by faith.  Indeed she is the model and mistress of faith and of the faithful.  We must, however, admit that her faith was aided in many marvelous ways (preserved from the stain of original sin, the Mother of God)…we can readily believe that our loving Mother in heaven approves of devout writings long in use in the Church and rightly considered helpful in the spiritual struggle in which (we) all are engaged (emphasis added).

This work is to be read as a religious novel AND NOT as a fifth Gospel. Nevertheless, many Catholics and non-Catholics too will be very thankful for this pleasing compilation of vivid narratives of the Blessed Virgin’s life “as seen by” four great mystics of the [Catholic] Church (emphasis added).

Rev. Edward A. Ryan, S.J., 1951

Additional information and emphasis: Anne Elizabeth, B.A.Ed., M.A.The., 2008.

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