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Anne Catherine Emmerich on Joseph’s Search for Lodging

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich’s mysterious visions have been a subject of ongoing discussion in the Catholic Church. When she was beatified in 2004 by Pope John Paul II, the authenticity of the transcriptions of her visions was thoroughly investigated. Interestingly, her beatification was based on grounds completely apart from the writings associated with her.

These visions have continued to fascinate believers for generations—even the 2003 film The Passion of the Christ was inspired by Emmerich’s vivid visions of Jesus’ crucifixion. We may never be able to prove or disprove these private revelations to Emmerich, but one thing is certain: these accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion and Mary’s life  will draw you you to a closer devotion to the Holy family.


THEY then entered into Bethlehem, in which the houses were separated from each other by considerable spaces. They entered across some rubbish and by a gate which was fallen into decay. Mary remained quietly with the ass at the end of the street, and Joseph searched in vain for a lodging in the first houses, for there were many strangers in Bethlehem and many people were running here and there. He returned to Mary and told her that he could find nowhere to lodge there, and that they must go on further into the city. He led the ass by the bridle whilst the Blessed Virgin walked by his side. When they were come to the end of another street Mary remained again near the ass while Joseph went from house to house without being able to find one where they would receive him. He soon returned very much troubled. This was repeated several times, and sometimes the Blessed Virgin had a long time to wait: everywhere the place was taken up, everywhere he was repulsed, and he ended by telling Mary that they must go to another part of Bethlehem, where they would be sure to find what they wanted. They then retraced their steps in the direction contrary to that which they had taken in coming when they turned to the south. They then passed through a street which seemed rather a country road as the houses were isolated and on slight elevations.

Arrived at the other side of Bethlehem, where the houses were still more scattered, they found a large empty space situated in a hollow; it was like a deserted field in the city. There was there a kind of shed, and a short distance from it a large tree, like a lime tree, with a smooth trunk, whose branches extended widely and formed a kind of roof over it. Joseph led the Blessed Virgin to this tree; he arranged a convenient seat for her with bundles at the foot of the trunk, in order that she might rest whilst he sought again for a lodging in the neighbouring houses. The ass stood still with its head turned towards the tree. Mary remained at first standing, leaning against the trunk of the tree. Her robe of white wool had no belt, and fell about her in folds; her head was covered with a white veil. Many persons passed by and looked at her, not knowing that their Saviour was so near them. How patient, humble, and resigned she was. She had to wait a long time, and at last she sat down upon the rugs, her hands joined on her breast, and with her head bowed down. Joseph returned to her in great trouble: he had not found a lodging. The friends of whom he had spoken to the Blessed Virgin would scarcely notice him. He shed tears, and Mary consoled him. He went again from house to house; but as, in order the more to induce them to consent, he had spoken of the near approach of his wife’s confinement, this drew upon him a more distinct refusal.

The place was solitary; but in the end some people passing by looked from a distance with curiosity, as is usual if any one is seen remaining a long time in the same place towards the close of the day. I believe that some of them spoke to Mary and asked her who she was. At last Joseph returned; he was so much troubled that he hardly dare come near her. He told her it was of no use, but that he knew further on in the city a spot where the shepherds often stayed when they came to Bethlehem with their flocks, and that they would find there at least a shelter. He knew the place from his youth: when his brothers tormented him he had often retired there to escape from their persecutions. He said if the shepherds came there he could easily arrange with them, but that they were rarely here at this season of the year. He added, when they were quietly settled he would make further inquiries. They then went away by the eastern side of Bethlehem, following a deserted path which turned to the left. It was a road like one which is found in walking by the side of the dilapidated walls, ditches, and fortifications of a small city in ruins. The road at first rose a little, it then descended the slope of a small hill, and led them a few minutes to the east of Bethlehem, before the place they were seeking, near a hill or an old rampart, in front of which stood some trees. They were green trees (firs or cedars), and other trees which had little leaves like box leaves.

Emmerich, A. C. (1899). The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (G. Richardson, Trans.) (pp. 69–75). London; New York; Cincinnati; Chicago: Burns and Oates; Benziger Brothers.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas

From J.N. Tylenda’s Saints and Feasts of the Liturgical Year:

The shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, on the outskirts of Mexico City, is the most famous shrine of our Lady in the Western Hemisphere, and today we commemorate her appearances to a native Mexican convert, St. Juan Diego, on Tepeyac Hill. On December 9, 1531, our Lady appeared to him and asked that a church be built on the site, and on December 12 she again appeared and urged him to take her message to the bishop. To offer proof that he was our Lady’s messenger, she told him to gather the flowers he found blooming there in mid-December. When Juan Diego stood before Bishop Juan de Zumárraga, he opened his cloak, and as the flowers cascaded to the floor, those present saw on the rough cloth an image of our Lady—the image still preserved at the shrine. The first sanctuary was built in about 1533; the second was begun in 1556; and the third was built in 1695. The present basilica dates from 1976. In 1746, Our Lady of Guadalupe became the patroness of Mexico, and in 1754 Pope Benedict XIV established December 12 as the feast. In 1945, when Pope Pius XII was speaking of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he called her “Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas.” The pope went on to say that the image on the cloak was done “by brushes that were not of this world.” The prayer in the Mass today affirms that by the Virgin Mary’s appearance at Tepeyac, God has brought blessings to the Americas (273-294).


Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico

Deacon Kevin’s Reflections for the 3rd Week of Advent

This guest post is by Deacon Kevin Bagley, Director of Verbum.

As we light the rose-colored candle on the Advent Wreath, we enter the Third Sunday of Advent. The rose candle is used to identify Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word meaning “rejoice.” We rejoice that the coming of the Lord is near, and recognize that our spiritual preparation for the birth of the Christ child is almost complete.

In the First Reading, Isaiah shares his joy in serving the Lord, the same joy we receive when we listen and follow the teachings of Jesus. Remember how you felt when you received wonderful news? Perhaps it was getting the job you wanted, settling on the house, or finding out a loved one was cancer-free. This is the joy we can experience when we turn ourselves over to the Lord. This is the promise and hope we have for eternal life in the Kingdom!

Saint Paul continues this theme of joy and celebration in and with the Lord, and that we can receive the peace of God and become holy and blameless while we await the coming of Jesus.

In the Gospel reading, John the Baptist is questioned by the people who are seeking the Messiah, wondering if he is the One. John was sent to prepare the people, to urge them to make ready to receive the Lord. We also await the Savior, not only at Christmas time, but when Christ comes at the end of time. Are we ready to receive Christ fully, completely, and without reservation? He is coming; prepare!

We must live our lives in expectation that Christ could come to us at any moment. As we prepare our homes for Christmas, we must also be preparing our hearts for the Lord. We must be open and receptive to hear His word, to follow his commands, and to be of service in His name. How will you say “Yes” to the Lord, today? How will you show compassion and mercy? How will you repair a broken relationship? What are you waiting for, Christmas? Behold, it is right around the corner!

New in Verbum 6: Factbook

This guest post is by Brody Stewart, Verbum Marketing and Promotions Coordinator.

Verbum 6 has a lot of great new features, but one of the biggest is the Factbook.

If you’re familiar with the old “Bible Facts” tool, you’ll probably recognize the brand new Factbook. That’s because it’s built on the same detailed tagging that allows Verbum to provide information for people, places, things, and events.

But this is much more than a fresh coat of paint—the new Factbook pulls in many of Verbum’s powerful tools and resources, giving you encyclopedic information in a fraction of the time.

Watch the video below to see it in action, and upgrade to a Verbum 6 library to get it for yourself!

Lumen Gentium: The Immaculate Conception


This excerpt from Lumen Gentium beautifully describes Mary’s Immaculate Conception as taught by the Catholic Church:

The Father of mercies willed that the incarnation should be preceded by the acceptance of her who was predestined to be the mother of His Son, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life. That is true in outstanding fashion of the mother of Jesus, who gave to the world Him who is Life itself and who renews all things, and who was enriched by God with the gifts which befit such a role. It is no wonder therefore that the usage prevailed among the Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature. Adorned from the first instant of her conception with the radiance of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is greeted, on God’s command, by an angel messenger as “full of grace,” and to the heavenly messenger she replies: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word” (Lk 1:38). Thus Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and only Mediator. Embracing God’s salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she “being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching, “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.” Comparing Mary with Eve, they call her “the Mother of the living,” and still more often they say: “death through Eve, life through Mary.”

Deacon Kevin’s Reflections for the 2nd Week of Advent

This guest post is by Deacon Kevin Bagley, Director of Verbum.

We journey closer to Christmas and our anticipation heightens. Last week Jesus spoke of the end times, and we now hear John the Baptist telling us to, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” We must live our lives as Jesus has asked if we want to be part of the Kingdom.

Isaiah tells us that we need to turn our hearts to God. The spirit of the Lord shall come, bestowing gifts upon us: wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and fear of the Lord. Along with piety, these are the spiritual gifts we receive at Confirmation. The Messiah is so powerful and his message so strong that he will bring peace and justice to all creatures.

Paul tells us that living a Christian life means maintaining peace with each other. During Advent, we should examine our relationship with God and also look at our relationships with others. Now is the time to become reconciled with one another. Now is the time to bring peace into strained relationships.

Take some time to discriminate between the messages you hear this Advent: John the Baptist asks us to prepare, but so do the merchants. John wants us to prepare for eternity; the merchants want us to prepare for a particular event. John urges us to turn to God and be saved; the merchants are ultimately interested selling their products. Yes, we want to have a wonderful Christmas, but if we are not good stewards and live the gospel message, eternity will be a living Hell, literally.

As a reminder: Monday, December 8, is a Holy Day of Obligation. We celebrate Mary’s Immaculate Conception. In 1854, Pope Pius IX declared that the Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the very first instant of her conception, exempt from sin and clothed in sanctifying grace. It is a wonderful opportunity to gather in prayer as community and thank Mary for saying YES to God!

Celebrate Advent with Verbum!

Enrich your Advent season with the Verbum Advent Calendar.

We have daily surprises, including savings on relevant Verbum books, as well as beautiful art and inspirational quotes.

You can even submit your wish list for our Christmas sale!

Explore and relish the season—and the savings!



Black Friday Sales on!

Verbum is having a Black Friday Sale from Black Friday to Cyber Monday!

Save up to 30% on our most popular collections for four days only, from November 28 through December 1!

Get the popular Navarre Bible New Testament Standard Edition, regularly $184.95, for $142.95.

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For extensive savings on your favorite Catholic resources, be sure to take advantage of  this four-day sale!

Sale items include:

Fathers of the Church Series (127 vols.)
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Deacon Kevin’s Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent

This guest post is by Deacon Kevin Bagley, DMin, Director of Verbum.

Happy New Year! The church begins its liturgical year as we prepare for the birth of our Savior. Our readings this weekend point us in a direction of change, of looking toward the Kingdom, and ask us, “Are you ready?”

This time of year we make all kinds of preparations. Preparations for Thanksgiving, shopping lists, getting ready to mail Christmas Cards, decking the halls, and putting together the Christmas menu. So much to do, so little time. The Christmas rush is upon us!

May I suggest that you carve a few minutes from your day to reflect on the wonderful gift that God bestowed upon us in the form of his Son? Take time by yourself, and as a family, to recall the birth of the infant who changed the world.

We make many preparations for one very special day, but how are we preparing for eternity? We prepare for eternity in the many ways we live and exercise our gifts and talents in service to the community and to the parish. Maybe God is calling you to give of your gifts, time, or talent in service to the church as you exercise your stewardship.

This Advent, take some quiet moments to reflect, to pray, and to thank God for your blessings and gifts. Take time to reflect on your willingness to be a steward of the gifts you have received, and how you are demonstrating your love of the Lord. Take time to appreciate the wonderful gift we have in each other. Take time preparing for eternity.

Kevin Bagley headshot.JPG.opt279x419o0,0s279x419

New in Verbum 6: Custom Reading Plans!

One of the many exciting new features of Verbum 6 is the Custom Reading Plan. Get the most out of your study time with a Reading Plan, newly customizable to help you learn what you want to learn, when you want to learn it.

Schedule your reading to fit your own calendar—shorter selections for weekdays, for example, and longer sections for weekends.


  • You can choose your own pace and customize your reading according to your schedule
  • You can create a plan from multiple resources—anything in your Verbum library

In Verbum, select the Documents tab and open “Reading Plan,” just as in Verbum 5.

What’s new is the third option, Custom Reading Plan:


Then, choose a book from your Verbum library, and highlight, left click, and drag a reading into the Reference box.

Let’s say I want to start a reading plan about the New Evangelization and the Catechism on Sunday, November 30, the first day of Advent. I choose 2 short readings from Pope Saint John Paul II’s encyclicals on the New Evangelization for Sunday. Monday  is my day off, let’s say, so I include a longer reading from the Catechism on Monday. Tuesday I know I’ll be booked, so I only have one article from Chapter 2 of the Catechism.

Here’s my plan in progress with multiple readings. The orange box indicates where I drag selected text to create my next reading:

reading plan paint

With the Custom Reading Plan, you can drag and drop the sections you wish to read from multiple sources, creating a reading plan that suits your needs.

Verbum 6 makes it even easier for your faith to flourish! Upgrade today.



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