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TO THE READER
WHOEVER compares the following meditations with the short history of the Last Supper given in the Gospel will discover some slight differences between them. An explanation should be given of this, although it can never be sufficiently impressed upon the reader that these writings have no pretensions whatever to add an iota to Sacred Scripture as interpreted by the Church.
Sister Emmerich saw the events of the Last Supper take place in the following order:—The Paschal Lamb was immolated and prepared in the supper-room; our Lord held a discourse on that occasion—the guests were dressed as travellers, and ate, standing, the lamb and other food prescribed by the law—the cup of wine was twice presented to our Lord, but he did not drink of it the second time; distributing it to his Apostles with these words: I shall drink no more of the fruit of the vine, &c. Then they sat down; Jesus spoke of the traitor; Peter feared lest it should be himself; Judas received from our Lord the piece of bread dipped, which was the sign that it was he; preparations were made for the washing of the feet; Peter strove against his feet being washed; then came the institution of the Holy Eucharist: Judas communicated, and afterwards left the apartment; the oils were consecrated, and instructions given concerning them; Peter and the other Apostles received ordination; our Lord made his final discourse; Peter protested that he would never abandon him; and then the Supper concluded. By adopting this order, it appears, at first, as though it were in contradiction to the passages of St. Matthew (xxxi. 29), and of St. Mark (xiv. 26), in which the words: I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, 66&c., come after the consecration, but in St. Luke, they come before. On the contrary, all that concerns the traitor Judas comes here, as in St. Matthew and St. Mark, before the consecration; whereas in St. Luke, it does not come till afterwards. St. John, who does not relate the history of the institution of the Holy Eucharist, gives us to understand that Judas went out immediately after Jesus had given him the bread; but it appears most probable, from the accounts of the other Evangelists, that Judas received the Holy Communion under both forms, and several of the fathers—St. Augustin, St. Gregory the Great, and St. Leo the Great—as well as the tradition of the Catholic Church, tell us expressly that such was the case. Besides, were the order in which St. John presents events taken literally, he would contradict, not only St. Matthew and St. Mark, but himself, for it must follow, from verse 10, chap. xiii., that Judas also had his feet washed. Now, the washing of the feet took place after the eating of the Paschal Lamb, and it was necessarily whilst it was being eaten that Jesus presented the bread to the traitor. It is plain that the Evangelists here, as in several other parts of their writings, gave their attention to the sacred narrative as a whole, and did not consider themselves bound to relate every detail in precisely the same order, which fully explains the apparent contradictions of each other, which are to be found in their Gospels. The following pages will appear to the attentive reader rather a simple and natural concordance of the Gospels than a history differing in any point of the slightest importance than that of Scripture.67
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