The Good King

JESUS VISITS PRISONERS IN THE VISIONS OF BLESSED ANNE CATHERINE EMMERICH 
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THE 7 CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY 
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The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy are oriented toward the body. Six of the seven are mentioned in Matthew 25:31-40 and Matthew 25:41-46 exhorts the omission of them as the reason for damnation. The deprivation of burial was the seventh Corporal Work of Mercy (Tobit 1:17-19) was later added by the Catholic Church.
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The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy and their Holy Scripture references are:
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1. Feed the Hungry: Proverbs 22:9, Isaiah 58:10, 2 Kings 4:42-44, Matthew 14:15-21; 25:35, Luke 3:11; 9:12-17, John 6:35
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2. Give Drink to the Thirsty: Isaiah 55:1, Matthew 25:35, John 6:35, John 7:37-39, Revelation 21:6; 22:17
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3. Clothe the Naked: Matthew 25:36
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4. Shelter the Homeless: Matthew 25:35
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5. Visit the Sick: Matthew 25:36
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6. Visit the Imprisoned: Matthew 25:36
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7. Bury the Dead: Tobit 1:17-19
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The prison was guarded by Roman soldiers and had a Roman superintendent. The lodgings of the guards and overseers were outside the building. Jesus, hav­ing applied to the latter for permission, was allowed to visit the part open to strangers. He listened to the prisoners’ story of misery and sufferings, directed refreshments to be distributed to them, instructed and consoled them, and forgave the sins of many that confessed to Him. To several of those confined for debt, as well as to many others, He promised release. To others He held out hopes of relief. From the prison Jesus went to the Roman Com­mander, who was not a wicked man, and spoke to him gravely and touchingly about the prisoners. He offered to discharge their debts Himself, and to go part security for their innocence and good behavior. He expressed His desire also to converse with those that had for so long a time endured a more rigor­ous imprisonment. The Commander listened very respectfully to Jesus, but explained to Him that as all those prisoners were Jews who had been put into prison under very particular circumstances, he would have to speak to the Pharisees and to the Jewish authorities of the place before he could grant His request to he allowed access to them. Jesus replied that after He had taught in the synagogue, He would call on him again with the Jewish authorities. Then He returned to the female prisoners, whom He con­soled and advised. He received from several the avowal of their misdemeanors and promises of amendment, forgave them their sins, caused alms to be distributed among them, and promised to rec­oncile them with their friends. Thus did Jesus from nine o’clock in the morning until nearly four in the afternoon labor in this abode of misery and woe, filling it with joy and consola­tion on a day upon which in it alone was sorrow to be found, for in the city all was jubilation. It was the first of those holidays that had been added by Solomon to the Feast of Ennorum, on account of the gifts presented by the Queen of Saba. Jesus had beheld the Sabbath of this first day celebrated the evening before at Bezech. Today the whole city, espe­cially the most populous quarters, was alive with joy. There were triumphal arches, leaping, racing, and heaps of grain for distribution among the poor. But around that old castle, at once prison and hos­pital, all was still. Jesus alone had thought of its poor inmates, and He alone had brought them real joy. In the house outside the city, He took with the disciples a little repast, which consisted of bread, fruit, and honey. Then He sent some of His follow­ers to the prison with all kinds of provisions and refreshments, while He with the rest repaired to the synagogue. The report of what Jesus had done in the hospi­tal was already spread throughout the whole city. Many of those that He had there cured were returned to the city and now went to the synagogue; others were assembled outside the sacred edifice, where Jesus and the Apostles cured many more. In the synagogue were gathered the Pharisees and Sad­ducees, and many secret Herodians. Among the first named were many of the same sect from Jerusalem who had come thither for recreation. They were full of spite and envy at Jesus’ doings, which threw dis­grace upon their own. In the school were present also a great many people from Bezech who had fol­lowed Jesus thither. In His instruction Jesus spoke of the feast and its signification, which was to afford an opportunity for recreation, for infusing joy into the hearts of others, and for doing good. He referred again to one of the Eight Beatitudes, “Blessed are the merciful.” He explained the parable of the Prodi­gal Son, which He had already related to the pris­oners. Then He spoke of these, as well as of the sick and their miseries, how forgotten and abandoned they were while others enriched themselves by seiz­ing upon the funds destined for their support. He inveighed vigorously against the trustees of this establishment, some of whom were among the Phar­isees present. They listened in silent rage. In recount­ing the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus made allusion to those that had been imprisoned on account of their misdemeanors, but who were now repen­tant. This He did in order to reconcile the relatives here present to some of the prisoners. All were very much touched. Here, too, Jesus related the parable of the compassionate king and the unmerciful servant. He applied it to those that allow the poor prisoner to languish on account of an insignificant debt, while God suffers their own great indebtedness to run on. The secret Herodians had by their trickery been the cause of the imprisonment of many poor people of this place. To this fact Jesus once vaguely alluded when, in His severe denunciation of the Pharisees, He said: “There are many indeed among you who very likely know how things fell out with John.” The Pharisees railed at Jesus. They made use of expres­sions among themselves, such as these: “He wages war with the help of women, and goes about with them. He will get possession of no great kingdom with such warriors.”
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Jesus then pressed the head men among the magistrates and Pharisees to go with Him to the Roman superintendent of the prison, and offer to ransom the most miserable and neglected of the inmates. This proposal was made in the hearing of many, consequently the Pharisees could not refuse. When Jesus and His disciples turned off toward the residence of the superintendent, a crowd followed, sounding Jesus’ praises. The superintendent was a much better man than the Pharisees, who maliciously ran up the prisoners’ debts so high that, for the release of some of them, Jesus had to pay fourfold. But because He had not the money around Him, He gave as a pledge a triangular coin to which hung a parchment ticket upon which He had written some words authorizing the sum to be discharged from Magdalen’s property which Lazarus was about to sell. The entire proceeds were destined by Magdalen and Lazarus for the benefit of the poor, for debtors, and the relief of sinners. Magdalum was a more valuable estate than that of Bethania. Each side of the triangular coin was about three inches long, and in the center was an inscription indicating its value. To one end hung a jointed strip of metal, like two or three links of a chain, and to this the writing was fastened. After the transaction recorded above, the superintendent ordered the poor prisoners to be brought forth. Jesus and the disciples lent their assis­tance in the execution of his order. Many poor crea­tures in tatters, half-naked and covered with hair, were dragged forth from dark holes. The Pharisees angrily withdrew. Many of the released were quite weak and sick. They lay weeping at Jesus’ feet, while He consoled and exhorted them. He procured for them clothing, baths, food, lodgings, and saw to the formalities necessary to be observed in restoring them to liberty, for they had to remain under the jurisdiction of the prison and hospital a few days until their ransom was paid. A similar occurrence took place among the female prisoners. All were fed, Jesus and the disciples waiting on them, and the parable of the Prodigal Son was afterward related to them. Thus was this house for once filled with joy. In it appeared to be prefigured the deliverance from Limbo of the Patriarchs to whom John, after his death, had announced the near coming of the Redeemer. Jesus and the disciples spent the night once more in the house outside of Tirzah. It was this affair here in Tirzah which, when reported to Herod, drew his attention more partic­ularly upon Jesus, and called forth the remark: “Is John risen from the grave?” From this time Herod was desirous of seeing Jesus. He had indeed previ­ously heard of Him from general report and through John, but he had not thought much on the subject. Now, however, his uneasy conscience made him notice what before had passed unremarked. He was at this time living in Hesebon, where he had gathered all his soldiers around him, among them some merce­nary Roman troops.

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