Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, Quotes from Great Christians, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus
AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD
Chapel of St. Leonard Nauders Austria
Maria Heimsuchung – One of Three Frescoes found in the Chapel of St. Leonard
The wall paintings in the Chapel of St. Leonard are among the most important Romanesque frescoes discoveries that have been made in North Tyrol ever. Their rediscovery goes back to 1914. Although the paintings are not completely preserved, they are among the earliest frescoes of North Tyrol and thus are important in Austria’s art history. The latest research link these frescos to benchmark examples in South Tyrol and Graubünden and assume that the frescoes were created by 1210.
“Truly He is in haste to be about His Father’s business. Truly He is an impatient conqueror, to be thus early beginning His conquests, and laying the foundations of His world wide empire. He can not bear to be in the world for even so short a while, but sin shall feel the weight of His unborn arm…..His first mission and ministry was in the womb, and the babe unborn the first conquest of His divine apostolate…..and the Unborn Child destroys the sin and abolishes the curse of the unborn child.” Frederick W. Faber, D.D., The Blessed Sacrament (Baltimore, MD: John Murphy Company, circa 1855), 162 163.
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, How are we to honor Unborn Jesus, Pro-life, Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus
Meeting of Mary and Elisabeth by Marx Reichlich, Austrian painter (b. 1460, Salzburg, d. 1520, Salzburg) Alte Pinakothek, Munich
Sunday was the feast of the birth of St. John the Baptist. In honor of St. John we are posting a short series entitled:
How are we to honor Unborn Jesus (and all unborn babies made in his image and likeness)?
There are countless ways to honor Christ Unborn. But one way to consider this question is to reflect on the eight people and one angel mentioned in the Gospels as particularly honoring Jesus during His 9 months in the womb. These 9 are: the Archangel Gabriel, Mary, Unborn John the Baptist, Elizabeth and Zechariah (John’s parents), Joseph and finally the 3 wise men.
We would like to start with 2 quotes about unborn John who stands in the place of all unborn babies – who in a sense is every unborn baby.
Cardinal Bérulle (1575 – 1629) wrote extensively on the Unborn Christ Child. Here he reflects on the Visitation when the unborn John the Baptist leaps with joy:
“God has become a child, and so he wants first to be known and adored by a child, and this is one of the first emanations of the childhood of God, manifesting himself to the universe. God is a child, the world ignores, heaven adores, and a child is the first person in the universe to recognize and adore him, and he does so by the homage and secret operation of God himself, who wants to act upon children. He wants to honor himself as child by giving the first knowledge of himself to a child in the world, making him his prophet in the universe. Thus the Infant-God is recognized and manifested, not by and angel, but by a child. So his first prophet is a child, just as shortly his first martyrs will be children.”
Bishop Austin Vaughan (1927-2000), Auxiliary Bishop of New York, who was arrested many times for peacefully praying and protesting in front of abortion facilities, wrote an article called “The Catholic Duty to be Pro-Life” in which he reflected:
“It is not an accident, I think, that in the Scriptures the first person, after Mary, who adored Jesus when he came into the world was St. John the Baptist…The second person who ever worshipped Jesus after Mary was an unborn baby and I think God made it that way to tell us in our day and age the worth and importance of every individual right from the very beginning of life.”
The Bishops of the U.S. are asking us to join them in prayer for our country in a campaign called the Fortnight of Freedom.
“The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.” From the USSCB Website.
We would like to encourage everyone to get involved. Pray, fast, call your representatives in Washington to let them know how you feel about this issue.
It is interesting to note that this fortnight of freedom began on July 21 the vigil of the feast day for both St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher who were martyred for their faith. They were martyred because they would not accept the decrees of Henry the Eighth who in order to marry Anne Boleyn made himself head of the Church of England. Neither of these men would accede to his decrees and both went to their death rather than compromise their faith. Like them we are slowly but surely facing an uphill battle for our faith today. They are models for our us.
Many people have heard about St. Thomas More – but Bishop, St. John Fisher is less well known. One of my favorite observations about St. John Fisher was made by the inspirational Father Vincent McNabb in his biography about St. John Fisher, published in 1935. He writes:
“In reading the authentic records of how the Bishop (St. John Fisher) bore himself in his bishopric we are perhaps surprised to find him praised for qualities which might be expected of any good bishop. But as there are times of general moral depression when the average layman’s practice of the ten commandments demands heroic virtue, so there are circumstances when a bishop’s fidelity to the ordinary duties of his office argues the saint.”
It seems to us that many of the 10 commandments are at the forefront of our society’s most grave battles – moral battles about the dignity and value of human life and marriage. We can see that the 10 commandments were a divine gift intended to elevate human living and direct it towards God and virtue. So today, for believers to live according to the 10 commandments, in this time of moral crisis, is no small accomplishment. Let us encourage each other continually to meet this challenge of our time, seeking opportunities to lift up these and other noble moral principles which point towards the Culture of Life. And let us pray for our families and our children an join our Bishops in this Fortnight of Freedom.
To learn more or order click here.
June 15 was the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We are featuring a quote from Father James Kubicki, S.J – National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.
“St. Augustine and other Fathers of the Church liked to say that Mary first received the Word into her Immaculate Heart and then conceived the Word in her womb. In this new person were joined two natures – human and divine. The loving union of God with humanity had begun in a new and wonderful way, making possible every person’s union with God. He took flesh so that he could give his flesh to save humanity and to unite his flesh with ours. The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) states, “By his incarnation, he, the Son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man” (LG, 22).
Cell by cell, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, now uniting himself to our nature and our flesh, began to develop in the womb of his mother. Within 21 days his first organ appeared. His tiny physical heart began to beat under the heart of his mother. Over nine months he grew and developed as every baby does until at last he was born….His entire life on earth was a revelation of the love of God…“
Father James Kubicki, S.J. has a wonderful new book entitled A Heart on Fire - Rediscovering Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Father Kubicki is an extraordinary priest who is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and television – he is also a popular conference speaker, parish mission speaker and retreat director. Father Kubicki has been a great friend to our apostolate too – giving us support and encouragement.
A Heart on Fire is a book which will help rekindle devotion to the Sacred Heart – arguably the most important devotion for all Christians. Father Kubicki makes the Sacred Heart devotion understandable to the modern mind without downplaying its traditional beauty and power. This is an important book because understanding the love of Christ and its central role in our faith is what each Christian is truly striving to achieve. We highly recommend this book.
There is a story that St. Anthony was seen holding the Christ Child in his arms. Many images and statues of St. Anthony depict him holding the Christ Child. One variation of these images is of St. Anthony holding a Bible with the Christ Child on it. The most unusual one is El Greco’s St. Anthony. Here are 2 other images in this tradition.
Perhaps this is because St. Anthony was also known as a great preacher – and especially for his knowledge of scripture. Following are 2 quotes from St. Anthony’s sermons which pertain to the Christ Child.
“The fruit of the bee is the Son of the Virgin. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb [Lk 1.42], it says; and Canticles 2: His fruit was sweet to my palate [Cant 2.3]. This fruit is sweet in its beginning, middle and end. It was sweet in the womb, sweet in the crib, sweet in the temple, sweet in Egypt, sweet in his Baptism, sweet in the desert, sweet in word, sweet in miracles, sweet on the ass, sweet in the scourging, sweet on the Cross, sweet in the tomb, sweet in hell and sweet in heaven. O sweet Jesus, what is more sweet than you are? ‘Jesu- the very thought is sweet…sweeter than honey far.’ “
The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Anthony of Padua
Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son: and his name shall be called Emmanuel. [Is 7.14]
“…that is, God-with-us. This God is made a little child for us, is born for us today. There are many reasons why Christ is called a little child; and for briefness’ sake here is just one: if you hurt a child, make him cry… but then show him a flower, a rose or something like that, and after showing it give it to him- then he will not remember the hurt, he will put away his indignation and run to embrace you. In the same way, if you offend Christ by mortal sin, or inflict any kind of injury on him, but then offer him the flower of contrition or the rose of tearful confession (“Tears are the soul’s blood”), then he will not remember your offences, he will take away your guilt and run to embrace and kiss you.“
The Nativity of the Lord, St. Anthony of Padua
Filed under: Incarnation, Mary, Quotes from Great Christians, The Eucharist, Unborn Jesus
“Now Jesus Christ, God and Man, enters into us and enacts a mystery similar to the one wrought in Mary’s womb….the Eucharist passes into our bodies and, uniting with us, prolongs, extends the Incarnation to each of us separately.
In becoming incarnate in the Virgin Mary, the Word had in view this incarnation in each one of us, this Communion with the individual soul; it was one of the ends for which He came into the world.
Communion is the perfect development, the full unfoldment of the Incarnation, as it is likewise the completion of the sublime sacrifice of Calvary, renewed each morning in the Mass….without Communion the Sacrifice would be incomplete. Thus the Body of Jesus Christ is united with our body, His Soul with our soul, and His Divinity hovers over both.”
St. Peter Julian Eymard Holy Communion
January 24 is the feast day of St. Francis de Sales. This week during the 39 anniversary of Roe vs Wade it would be good to reflect on God’s call from the womb.
There are many times in the Old and New Testament that Biblical figures were called by God or mentioned in the Bible while still in their mother’s womb. Here is a beautiful quote from St. Francis de Sales about this:
“God also appointed other favors for a small number of rare creatures who he would preserve from the peril of damnation, as is certain of S. John Baptist and very probable of Jeremias and some others, whom the Divine providence seized upon in their mother’s womb, and thereupon established them in the perpetuity of his grace, that they might remain firm in his love, though subject to checks and venial sins, which are contrary to the perfection of love though not to love itself…” Treatise on the Love of God : St. Francis de Sales, (1567-1622)
Here are the prophets that St. Francis was referring to:
“And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength)” (Isaiah 49:5)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
John the Baptist
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)
Two other great men who were called from their mother’s womb but probably don’t quite fit St. Francis’ description:
“Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, ‘A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.’ But he said to me, `Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’” (Judges 13:6-7, see also Judges 16:17)
“But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased…” (Galatians 1:15)
Jacob and Esau are also mentioned as wrestling in their mother’s womb
“Isaac entreated the LORD on behalf of his wife, since she was sterile. The LORD heard his entreaty, and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children in her womb jostled each other so much that she exclaimed, ‘If this is to be so, what good will it do me!’
She went to consult the LORD, and he answered her: ‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples are quarreling while still within you; But one shall surpass the other, and the older shall serve the younger.’
When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb.” Genesis 25: 22-24
And of course the most important unborn person in the Bible – Preborn Jesus.
No sooner, in fact, “is the Word made flesh” (John, 1:14) than he shows Himself to the world vested with a priestly office, making to the Eternal Father an act of submission which will continue uninterruptedly as long as He lives: “When He cometh into the world he saith. . . ‘behold I come . . . to do Thy Will. (Heb. 10:5-7) This act He was to consummate admirably in the bloody Sacrifice of the Cross: “It is in this will we are sanctified by the oblation of the Body of Jesus Christ once.” (Heb.10:10) Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei #17
“Everyone is called to love God with their whole heart and soul and mind and strength and to love their neighbor out of love for God. But on the night, before he died, Jesus gave us two great gifts: the gift of himself in the Eucharist and the gift of the priesthood to continue his living presence in the Eucharist.
Without priests, we have no Jesus. Without priests, we have no absolution. Without priests, we cannot receive Holy Communion.
Just as God our Father prepared a worthy dwelling place for his Son in the immaculate womb of a virgin — so it is fitting that a priest prepares himself to take the place of Jesus, the Son of God, by freely choosing priestly celibacy. Marriage and procreation are miracles of God’s love by which men and women become his co-workers, to bring new life into the world. But Jesus has clearly spoken to something even greater than that, when he said that in heaven people neither marry nor are given in marriage but live like the angels; and that there are some who have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God.
Priestly celibacy is that gift which prepares for life in heaven. Jesus calls his priest to be his co-worker in the Church, to fill heaven with God’s children.”
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Inspirational Pro-life leaders, Quotes from Great Christians, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus
(The following column by Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez appeared in the Friday, Oct. 7, issue of the archdiocesan newspaper The Tidings)
Blessed John Paul II said that as Christians we are called to be people of life and for life.
Our religion, in a beautiful and mysterious way, is deeply identified with human life. What other world religion remembers the time when its founder was in his mother’s womb?
Yet in our sacred Scriptures, we preserve the story of Jesus’ conception, his birth, and even some events from his early childhood. We retell these stories in our worship, year after year — at Christmas time, in feasts like the Annunciation. We remember the name of Jesus’ mother in our confession of faith, when we say Jesus was “born of the Virgin Mary.”
Biblical religion is a religion in which family and children, and the promise of children, plays a big role.
Think of the stories of Abraham and Sarah and God’s promise to give them a son. Think of God’s words to the prophet Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”
Again and again in the salvation history we read in the Bible, God’s plan is enacted through a woman who is with child. “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son …”
God loved us so much that he entered into this world as each one of us did — through the womb of a mother.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to love the Gospel story of the Visitation. She always pointed to this detail — how St. John the Baptist leapt in St. Elizabeth’s womb when Mary walked into the room.
She said: “Something very beautiful, something very wonderful happened. The first human being to recognize the presence of Jesus was the little one in the womb of his mother — who leaped with joy. It is so beautiful to think that God gave that little unborn child the greatness of proclaiming the presence of Jesus on earth.”
Click here to read the rest of his statement.
“He was hidden in the womb of His Mother; all through His life and death on earth, His Divinity was hidden except to a very few; in His Eucharistic life He will hide Himself to the end of time in the little Host.
He seemed to love hiding when He was on earth and when He did reveal Himself, it was something like a child playing at hide and seek.
He hid Himself from the Samaritan woman till He had heard all her story and then said suddenly : “I am He (the Messias) Who am speaking with thee” (St. John. iv. 26).
The blind man whom He cured had not the least idea Who He was till JESUS, hearing that he had been reviled and cast out of the Synagogue, went and talked to him about the Son of God and then said in the middle of the conversation: Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee” (chap. ix. 37).
From Mary Magdalen at the sepulchre He deliberately hid Himself under the form of a gardener that He might have the joy of suddenly surprising her with His presence.
Perhaps the most touching story of all is that of the two disciples going to Emmaus ; out of His very love for them, He blindfolded them and then made them look for Him, while He put them off the scent by pretending that He knew nothing about all the things that had been
happening in Jerusalem ; and then when His moment was come their eyes were opened and they knew Him.” (St. Luke xxiv. 31).
He treats His children in the same way still, He constantly hides Himself from them, leaves them alone to fight and struggle in desolation, solitude and spiritual darkness, and then sometimes shows by His sudden presence how near He has been all the time.”
“From the Incarnation and birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the whole of history was transformed and humanity received the total answer to all its questions and aspirations. In the Child-God, Icon of the Father, all has been given to us. In him is revealed to us the totality of the mystery and the key to our own greatness and our sublime dignity as image of God.”
“Inseparable from the Gospel, for St. Thérèse the Eucharist was the sacrament of Divine Love that stoops to the extreme to raise us to him. In her last Letter, on an image that represents Jesus the Child in the consecrated Host, the Saint wrote these simple words: ‘I cannot fear a God who made himself so small for me! […] I love him! In fact, he is nothing but Love and Mercy!’ (LT 266).”
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Pro-life, Quotes from Great Christians, Saints
I recognize that not everyone will like this picture and I myself used it with some hesitancy. But it highlights a theme that quite a few saints and spiritual authors have written about which actually seems very relevant in our time (because of abortion), namely that Christ’s time in the womb was a time of suffering for our sins. Here are four quotes for our Lenten meditation:
Salvation to all that will is nigh;
That All, which always is all everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
Lo, faithful virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb… John Donne, The Annunciation
“The third characteristic then of the obedience of Christ is that it was tried by suffering and humiliations. To accomplish the Will of His heavenly Father, the Infant Christ, with the full use of every faculty, consented to be enclosed for nine months in the dark prison of His Mother’s womb. Other infants feel not this privation as they have not the use of reason, but Christ had the use of reason and must have dreaded the confinement in the narrow womb, even of her whom He had chosen to be His Mother.
Through obedience to His Father, and from the love He bore to man, He overcame this dread, and the Church says: ‘When Thou didst take upon Thee to deliver Man, Thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.’ Again, our dear Lord needed no small amount of patience and humility, to assume the manners and the weaknesses of a child, when He was not only wiser than Solomon, but was the Man ‘in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ ” St. Robert Bellarmine, The Seven Words on the Cross
“Consider the painful life that Jesus Christ led in the womb of his Mother, and the long‑confined and dark imprisonment that he suffered there for nine months. Other infants are indeed in the same state; but they do not feel the miseries of it, because they do not know them. But Jesus knew them well, because from the first moment of his life he had the perfect use of reason….The womb of Mary was therefore, to our Redeemer a voluntary prison, because it was a prison of love. But it was also not an unjust prison: he was indeed innocent himself, but he had offered himself to pay our debts and to satisfy for our crimes. It was therefore only reasonable for the divine justice to keep him thus imprisoned, and so begin to exact from him the due satisfaction.
Behold the state to which the Son of God reduces himself for the love of men, he deprives himself of his liberty and puts himself in chains, to deliver us from the chains of hell.” St. Alphonsus de Liguori,The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ
“He was filled with compassion for all the miseries of creation, and this never left Him henceforward; and most of all did He feel for sin, the greatest and the truest of our miseries, and He distinctly and separately pitied the sins of each one of us in particular.
…He surrendered Himself as a prisoner in His Mother s womb, for crime, for debt, and as a prisoner of war, as if He were a delinquent threefold by all those three liabilities. He only left His prison to suffer and to expiate, and it seems as though He loved it so, that He repeats His state of imprisonment in the Blessed Sacrament.” Father Faber, The Blessed Sacrament
When I think of Christ suffering in the womb for our sins it gives me great hope. Hope that He has obtained for us a special grace during His time of suffering in the womb – a grace that will enable us to overcome abortion in our time.
“At the true age of one month, a human being is four and a half millimeters long. Its tiny heart has already been beating for a week, its arms, legs, head, brain are already recognizable. At two months old, from head to the tip of its bottom, the human embryo is about three centimeters long. It could fit curled up inside a walnut shell. Inside a clenched fist, it would be invisible, and the clenched fist would crush it accidentally without even noticing.
But open your hand, the embryo is almost complete, hands, feet, head, organs, brain, everything is in its place and from now on will merely grow. Look more closely , you can already read the life lines in its palms and predict its good fortunes. Look closer still, with an ordinary microscope, and you can see its fingerprints. Everything is already there and it would be possible to issue its identity card.”
“The incredible Tom Thumb, the man no bigger than my thumb, actually exists ; not the one in the fairy tale, but the one which every one of us once was.”
Quote from: Dr. Jerome LeJeune (the great pro-life scientist who discovered the cause of Down Syndrome)
Filed under: Papal Quotes, Pro-life, Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus
God has always been reaching out to us! Today He is reaching out personally to you!
Michaelangelo captured the scene in his famous painting of God the Creator Father reaching out to Adam who represents humanity.
Mother St. Paul explains how God the Father reached down to touch each of us at our creation:
“Our Lord Touched us when He created us to His own image; He could have created us to the image of the angels but no, He created us to His own – it was a touch.” Virginibus Christi p. 25
Interior Of The Mezquita Cathedral Virgin Mary Icon
From Mary’s womb Unborn Jesus was reaching out to us, but we couldn’t see. Perhaps in a Michaelangelo moment, in Mary’s womb He extended His tiny unborn arm, hand, and finger towards each of us.
Pope Pius XII tells us:
“But the knowledge and love of our Divine Redeemer, of which we were the object from the first moment of His Incarnation, exceed all that the human intellect can hope to grasp. For hardly was He conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the Beatific Vision, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present to Him, and He embraced them with His redeeming love” On the Mystical Body of Christ, #75
As we remember this sad anniversary of Roe v Wade, let us realize that in the silent cries of the unborn He is reaching out to touch our hearts.
Let us reach out to touch Him for as St. Mark tells us:
“As many as touched Him were made whole“ (Mk 6:56)
Unborn Word of the Day has received permission to post The Annunciation by Bradi Barth* copyright “BRADI BARTH” “HERBRONNEN” vzw www.bradi-barth.org
Mother St. Paul wrote this of the unborn Christ Child who rested in His mother’s womb.
“Come, my little King, Who art nevertheless the Eternal Wisdom, come and teach me this heavenly prudence….”
“…and in my own life when things seem, as they sometimes do inexplicable and beyond human ken. Oh! come and teach me that the way of prudence is to lie still like a little child in its mother’s arms, not to try to fathom nor to understand, but to say: I am in the Arms of the Eternal Wisdom, Who can do all things, Who loves me with an infinite love and Who is disposing all things sweetly, gently, mercifully for my sake. This is the lesson the Child (Christ) yet unborn would teach.”
Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi, 1921
Welcome to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez!
Archbishop Jose Gomez is known to be a wonderful defender of the faith and of the unborn. We are thrilled that he is coming to Los Angeles to be our new shepherd. In the next day or so we will detail and link to a number of the pro-life articles etc. that this wonderful man has written. But for today we have a quote of his that relates to the topic of this blog. It is from an Oct. 10, 2008 column he wrote entitled Truth, Freedom and Abortion.
“I repeat: Abortion is not only a Catholic issue or a ‘matter of faith’. It concerns the most fundamental questions in any human civilization: Who gets to live and who doesn’t — and who gets to decide this question? Can one’s rights or freedoms include the right and freedom to extinguish the life of one who is weaker?
The Catholic Church’s position on these questions is clear. Our Savior chose to come among us as each one of us came into this world, by spending nine months in a mother’s womb. Blessed Mother Teresa (0f Calcutta) used to talk about this a lot. She reminded us that our religion begins with the story of two pregnant women and their unborn children. And it was an unborn child, John the Baptist, who was the first to proclaim Christ’s presence — when he leapt in his mother’s womb at the Visitation. (Luke 1:39-45)”