UNBORN WORD of the day


MARY & 2 CONTEMPORARY EVANGELICAL QUESTIONS
May 29, 2014, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Incarnation, Mary

VERKÜNDIGUNG UND HEIMSUCHUNG MARIENS Ludwigshafen

The Annunciation and Visitation of Mary

Altarflügel mit der Verkündigung und der Heimsuchung

 

  1. HAVE YOU GIVEN YOUR HEART TO JESUS?
  2. HAVE YOU ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR?

Many Christians consider these to be important questions concerning one’s relationship withGod. Baptism – according to the instruction of Jesus and the practice of both the early and contemporary Church –establishes a solid relationship with God. But when Mary first encountered Jesus Christ, there was no Christian baptism. Also, the Church’s teaching about Mary’s Immaculate Conception, while perhaps implied in the Gospel is not explicitly demonstrated there. So let’s look simply at the Gospel and what it tells us about Mary and these 2 questions.

  1.  Have you given your heart to Jesus?

According to the Gospel of Luke, Mary had a wonderful deep relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary he stated that she was “full of grace”, that “the Lord is with you” and that she had “found favor with God” (Lk 1:28,30). A threefold acknowledgement of Mary’s profound and faithful relationship to God. Gabriel then outlines for her the role Almighty God wants her to accept in the great Incarnation Mission of His Son. Her fiat“Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38) – invites God into human history; immediately thereafter Christ is conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. The early Church Fathers were so impressed by this definitive openness of Mary to the will of God that they would say that Mary conceived Christ in her mind and heart before she conceived Him in her womb. Hence, going back to the above question – Mary was the First person to give her heart to Jesus

2.   Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

Mary answers this question at the event we call The Visitation (celebrated on May 31st), where she visits her cousin Elizabeth (and unborn John the Baptist….and Elizabeth’s husband Zechariah). First, we see that Elizabeth is “filled with the Holy Spirit” and blesses Mary for her great faith. Then Mary responds with her famous Magnificat, which begins with the words:

 “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” (KJV translation)

 Note the two words; Lord & Savior! Mary had already accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior – according to Scripture – about a week after Unborn Jesus had been conceived in her womb (if not earlier)! Again, Mary is the First person to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior!

Of course this wondrous relationship between Mary and her Son would continue to unfold and strengthen. She gave birth to Him (Lk 2:1-20), she flees to Egypt to protect Him from persecution (Mt 2:13-15), she raises Him with tender love, she encourages Him to perform His first miracle sign (Jn 2:1-12), she even stands at the foot of the cross as our Lord and Savior dies for us (Jn 19:25), Her Son entrusts His disciples to her maternal care from the Cross Jn 19:26-27), and she is with the early Church – praying – on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:12-15).

No wonder then, that Mary is recognized not only as the First Believer to believe in Jesus, but also as the First Christian to love Jesus.



Eliminating Human Lives is NOT “Progressive”
April 22, 2014, 8:55 pm
Filed under: Papal Quotes, Quotes from Great Christians

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Pastor Walter Hoye

“Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, ‘every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual’.

Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or “modernizations”. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life. On the other hand, it is also true that we have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish, especially when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty. Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?”

From THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL  POPE FRANCIS  # 213-214



Beautiful in the womb

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VIRGIN MARY “OF THE SIGN”, 15TH CENTURY, MEZQUITA CATHEDRAL, ANDALUSIA CORDOBA, SPAIN

In his Apostolic Exhortaion entitled Vita Consecrata (March 25, 1996) John Paul II has a thought provoking quote from St. Augustine:

“Beautiful is God, the Word with God … He is beautiful in heaven, beautiful on earth; beautiful in the womb, beautiful in his parents’ arms, beautiful in his miracles, beautiful in his sufferings; beautiful in inviting to life, beautiful in not worrying about death, beautiful in giving up his life and beautiful in taking it up again; he is beautiful on the Cross, beautiful in the tomb, beautiful in heaven. Listen to the song with understanding, and let not the weakness of the flesh distract your eyes from the splendour of his beauty.” #24



THE VISITATION – COMMENT FROM CATHOLIC CATECHISM / POEM BY THOMAS MERTON
May 30, 2013, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Poems, Unborn Jesus

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May 31, 2013 is the Feast of the Visitation. About one week after conceiving Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, and at the conclusion of a 4 day journey, Mary arrives at the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah. We present two reflections: 1. Theological, 2. Poetical.

“John (the Baptist) was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb’ by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people.” Catechism of the Catholic Church #717

The Quickening of St. John the Baptist – Written in 1949

On the Contemplative Vocation

Why do you fly from the drowned shores of Galilee,
From the sands and the lavender water?
Why do you leave the ordinary world, Virgin of Nazareth,
The yellow fishing boats, the farms,
The winesmelling yards and low cellars
Or the oilpress, and the women by the well?
Why do you fly those markets,
Those suburban gardens,
The trumpets of the jealous lilies,
Leaving them all, lovely among the lemon trees?

You have trusted no town
With the news behind your eyes.
You have drowned Gabriel’s word in thoughts like seas
And turned toward the stone mountain
To the treeless places.
Virgin of God, why are your clothes like sails?

The day Our Lady, full of Christ,
Entered the dooryard of her relative
Did not her steps, light steps, lay on the paving leaves
like gold?
Did not her eyes as grey as doves
Alight like the peace of a new world upon that house, upon
miraculous Elizabeth?

Her salutation
Sings in the stone valley like a Charterhouse bell:
And the unborn saint John
Wakes in his mother’s body,
Bounds with the echoes of discovery.
Sing in your cell, small anchorite!
How did you see her in the eyeless dark?
What secret syllable
Woke your young faith to the mad truth
That an unborn baby could be washed in the Spirit of God?
Oh burning joy!

What seas of life were planted by that voice!
With what new sense
Did your wise heart receive her Sacrament,
And know her cloistered Christ?

You need no eloquence, wild bairn,
Exulting in your hermitage.
Your ecstasy is your apostolate,
For whom to kick is contemplata tradere.
Your joy is the vocation of Mother Church’s hidden children –
Those who by vow lie buried in the cloister or the hermitage;
The speechless Trappist, or the grey, granite Carthusian,
The quiet Carmelite, the barefoot Clare, Planted in the night of
contemplation, Sealed in the dark and waiting to be born.

Night is our diocese and silence is our ministry
Poverty our charity and helplessness our tongue-tied
sermon.
Beyond the scope of sight or sound we dwell upon the air
Seeking the world’s gain in an unthinkable experience.
We are exiles in the far end of solitude, living as listeners
With hearts attending to the skies we cannot understand:
Waiting upon the first far drums of Christ the Conqueror,
Planted like sentinels upon the world’s frontier.

But in the days, rare days, when our Theotokos
Flying the prosperous world
Appears upon our mountain with her clothes like sails,
Then, like the wise, wild baby,
The unborn John who could not see a thing
We wake and know the Virgin Presence
Receive her Christ into our night
With stabs of an intelligence as white as lightning.

Cooled in the flame of God’s dark fire
Washed in His gladness like a vesture of new flame
We burn like eagles in His invincible awareness
And bound and bounce with happiness,
Leap in the womb, our cloud, our faith, our element,
Our contemplation, our anticipated heaven
Till Mother Church sings like an Evangelist.



MERCY INCARNATE: THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD TO MARY

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Annunciation by Bradi Barth

This year, because March 25th fell in Holy Week, the great feast day of the Annunciation of the Lord to Mary has been moved to Monday April 8, 2013. This feast day also marks the Incarnation of Christ our Lord. Due to this date change, Divine Mercy Sunday (the 7th) and the Annunciation (the 8th) are back-to-back.

This fact draws our attention to the incredible testimony to the Mercy of God contained within the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. At the beginning of his 1980 encyclical letter Dives in Misericordia, On the Mercy of God, John Paul II recounts the understanding of God’s mercy found in the Old Testament, then he comments:

“Christ confers on the whole of the Old Testament tradition about God’s mercy a definitive meaning. Not only does He speak of it and explain it by the use of comparisons and parables, but above all He Himself makes it incarnate and personifies it. He Himself, in a certain sense, is mercy.” (#2)

Later in this same encyclical John Paul II speaks of Christ’s messianic program as a program of mercy, relying upon the prophet Isaiah to help define it as “the revelation of merciful love for the poor, the suffering and prisoners, for the blind, the oppressed and sinners”. (#8)

Mercy is etched upon the life of Christ from Incarnation to Ascension. We are all daily beneficiaries of His program of Mercy. But John Paul II goes a step further: “Christ’s messianic program, the program of mercy, becomes the program of His people, the program of the Church.” (#8)

The worldwide Pro-Life community has always identified itself with the Mercy and forgiveness of God and must continue to emphasize this Program of Mercy. In the unborn and newborn Christ Child we see that God’s mercy is humble, vulnerable and therefore open to misinterpretation as mere weakness. But the Christ child’s humility and vulnerability, like Mercy and forgiveness are expressions of the redemptive power of God. The Pro – Life movement must continue to reflect mercy and forgiveness, in order to reach out to those most invested in so-called “abortion rights” and the destruction of humble, vulnerable human life.



THE PRO-LIFE MEMORY – LONGER & STRONGER THAN 40 YEARS
February 23, 2013, 1:38 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae | Tags:

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Memory is a faculty of the soul. The human memory has a great dignity about it, as part of our intellect – but it is driven, in a sense by the will, by the human heart. St Paul reminded his Christian friends in Philippi; “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil 4.8) So too, I am sure Paul would agree; remember these things!

A few years ago UnbornWordoftheday.com did a series of 6 posts reflecting on Mary’s memory of the early events of our Lord’s life; His unborn life within her initially, and then during His newborn period. [Links provided below.] As John Paul II said, “Mary is the memory of the Church.”

Similarly, each Pro-Life person is the memory of an enduring Culture of Life, that is born of the human soul first of all, but that is inspired and lifted up by revealed Christian faith as well. The eight point list St Paul gives us in Philippians is a superb guide to understanding – and recalling to mind – the wonderful Culture of Life that each Pro-Life person has witnessed and experienced. Our Respect-for-Life memory is in essence holy, going back long before the Roe vs. Wade decision of forty years ago. Likewise, the Pro-Life memory is sustained not only by human dignity, history and personal experience but, because it is holy in many respects, it is sustained too by Almighty God.

As Mary carried a germinating Credo of Christian faith within her heart – while carrying the Christ within her womb – so too each Pro-Life person carries within his/her heart a Culture of Life memory. Or rather you have been entrusted with this Gospel of Life, to carry it forward as a light; first as a light of memory to strengthen you in your own faith life, and secondly as a light to the nations to guide them back from the shipwrecked shoals of their culture of death, back to the Way that is: True, Honorable, Just, Pure, Lovely, Gracious, Excellent and Worthy of Praise.

Because human life is a gift from God and sacred, our Culture of Life memory is stronger than death and holy.

IN HER WOMB A DEVELOPING CHILD, IN HER HEART A DEVELOPING CREED – SHE EMBRACES BOTH!

THE GERMINATING CHRISTIAN CREED WAS REVEALED TO MARY INCREMENTALLY DURING HER PREGNANCY

MARY’S MAGNIFICAT IS A GLIMPSE INTO THE CREED TAKING HOLD IN HER HEART

GOD USES ZECHARIAH TO INSTRUCT MARY

AN ANGEL SPEAKS TO JOSEPH – MARY IS THE FIRST PERSON HE TELLS!

CAESAR AUGUSTUS & THE PROPHET MICAH SHOW MARY GOD’S PLAN



LUKE REVEALS MARY’S INNER REACTION TO THE BIRTH OF JESUS & A CHILDHOOD EVENT

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In the second chapter of Luke we are told on four different occasions how Mary (and Joseph) react and feel about words and events surrounding the birth, infancy and childhood of Jesus. Luke thus introduces us to the overlapping and harmonizing psychology and spirituality of Mary (and Joseph). This is instructive for the modern everyday Christian.

The angels appear to poor uneducated shepherds and entrust to them a proclamation for the entire world, for all time. The shepherds go down the hill and find the manger, and start recounting the words spoken to them about this Child; “all who heard it wondered”. Then the next verse, “But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart (Lk 2.19).

Eight days later, Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple. The holy man Simeon is inspired by the Holy Spirit to go to the Temple and speak to them about the Child. Luke specifically tells us that Joseph and Mary “marveled at what was said about him (the Child)” (Lk 2.33).

About twelve years later, Mary and Joseph bring the boy Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. Jesus becomes separated from them, and His parents seek “anxiously” for Him. After three days they find Him in the Temple and He was questioning and listening to the teachers. “All who heard him were amazed”. Luke then specifically says about Joseph and Mary; “And when they saw him they were astonished” (Lk 2.48).

Luke continues to recount this story about the finding of the boy Jesus in the Temple, advises that they all returned to Nazareth and Jesus was obedient to His parents, then this; “…and Mary kept all these things in her heart” (Lk 2.51).

In the 2nd chapter of Luke’s Gospel we are given a glimpse into the spiritual and devotional life of Mary. (This follows up on the 1st chapter presentation of Mary’s Magnificat, which similarly offers a window into the soul of Mary.)

In the Manger and in Nazareth Mary ponders, contemplates in the depths of her heart. In the Temple Mary is awestruck; marveling with astonishment. Mary interiorizes the remarkable truths and teachings about Jesus Christ, she will learn from them, grow in them, mature through them.

Mary lives the Gospel events as no other could, as no other did. As John Paul II says of her, she is the “memory” of the Church, and indeed she will share these events and meanings with the Church in due course.

The Litany in Honor of Mary the First Christian summarizes the scriptural recounting of the numerous Gospel events lived and uniquely experienced by Mary in her lifelong relationship with her most beloved Son Jesus Christ. mary-fst-eng-fr-large

Click here to order a free copy of Litany.



Let us resolve to make room for Jesus in our hearts during this year of faith
December 25, 2012, 8:43 am
Filed under: Christmas

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The Virgin and St. Joseph Refused Shelter in Bethlehem Jan Massys 1558

We want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

As many of you know this is the Year of Faith. Pope Benedict spoke eloquently this Christmas Eve asking us to find time for Jesus in the room of our hearts and minds. Here is the what he said:

“Do we have time and space for him? Do we not actually turn away God himself? We begin to do so when we have no time for him,”

“The faster we can move, the more efficient our time-saving appliances become, the less time we have. And God? The question of God never seems urgent. Our time is already completely full. Even if he seems to knock at the door of our thinking, he has to be explained away. If thinking is to be taken seriously, it must be structured in such a way that the ‘God hypothesis’ becomes superfluous,” he said. “There is no room for him. Not even in our feelings and desires is there any room for him. We want ourselves. We want what we can seize hold of, we want happiness that is within our reach, we want our plans and purposes to succeed. We are so ‘full’ of ourselves that there is no room left for God.”

I know when I read this it struck me as so true. Our world is structured in such a way that it seems to squeeze Christ out of our lives. There was no room for Christ at the Inn in Bethlehem 2000 years ago – let us resolve  anew to open our hearts and minds to make room for Him in this Year of Faith.



The Dream of St. Joseph by Francisco Rizi 1665, Indianapolis Museum of Art Indianapolis, Indiana
December 24, 2012, 11:17 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Indianapolis Museum of Art

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The Dream of St. Joseph Artist: Francisco Rizi

In a subject that became popular in Spain during the 17th century, an angel appears to St. Joseph in a dream and explains that Mary has miraculously conceived a child. The luminous angel points to a vision of Mary with the infant Christ in her womb and the dove of the Holy Spirit above her. The veneration of the expectant Virgin as protectress of women in childbirth was prevalent at the Spanish court and was promoted by the royal confessor. Francisco Rizi was the Spanish-born son of a Bolognese painter who went to work for Philip II at the Escorial in 1583. Rizi, who became royal painter to Philip IV in 1658, was also active as a stage designer.

“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’ (Mt 1:20-21).

There is a strict parallel between the “annunciation” in Matthew’s text and the one in Luke. The divine messenger introduces Joseph to the mystery of Mary’s motherhood. While remaining a virgin, she who by law is his “spouse” has become a mother through the power of the Holy Spirit. And when the Son in Mary’s womb comes into the world, he must receive the name Jesus. This was a name known among the Israelites and sometimes given to their sons. In this case, however, it is the Son who, in accordance with the divine promise, will bring to perfect fulfillment the meaning of the name Jesus-Yehos ua’ – which means ‘God saves.’ “   John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos 



Apokalypse Maria-Ekklesia by Gottfried Bernhard Goz 1749/50, Die Wallfahrtskirche Birnau, Lake Constance, Germany
December 21, 2012, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Die Wallfahrtskirche Birnau (The Pilgrimage Church of Birnau)

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Apokalypse Maria-Ekklesia (Presbyteriu Deckenfresko)

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Detail of Christ In the Womb

Birnau is a pilgrimage church at the shore of Lake Constance, between Meersburg and Überlingen. It was built in 1746-1749 for the Cistercians monastery of Salem (Germany) by Austrian architect Peter Thumb. The church interior features notable frescoes by Gottfried Bernhard Göz as well as altars and stucco ornaments in rococo style by Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer.

“In being born among us, may the Child Jesus not find us distracted or merely busy, beautifying our houses with decorative lights. Rather, let us deck our soul and make our families a worthy dwelling place where he feels welcomed with faith and love. May the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph help us to live the Mystery of Christmas with renewed wonder and peaceful serenity.” Benedict XVI General Audience, December 20 2006



Pregnant Madonna,The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption, Bogenberg, Austria
December 21, 2012, 8:18 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption (Pilgrimage church Mariä Himmelfahrt)

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The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption (Mariä Himmelfahrt) Shrine Interior

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Pregnant Madonna

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Pregnant Madonna (detail)

The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption in Altotting Bogenberg on a hill overlooking the Danube is the second largest and oldest pilgrimage site in Bavaria.
The special feature of the arc mountain church is the sculpture of the pregnant Madonna (window in the womb with baby Jesus).  Bogen’s greatest claim to fame is this shrine to Mary high atop Bogenberg.

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According to the legend, the Romanesque stone sculpture of Our Lady was found floating upstream on the Danube in 1104. In 1295 the chronicle of Oberalteich monastery for the first time mentions the legend of how the miracle-working statue which is revered in Bogenberg Church was found. According to that legend the statue had been floating upstream in the Danube and had landed on a rock in the river, which appears when the water level is low. This rock is still called “Marienstein”, i.e. Marys stone. Count Aswin of Bogen is said to have recovered the statue from the rock and to have taken it to the chapel of his castle. Then a church was built on Bogenberg Hill for the statue and the hill with the church was given to the monks of Oberalteich, who encouraged the pilgrimage to the miraculous statue. The statue shows Holy Mary heavy with child. It is also the reason why many of the pilgrims who came/come to Bogenberg were/are women praying for a good childbirth.

“In Advent Christ rested in Mary still, silent, helpless, utterly dependent. The Creator trusted Himself to His creature….This was a foreshadowing of what the Incarnation would mean for us; for in us too, Christ rests as He rested in Mary. From the moment when the Christ life is conceived in us, our life is intended for one thing, the expression of His love, His love for God and for the world…. We must allow the Christ life to grow in us in rest. Our whole being must fold upon Christ’s rest in us, as the earth folds upon the seed.” Caryll Houselander, The Passion of the Infant Christ (London: Sheed and Ward, 1949).



Virgin Mary “Of the Sign”, 15th Century, Mezquita Cathedral, Andalusia Cordoba, Spain
December 20, 2012, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Mezquita Cathedral

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Mezquita Cathedral (Interior)

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Virgin Mary  “of the Sign”

Fresco of Virgin Mary “of the Sign”: she is carrying Jesus in her womb. This mural is found in The Mezquita Cathedral of Cordoba, a Roman Catholic cathedral and former mosque, situated in the Andalusian city of Córdoba, Spain. Under the rule of Islam, it was built as the second-largest mosque in the world, and is perhaps the most accomplished monument of the Umayyad dynasty of Cordoba. After the Spanish Reconquista, it was transformed into a church, and some of the Islamic columns and arches were replaced by a basilica in early Baroque style. Today it houses the main church of the diocese of Cordoba in Spain.

“He, in her, carried on the blessed converse with His Father; there was never any separation between Mary and the Blessed Fruit of her womb, Jesus. She would come back to Him with all the more joy, and tell Him what she had been doing and saying…… When we think of Jesus praying for nine months to His Father, when we think of Mary’s nine months’ colloquy with Jesus, we begin to think that there is something wrong about our methods of prayer, that they need remodeling. Let us try to understand something of what His prayer was.”  Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi (London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., 1921), 90 91.

 



Gosler Town Hall Interior, 1505-1520, Goslar Town Hall Goslar Germany
December 18, 2012, 7:25 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Gosler Town Hall Interior

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Verkündigung Mariä

The Huldigungssaal in Goslar town hall was built from 1505 to 1520 as a Council Chamber. Here is a unique gem of late Gothic art : walls, ceiling and even the window recesses are completely lined with paintings. Varied carved tendrils crown the individual whiteboards. Each and every painting is a work of art that fits in with the overwhelming impression.. It took many years but the Huldigungssaal has now been restored, with security, climate and lighting upgraded to keep this unique ensemble of artwork in pristine condition.

“The Word took possession of her chaste womb, where He was to dwell for nine months the first nine months of His sojourn on this earth. And in that temple He at once began His work, that of loving God with a human heart……All His perfect acts of love, of praise, of reverence, of service, His acts of patience and humility, of meekness and suffering, of sacrifice and mort ification and all the rest, passed up to God through Mary. From that sacred temple a fragrant incense was continually rising to heaven “a sweet smelling savor”, sweeter than either earth or heaven had ever known before. For all those acts were perfect in God’s sight, worthy of His acceptance; they were the acts of a perfect man. And they were also infinite because they were at the same time the acts of God Himself.” Mother St. Paul, Nativitas Christi (London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., 1937), 145



Schwangere Maria – Pregnant Mary (Fragment of Altar wing), 1505, Swiss National Museum Zurich Switzerland
December 17, 2012, 11:40 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Swiss National Museum – Zurich,Switzerland

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Schwangere Maria – Pregnant Mary (Fragment of Altar wing)

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Unborn Jesus (detail)

Fragment of an altar wing. Pregnant Mary in a blue dress with a white cape in front of a red background. In the body of Mary the unborn child Jesus is visible. Anonymous painter. Tempera on wood frame: pine wood. 1505. Origin: Cham (ZG), Field Chapel. Dimensions: height 81 cm, width 17.7 cm.

“This divine touch within from within – one can almost envision a Sistine Chapel-like ceiling painting of God, not the Father but the little unborn Son, straining forward and reaching out His tiny finger towards the inner heart of Mary – His mother can almost give shape to God’s way of touching each human heart from deep within.”  Unborn Jesus Our Hope



Visitation and St. John the Baptist 15th and 17th Centuries, The Christian Museum, Esztergom, Hungary
December 17, 2012, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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The Christian Museum

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Visitation 15th Century

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St. John the Baptist (parts of a Deesis) 17th Century

This panel showing the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth was once in the village of Csegöld in Szatmár County in East Hungary. It was probably painted in the last years of the 15th century, tempera and gold on wood, and its style is close to the works created in Upper Hungary. In the company of a servant, the expectant Virgin visits her relative, Elizabeth, who is also with child. This is a frequently represented scene of the Virgin’s life, following the Annunciation. It is unusual, however, that the unborn babies are painted on the exterior of their mothers’ wombs. The Christ child turns with a blessing gesture towards the little Saint John the Baptist who is kneeling in adoration.

St. John the Baptist (parts of a Deesis) Moscow, late 17th c. tempera and silver on wood . The above painting is an example of one tradition of St. John the Baptist icons. In these icons the adult John the Baptist is  portrayed pointing to Christ Unborn. In his left hand he holds a chalice or charger and a scroll that reads, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world”.  With his right hand he points to the Christ Child (unborn).

“St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. “Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 3, 523.

“…when at her greeting, John (in the womb of Elizabeth and not yet born) was stirred with prophetic exaltation-as if even in his mother’s womb he were already crying out, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, behold the one who takes away the sins of the world’.” St. Leo the Great (A.D. 400?-461) Sermon 35



The Decree of Redemption by Konrad Witz, 15th Century, Gemäldegalerie Berlin Germany
December 16, 2012, 11:25 am
Filed under: Advent, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Gemäldegalerie Berlin Germany

Konrad Witz Trinity and Visitation

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The Decree of Redemption by Konrad Witz (Click here to see enlarged copy of painting)

Richly ornamented with a gold background this painting shows us the Divine sphere. The invisible Mystery of the Trinity is made  visible. God the Father sits on a throne. The book is opened. The Holy Spirit is hovering as a dove. Our redemption is being pondered. The Lamb looks to Christ who is worshiping the Father. The Son is being sent. The key locks the circle. The key starts at the heart of the Father and points to the halo of the Son where it ends with a cross. The Divine decree is the Incarnation of God – the Son is being sent for the Redemption of the world. The Innocent (the Lamb) is to be sacrificed in order to bring the Divine love to humanity.

The Incarnation has already taken place in the womb. The right section of the painting shows Mary and Elizabeth as pregnant women, with John and Jesus in their wombs. Here sits the unborn Baby Jesus in the womb of Mary as on a throne and the unborn John kneels, folds his hands and adores the Redeemer. The Divine is in the world. The thoughtful look of both Women indicates the understanding each has of the Unborn Redeemer. Mary is the Virgin with flowing hair and an open ear, she has just heard the word of the Angel affirmed by Elizabeth. Her blue dress of heavenly fidelity speaks the Magnificat. The letters of this song of praise adorn the Mantle of her cloak embroidered in gold Letters. Elizabeth is the old and wise woman in the red dress. She looks with love into the transcendent distance at the Counsel of Redemption. The views of  both women draw the viewer, to involve them in the wonder of this Event.

“O King of nations, as I look back through the ages and see the Child and His Mother so clearly set forth in promise and prophecy, in type and example, when I think of Thy plans for the Redemption of the world, made from all eternity and gradually unfolding as the fullness of time approached, when I think of the nations all desiring Thy coming, when I think of the intense desire of Thy loving Heart, there is one thing that seems to jar and to be out of harmony with the rest, and that is the lamentable want of desire in my own heart ! The time is very short now, the Child with His Mother are already on the way to Bethlehem. Oh! Let me multiply my Acts of Desire that my little King when He comes may be indeed my ‘desired One’ too.”  Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi, pp. 124.125.



Pregnant Virgin 1500 -1600, Cistercian convent, St.Marienstern Panschwitz-Kuckau Germany
December 15, 2012, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Cistercian convent, St.Marienstern

statue of Mary with Jesus in womb

Pregnant Virgin

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Maria in der Hoffnung

Our Lady Expecting, Our Lady of Hope

Pregnant Virgin

In 1996, Medievalist, Markus Bauer visited the Cistercian convent, St. Marienstern, in Panschwitz-Kuckau — a small village with a population of 2400 and located in the Sachsen part of the Lausitz area in search of material for an historical exhibit. The historian found three sculptures of the Blessed Virgin Mary, each with an opening in the stomach, where the viewer could see a miniature carving of the unborn Christ Child.

Such sculptures were highly valued devotional objects in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 19th century, this type of devotional image no longer spoke to the souls of the sisters in the same way, so they hung a cloth over the stomach opening, or they nailed the opening closed. Since the covering for one of these Marian figures was missing, it was put away in a remote cell, where it stayed to the present time.

“It would simply weary the reader to repeat almost word for word this description of our dearest Lord’s life in the Womb, changing the phrases to apply it to the Blessed Sacrament. The parallel is so complete, that it must already have suggested itself; and I have dwelt upon it at greater length, because, as the devotion to the life in the womb is especially a devotion of interior souls, so the corresponding thoughts with regard to the Blessed Sacrament are those which are most familiar to interior souls in their prayers before the tabernacle; and again as all the mysteries of the Sacred Infancy take their color and character from the life in the womb, to establish the analogy between it and the Blessed Sacrament is in truth to establish the analogy between the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Infancy altogether.”   The Blessed Sacrament, Fr. F. W. Faber