UNBORN WORD of the day


Advent vs. Distractions: Jesus in Mary’s womb – A model for our prayer
December 10, 2007, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Advent, Unborn Jesus

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Our Lord’s first words ‑ uttered from the womb ‑ are not recorded in any of the Gospels, but in the book of Hebrews. The first act of Jesus Christ after His Incarnation is a prayer offering Himself and His human body to the Father:

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired,
but a body hast thou prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
thou hast taken no pleasure.
Then I said, “Lo, I have come to do Thy will, O God,’
as it is written of me in the roll of the book.”
(Heb 10:5‑7) (see link on sidebar for further explanation)

These words (foretold in Psalm 40) ‑ are the only words known to be spoken by Unborn Jesus (or by any unborn child for that matter). Pope Paul VI referred to this prayer as “the fundamental offering that the Incarnate Word made to the Father when He entered the world”. The point here is that this prayer was not offered prior to the Incarnation but rather after it had occurred.

In her book Ortus Christi, Mother St. Paul links this fundamental offering of Christ to our prayer.

“What was the essence of His prayer (during those nine months)? What was it which lay behind all? It was the intention. And what was that? We have meditated on it many times: “Behold I come to do Thy Will O my God.”

Naturally there are many different ways of doing that Will, and many different degrees in the perfection with which it is done; and that is why we are quite safe in picturing to ourselves Jesus in the womb of His mother forgetting no single detail; or perhaps a truer picture would be a union with His Father so perfect that there was no need to talk about what was so evident.

Now let us apply this to myself and I will find that instead of being discouraging , it is most encouraging, instead of making my prayers harder it will make them far easier.

What is the intention in my prayers? Is it not to please God and to do His Will? …Now let me see how this works out in practice. I pay a visit to our Lord, perhaps I am too tired to think about Him, I may even sleep in His Presence; perhaps I am so busy that I find it impossible to keep away distracting thoughts…the time is up and I go, thinking, perhaps, what is the good of paying Him a visit like that?

There is great good even in that visit which all the same might have been so much more perfect. What was my intention in paying it? Certainly to please Him. Then I have pleased Him. It was a pleasure to Him to see me come in and sit with Him, even though I was occupied with my own concerns most of the time. We are too much taken up with asking how we say our prayers, but the important question is why do we say them.

To go and sit in His presence because He is lonely or because I am tired and I would rather sit with Him than anyone else is prayer even if I say nothing. What God is doing for me is of far more importance to my soul than what I am doing for God; and all the time that I am there, whether I am thinking of Him or not, He is impressing His image on my soul…”

JUST 14 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!



The Greatest moment in Unborn History
December 9, 2007, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Advent, Unborn Jesus

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Umbert the Unborn

(POSTED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE ARTIST*)

Throughout human history there has only been one redemptive pregnancy. Eve’s first pregnancy, with Cain, was a prototypical pregnancy, but was not a redemptive pregnancy. When Abraham’s wife Sarah was pregnant with Isaac it was a pregnancy of promise and destiny, but not redemptive. When famous mothers or mothers of famous children were pregnant their pregnancies were perhaps remarkable or noteworthy, but not redemptive. And when your mother was pregnant with you, it was a very special pregnancy, but not redemptive. Only the pregnancy of Mary of Nazareth was, in every sense of the word, Redemptive: a pregnancy which Christians can discover by faith, and in our present age must discover.

Right from the start, and providentially so, the Incarnation and the redemptive pregnancy of Mary the mother of Unborn Jesus are filled with hope from on high. A hushed whisper of hope for undeserving humanity. Hope for every family. Hope for every mother. Hope for every unborn child.

Many unborn children today have few friends. Enter Unborn
Jesus, the best friend of each unborn child. Now that the unborn are fiercely persecuted and disdained, the first unborn child comes to be identified with them completely, in every possible way. And He calls out to the Church to be discovered, understood and loved. Does God love unborn children? Unborn Jesus answered that question for nine months and forever.

From Unborn Jesus Our Hope

JUST 15 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!

*We would like to thank Gary Cangemi for permitting us to use his wonderful cartoon.



The Immaculate Conception: A Worthy Dwelling for the son of God
December 8, 2007, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Mother of the Lord

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Jean Bellegambe
Saint Anne conceiving the Virgin Mary

Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse

Yesterday, December 8th was the feastday of the Immaculate Conception (Mary’s conception within the womb of her mother St. Anne). We want to thank Dan Engler for sending the above painting to us representing this wondrous mystery of our faith. Below is a quote from Cardinal Berulle describing God’s miraculous involvement in Mary’s life.

“He happily preserved her from all offense, He adorns her with all grace. He makes her worthy of carrying him and receiving him into the world. He comes into her as into his tabernacle. He rests for nine moths in her as on his throne. He comes to us through her.” Cardinal Berulle, Vie de Jesus.

JUST 16 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!



THE DESIRED OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME
December 7, 2007, 8:14 am
Filed under: Advent

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Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Jan van Eyck*

Mother St. Paul gives a wonderful summation of how God prepared His people and our world to receive the Messiah. She ends the reflection with a beautiful prayer.

“The desired of all the nations shall come” Haggai 2:7 (Douay-Rheims)

“Ever since God at the time of man’s fall had made His great promise concerning the Woman and her Seed, He that was to come had been to the nations “their desired One,” That promise had been carefully cherished, handed on from father to son till Moses came and recorded it in the book of Genesis ; and though of necessity one nation had to be selected to which the Woman and her Seed were to belong, yet the promise was given to all nations and all claimed their share in it.

The chosen nation through whom all the others were to be blessed was Abraham’s. Through him and his seed the great promise was to be fulfilled (Gen. 12:3) The time was hinted at in the patriarch Jacob’s blessing to Judah : “The sceptre shall not be taken away from Judah, nor a ruler from his thigh, till He come that is to be sent and He shall be the expectation of nations” (Gen.49:10).

The house or family which was to have the joy of realizing the promise was David’s; the place where the Woman was to bring forth her Seed was Bethlehem. Here “she that travaileth shall bring forth” and here”shall He come. . that is to be the Ruler in Israel” (Mich. 2.3). Each subsequent prophecy or promise developed and enlarged the original one given in Eden…

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 Your 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 Your coming, when I think of the intense desire of Your 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

*In this beautiful painting are Jewish prophets and pagan writers all who waited for the Messiah. We also see women and men who were martyred for the faith, the Twelve Apostles as well as Popes, and Bishops and Priests – all surrounding the desire of their hearts – the Mystic Lamb, Jesus.

JUST 18 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!




God’s whisper
December 5, 2007, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Advent, Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus

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“God does not come in the thunder, but in the April breeze. Because he does not shout but only whispers, the soul must be careful not to neglect the visitation.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Lift Up Your Hearts.

When God first came to us it was in the most hidden, silent and ordinary way; first in his mother’s womb and then, as a baby in a manger. In the Old Testament God prepared His people for this hidden way.

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isaiah: 11: 1

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7 13-14

“The LORD has created a new thing upon the earth: the woman must encompass the man with devotion.” Jeremiah 31:22

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient days…” Micah 5: 2

Recall also how the prophet Elijah sought God in a cave on Mount Horeb (I Kings 19:9‑13). God made Himself known to Elijah not in power and might, but rather in “a still small voice” which Elijah heard from within the cave. So, too, here in this Bethlehem cave, amidst the hushed prayers and whisperings of humans and angels alike, soon would come a little cry of newborn Divinity, muffled so as not to frighten any away – “a still small voice”.

Let us listen to the ‘whisper’ of Christ in the womb. Let us quiet ourselves so we can hear the still, small voice in the manger. It is in such quiet events that God normally speaks to us.

JUST 19 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!



The Way of the Child Messiah
December 4, 2007, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Advent, Biblical Reflections

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Sistine Chapel Ceiling: The Prophet Isaiah
Michelangelo Buonarroti

Many Bible scholars explain that chapters 7‑12 of Isaiah form a distinct section ‑ the Book of Immanuel ‑ in which we find repeated references to the Messiah. But within this “Book of Immanuel”, there are a number of references to the Messiah as a baby and small child. This unique prophetic perspective on the Child Messiah is fascinating, and should be of great interest to our modern world. Let’s consider some of these verses:

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’…. “Isaiah 9:6

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6

Isaiah, under the influence of the Spirit of God, focuses on a ‘child’ (a son) who is the Messiah and more, he is Immanuel (God with us), Mighty God and Prince of Peace. And in some real way, this ‘little child shall lead’ us. Not by mere coincidence has the Church come to love these prophetic passages with a tender passion. The Church sees the incarnational mystery revealed here in beauty, hope and peace.

Now if Isaiah was attracted by this ‘child’, can you imagine how Mary (after she had conceived the Son of God) felt as she recalled the words: “…the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and name him Immanuel”. For Mary was the virgin chosen by God to fulfill this prophecy and her unborn baby was the promised One. But all Christians should share in that same prophetic joy and anticipation at hearing “to us a child is born” and “to us a son is given”. To us Unborn Jesus was sent as a sign of hope ‑ and for every vulnerable unborn child: He is their only Hope.

JUST 20 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!



THE GREAT MESSIANIC/EUCHARISTIC PROPHECY
December 3, 2007, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Advent, The Eucharist

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It was one of the lesser known prophets that actually named names in his prophecy:

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.” Micah 5:2

Bethlehem! The name means “house of bread”. God pulled out all the stops when He inspired this prophecy. There is a long prophetic line – a “bread line” – straight through the history of the Jewish people which culminates in the birth of Jesus “the Bread of Life”, in Bethlehem “the house of Bread”. Let’s take a look.

First there was Melchizedek, the priest king of Salem, way back in the time of Abraham (Gen 14:13-24). He brought out bread and wine as an offering, and in the name of “God Most High, maker of heaven and earth” blessed Abraham.

Then there was the unleavened bread of the Passover (Exodus 12) which the people were instructed to prepare and eat (with the lamb). And this has been celebrated every year, just as Jesus celebrated it with His apostles on the night before He died.

Remember the Manna! The people asked, “What is it?” Moses answered: “It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat” (Ex 16:11-16). (The Lord told Moses he would “rain bread from heaven” for the people to collect daily.) A portion of this wafer-like bread was apparently to be kept in the ark of the covenant (Ex 16:31-34). In subsequent centuries during Temple worship flour offerings were routinely made in the form of unleavened cake/bread kneaded with oil.

When Micah made his prophecy about Bethlehem, no one could have imagined how its fulfillment would also embody the fullness of Israelite worship and sacrifice. The fulfillment came with the birth of the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. But Christ continued its fulfillment in various ways throughout His life: the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the teaching of the Lord’s Prayer (“give us this day our daily bread”), His sermon in John 6 (note His sermon rejected in Jn 6:66), the Last Supper, and after His resurrection in Emmaus when He revealed Himself through the blessing of the bread and again when He prepares a meal on the beach for His apostles of cooked fish and bread (Jn 21:9-14) and was revealed to them through this.

So Micah’s prophecy is truly Eucharistic. The Church continues in its worship today the fulfillment of the Bethlehem miracle (and keeps a portion of the wafer-like Eucharist in the tabernacle). Join this “bread line” and participate in the daily fulfillment of prophecy.

JUST 21 MORE PRAYING DAYS ‘TIL CHRIST’S BIRTH!