UNBORN WORD of the day


“And What I Have Failed To Do…” Father Pavone on the Election
February 29, 2008, 10:47 am
Filed under: Inspirational Pro-life leaders, Pro-life

As anyone who reads this blog knows we have a lot of respect for Father Pavone. Recently (Feb. 11, 2008) Father Pavone wrote the following on the upcoming election (8 months away). We felt it was an important statement and would clear up some of the questions and concerns that many people have posed during this election cycle. Here are links to both this particular statement as well as to Father’s blog.

 

personalheader2.jpg

“And What I Have Failed To Do…”

by

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

 

What’s this I hear from some people that they might “sit out” the Presidential election because they aren’t comfortable with the likely choice of candidates?

Since when are elections supposed to make us “comfortable?” Since when do we exercise that right to vote, for which people fought and died, only when it’s easy and clear-cut, and our choices are just the way we want them to be?

At Mass we pray, “I confess to Almighty God…that I have sinned…in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do…

What we fail to do can make us just as guilty as what we do. A sin is a wrong choice, and to decide not to do something is just as much of a choice as to decide to do something.

A sin of omission is still a sin – and we are still responsible for the results.

What, then, makes us think that we are more responsible for the results of voting than for the results of not voting?

A vote is not a philosophical statement. It is a transfer of power. It is a pragmatic act to preserve, as much as possible under the circumstances, the common good, and to limit the evils that threaten it.

And in the pragmatic matter of elections, what matters is not how closely a candidate measures up to my preferences and convictions. Instead, it’s a question of who can and will actually get elected. It does little good if the person I felt most comfortable supporting doesn’t get to actually govern and implement those positions I like so much.

The vote can be used just as much to keep someone out of office as to put someone in.

If we fail to use that tool, however, and as a result the person who gets elected is far worse and does far more damage than the other person we did not like, then we still share responsibility for the damage that will be done.

Elections have seasons. In the earliest phases, the field is wide open. We can recruit candidates, or decide to run ourselves. We build up the name recognition and base of support for the person or people who would make the best candidate. This takes years of work.

Then the season of primaries arrives, during which voters choose between the candidates who have been recruited and who have been building up their strength.

Then the general election season arrives, and we may find that we don’t like any of the names on the ballot. At that point, we have to shift our thinking and focus on “better” rather than “best.” The reality usually is that one of several unsatisfactory candidates will in fact be elected. So we use our vote to create the better outcome and to limit the damage. That’s the shift that some fail to make.

And we are still responsible for what we fail to do.



UNBORN WORD ALLIANCE ANNOUNCES LATEST PROJECT – GOSPEL OF LIFE CARDS
February 27, 2008, 11:04 am
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae

gol-cards17-thmb-women-today1.jpg

We are excited to announce the completion of our latest project: a set of ten beautiful Gospel of Life cards – each card on a different topic – which feature quotes from John Paul II’s prophetic Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, issued March 25, 1995.

WHY DID WE DO IT? For years we have been big fans of John Paul’s inspiring Letter. But it is not “an easy read”. We thought these cards would be a “user friendly” way to introduce people to the important message and great ideas contained in this Church document. The cards feature ten important topics and present a total of 56 quotes from the document (averaging 5.5 quotes per card). Click on picture below to see snapshot photos of the ten cards.

gol-card-collection1.jpg

THE TEN TOPICS CONSIDERED ARE:

  • THE GOSPEL OF LIFE 101
  • HOPE & JOY AND THE GOSPEL OF LIFE
  • PRAYER & THE GOSPEL OF LIFE
  • CHURCH TEACHING & THE GOSPEL OF LIFE
  • PSALM 139 & THE GOSPEL OF LIFE
  • THE TWO CULTURES & THE GOSPEL OF LIFE
  • UNBORN JESUS & THE GOSPEL OF LIFE
  • WOMEN OF THE BIBLE & THE GOSPEL OF LIFE
  • WOMEN TODAY & THE GOSPEL OF LIFE
  • THE CHRISTIAN & THE GOSPEL OF LIFE

The set of ten “Quote Cards” or “Topic Cards” provides a cross section of key concepts and teachings found in this important Letter to the Church of our time. The teachings are compelling and inspirational, yet at the same time consoling to Pro – Life Christians struggling to promote a genuine Culture of Life within a world often embracing the culture of death.

It is our sincere desire that thousands of Christians will find these cards to be a welcome introduction to one of the most prophetic works of our time: THE GOSPEL OF LIFE by Pope John Paul II.

To learn more about obtaining these cards click here.



Our Lady of Guadalupe and The New Evangelization
February 23, 2008, 4:50 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II, Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus

ind_virgen.jpg

“Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you .”

These wonderful words were the words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego when she appeared to him in 1531.

These words are still relevant today as Archbishop Burke reminded us in a homily he gave in 2005 at the new Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe that he has helped establish in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Here are some interesting quotes from this homily.

“…our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II placed the mission of the Church in America, at the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium, under the protection of the Virgin of Guadalupe and commended her to us as the Star to lead us to Christ and, in Christ, to the conversion of our personal lives and the transformation of our world.”

Archbishop Burke calls this apparition “the mystery of the Visitation as it was experienced on our continent in 1531. The woman clothed with the sun, bearing the Infant Savior, the Anointed, in her womb, appeared to Saint Juan Diego, from December 9 to 12, 1531, in order that a chapel be built in which she might manifest the all-generous and never-failing merciful love of God for us, incarnate in her womb and alive for us in the Church, above all, in the Sacrament of the Real Presence, the Holy Eucharist.”

He reminds us that “…she has desired to remain with us always, in order that the mystery of the Visitation might be always new for us. She has miraculously left her living image on the tilma or mantle of Saint Juan Diego. In the magnificent basilica built to her honor, in which the tilma of Saint Juan Diego is enthroned, the Mother of God continues to visit pilgrims and to announce to them the great mystery of God’s all-loving and never-failing mercy.”

And that just as “… in 1531, she inspired her sons and daughters to abandon the horror of human sacrifice and to respect the inviolable dignity of every man, both the Native American and the European, so now she inspires us to be tireless disciples of the Gospel of Life, working to end the horror of procured abortion and so-called “mercy-killing,” and to promote the respect for the dignity of every human life from the moment of inception to the moment of natural death.”

This is relevant because “Pope John Paul II commended the Virgin of Guadalupe to us as the Mother of America and the Star of the New Evangelization.”



She hastened with holy joy across the mountains – she carries the hope of the world in her womb
February 20, 2008, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Pope Benedict XVI

visitation_sm.jpg

On November 30, 2007 Pope Benedict issued the encyclical letter, “SPE SALVI facti sumus“-in hope we were saved. Here is an excerpt from this, his second Encyclical letter.

“So we cry to her: Holy Mary, you belonged to the humble and great souls of Israel who, like Simeon, were ‘looking for the consolation of Israel’ (Lk 2:25) and hoping, like Anna, ‘for the redemption of Jerusalem’ (Lk 2:38).

Your life was thoroughly imbued with the sacred scriptures of Israel which spoke of hope, of the promise made to Abraham and his descendants (cf. Lk 1:55).

In this way we can appreciate the holy fear that overcame you when the angel of the Lord appeared to you and told you that you would give birth to the One who was the hope of Israel, the One awaited by the world. Through you, through your “yes”, the hope of the ages became reality, entering this world and its history. You bowed low before the greatness of this task and gave your consent: ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word’ (Lk 1:38).

When you hastened with holy joy across the mountains of Judea to see your cousin Elizabeth, you became the image of the Church to come, which carries the hope of the world in her womb across the mountains of history.” #50

SPE SALVI, BENEDICT XVI



UNBORN JESUS IS THE CONSOLATION OF THE PRO LIFE MOVEMENT
February 18, 2008, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Pro-life, Unborn Jesus

giotto_presentatie-tempel.jpg

Presentation in the Temple
Giotto ca. 1267 – 1337

When Mary and Joseph were leaving the Temple with their newborn baby Jesus after the rite of purification had been celebrated according to the law of Moses, they encountered a man inspired by the Holy Spirit named Simeon (Lk 2:22-35). The evangelist Luke introduces Simeon this way: “this man was righteous and devout looking for the consolation of Israel”. Thanks be to God, Simeon realized then and there that the baby Jesus was “the consolation of Israel“! Yes, and “the hope of Israel“!

Similarly, for Pro Life people, we can look at Unborn Jesus and discover tremendous reasons for hope. Unborn Jesus is “the consolation of the Pro Life Movement”! If you contemplate Unborn Jesus, you see Him in solidarity with all unborn children. Just as a beautiful prism reveals glorious reflections, so unborn children when viewed through the prism-like life of the Unborn Christ, are seen anew in their sacred dignity. The image and likeness of God is beautifully magnified within these tiny persons.

When the adult Jesus wanted to capture the attention of the fisherman by the shores of Galilee he told them to cast their nets out and they were suddenly inundated by fish to the point of their nets breaking and their boats sinking (Lk 5:4-11). Well, one way Jesus captures the attention of Pro Life people is simply by coming to us as an unborn baby Himself. And He brings consolation, encouragement and hope to all who are Pro Life, so that we can imitate the faith of Abraham: “Hoping against hope, he believed…(Rom 4:18).”

Hoping against hope, the Pro – Life Movement prays and works for Life.



THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB
February 18, 2008, 8:34 am
Filed under: Saints, The Incarnation

edithstein.jpg

Here is a quote from Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

” ‘He saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband’ (Rv 21:2 and 9ff.). As Christ himself descended to earth from heaven, so too his Bride, the holy church, originated in heaven. She is born of the grace of God, indeed descended with the Son of God himself; she is inextricably bound to him. She is built of living stones; her cornerstone was laid when the Word of God assumed our human nature in the womb of the Virgin. At that time there was woven between the soul of the divine Child and the soul of the Virgin Mother the bond of the most intimate unity which we call betrothal…”

Marriage of the Lamb, For September 14, 1940



Woman, behold your son
February 15, 2008, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae, Pro-life, The Incarnation

baby-in-womb.jpgbaby-in-womb-001.jpg

“Like the Church, Mary too had to live her motherhood amid suffering: ‘This child is set … for a sign that is spoken against – and a sword will pierce through your own soul also – that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed’ (Lk 2:34-35). The words which Simeon addresses to Mary at the very beginning of the Saviour’s earthly life sum up and prefigure the rejection of Jesus, and with him of Mary, a rejection which will reach its culmination on Calvary.

‘Standing by the cross of Jesus’ (Jn 19:25), Mary shares in the gift which the Son makes of himself: she offers Jesus, gives him over, and begets him to the end for our sake.

The ‘yes’ spoken on the day of the Annunciation reaches full maturity on the day of the Cross, when the time comes for Mary to receive and beget as her children all those who become disciples, pouring out upon them the saving love of her Son: ‘When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son!’ (Jn 19:26).” Evangelium Vitae, #103

Mary was called in a special way and her heart was pierced in a way that we can never fathom. Among women, only she had a heart anointed, for her mission to love all as her children.

But don’t you also feel a sword pierce your heart when you look upon these innocent children who are aborted? Don’t you sense Christ calling you to love these little ones in a special way?

 

Note: First Eve was called ‘Woman’ (Gen 2:23 and also in Chapter 3). John the Evangelist records Jesus calling His mother by the title ‘Woman’ two times: during the marriage feast at Cana (Jn 2:4) and during His crucifixion (Jn 19:26). John also refers to Mary by the title ‘Woman’ (the ‘Second Eve’ as the Fathers of the Church also called her) many times in Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelations.

P.S. I obtained the bumper sticker featured above from Kara Vereault when I was at the March for Life January 22, 2008. She and Kim Achorn of Shepherd’s Path had the bumper stickers made up.



nine months to pray that unborn children are winners in the election
February 14, 2008, 1:18 am
Filed under: Prayer, Pro-life

lapel_pin_smaller.jpg

The election this November will address many serious issues – probably the most important of these is the abortion issue.

The election is roughly nine months from now. And during the next nine months we can remind ourselves often of the plight of the unborn and pray for their rights .

Nine months, of course, symbolizes for pro-lifers that sacred period ordained by God for each unborn child to grow and develop according to the plan of God.

Let us pray that unborn children will be the real winners in this election – that is that their rights will become better understood and more fully protected through the political (and judicial) process.

During the next nine months we can show solidarity for the unborn in various ways – particularly by surrounding them with our love and praying fervently for their rights during this election cycle.

Happy St. Valentine’s feast day!



Signs of Hope
February 13, 2008, 12:18 am
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae, Pro-life

crux-sanclemente.jpg

“You have come to the sprinkled blood” (cf. Heb 12: 22, 24): signs of hope and invitation to commitment.

Here are a few quotes from the Gospel of Life where John Paul II reminds us to have hope:

“The blood of Christ, while it reveals the grandeur of the Father’s love, shows how precious man is in God’s eyes and how priceless the value of his life….”

“It is from the blood of Christ that all draw the strength to commit themselves to promoting life. It is precisely this blood that is the most powerful source of hope, indeed it is the foundation of the absolute certitude that in God’s plan life will be victorious. ‘And death shall be no more’, exclaims the powerful voice which comes from the throne of God in the Heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21:4)….”

“In effect, signs which point to this victory are not lacking in our societies and cultures, strongly marked though they are by the “culture of death….”

“Unfortunately it is often hard to see and recognize these positive signs, perhaps also because they do not receive sufficient attention in the communications media….”

 

Here are signs of hope for the Pro-life movement:

1. We all know that more states are passing Pro-life legislation. Each year Americans United for Life has an annual report on the progress made: Changing Law to Protect Human Life, State by State.

2. There are more Pro-life Pregnancy Crisis Centers in the U.S. than abortion providers. In an a pro-abortion article in the Palm Beach Post called The New War on Abortion it states:

“Abortion opponents are running thousands of centers, called crisis pregnancy centers — dispensing everything from baby clothes to free ultrasound pictures to prayer. There are as many as 4,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the U.S. and about 130 in Florida.

By comparison, about 1,800 centers in the U.S. provide abortions.”

3. Pro-lifers are coming up with new and innovative ways to bring the Pro-life message to our country. Here are four examples:

Truth Booth TruthBooths” are kiosks or carts set up at local malls showing 3D and 4D ultrasound images of babies in the womb.

Bound4Life A group of young people who stand before abortion clinics, courts and other public places praying and fasting in silence with red duct tape across their mouths. On the duct tape is written only one word: LIFE

wallsnow.jpg

Silent No More The Silent No More Awareness Campaign is an effort to make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to women, men, and their families. Women and Men whose lives have been affected by abortion speak out.

Crossroads Young people walking across America to save lives.

walkapp.gif

 

4. Embryonic stem cell research alternative:

As we have all heard scientists in Japan and Wisconsin were able to create embryonic-like stem cells from skin cells without the destruction of human life.

Here are two interesting quotes from articles on this subject:

Scientist at Work | Shinya Yamanaka
Risk Taking Is in His Genes

“When I saw the embryo, I suddenly realized there was such a small difference between it and my daughters,” said Dr. Yamanaka, 45, a father of two and now a professor at the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences at Kyoto University. “I thought, we can’t keep destroying embryos for our research. There must be another way.”

After years of searching, and at times almost giving up in despair, Dr. Yamanaka may have found that alternative. Last month, his was one of two groups of researchers that independently announced they had successfully turned adult skin cells into the equivalent of human embryonic stem cells without using an actual embryo…

And just this week scientists at UCLA have replicated this research -Here is what one of the scientists at UCLA had to say about this research:

Kathrin Plath, an assistant professor of biological chemistry at UCLA and lead author of the study, told the Daily Breeze that the stem cells they created “were virtually indistinguishable from human embryonic stem cells.” “We’re very excited about the implications of this,” she said. Full story at LifeNews.com.

There are many more new signs of hope but we thought we would highlight a few – we all need a dose of hope.

 

 



WHEN IT COMES TO PRAYER – SOMETIMES GOD CHEATS
February 10, 2008, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae, Quotes from Great Christians, Saints

prayer-st-dominic.jpg

The Seventh Way of Prayer – St. Dominic
While praying, he (St. Dominic) was often seen to reach towards heaven like an arrow which has been shot from a taut bow straight upwards into the sky.*

Towards the end of the Gospel of Life, John Paul II gives us an important reminder about “prayer” and fasting. He does this to help us be properly prepared for the Pro – Life battle:

“Jesus himself has shown us by his own example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil (cf. Mt 4:1-11). As he taught his disciples, some demons cannot be driven out except in this way (cf. Mk 9:29). Let us therefore discover anew the humility and the courage to pray and fast so that power from on high will break down the walls of lies and deceit: the walls which conceal from the sight of so many of our brothers and sisters the evil of practices and laws which are hostile to life.”

Notice in the above quote John Paul II points out the need for “humility and courage to pray and fast”. This reminds me of a sermon given by St. Francis de Sales on March 29, 1615 regarding “The Spirit of Prayer”. Here is an excerpt:

“for do you not see how a marksman with a crossbow, when he wishes to discharge a large arrow, draws the string of his bow lower the higher he wants it to go? Thus must we do when we wish our prayer to reach Heaven; we must lower ourselves by the awareness of our nothingness. David admonishes us to do so by these words: When you wish to pray, plunge yourself profoundly into the abyss of your nothingness that you may be able afterward, without difficulty, to let your prayer fly like an arrow even up to the heavens. [Cf. Ps. 130:1-2; Sir. 35:21].”

De Sales compares prayer to the shooting of an arrow “up to the heavens”. I would like to ask if we shoot our prayer up to God in Heaven, exactly what are we aiming at? His Heart perhaps? Imagine, if you will, a target in Heaven like that used by a common archer here below. We supplicants, weary and wayward as we are, shoot our prayer heavenward but the target seems to elude us – except that God hears our prayer before we say it and he sees that arrow before it is released. God moves that heavenly target so that it meets the arrow – your arrow – your prayer is mercifully heard by God, your prayer is lovingly received by God. God cheats sometimes because of our incapacity. What we lack He makes up for in Mercy.

*Taken from the Nine Ways of Prayer – the Nine Ways of Prayer was written by an anonymous Bolognese author, sometime between A.D. 1260 and A.D. 1288, whose source of information was, among other followers of St. Dominic, Sister Cecilia of Bologna’s Monastery of St. Agnes. Sister Cecilia had been given the habit by St. Dominic himself. “The Nine Ways of Prayer” has been sometimes printed as a supplement to “The Life of St. Dominic” by Theodoric of Apoldia, though they aren’t an actual part of that work.



THE PEOPLE OF LIFE AND FOR LIFE
February 9, 2008, 1:31 am
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae

march04lg.jpg

The people of life and for life‘, that is the way John Paul II describes the Church in his prophetic Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae; The Gospel of Life. This identifying phrase runs through the Letter, appearing about ten times. According to John Paul this is a distinct and powerful charism of the Church in our time and must continue to be. As we have mentioned before in our UNBORNWORDoftheday, John Paul was not ashamed or embarrassed to identify himself, along with the Church, as “Pro-Life“. In fact, he used this term a number of times in The Gospel of Life with dignity, honor and conviction.

“We are the people of life because God, in his unconditional love, has given us the Gospel of life and by this same Gospel we have been transformed and saved.” #79

“To all the members of the Church, the people of life and for life, I make this most urgent appeal, that together we may offer this world of ours new signs of hope, and work to ensure that justice and solidarity will increase and that a new culture of human life will be affirmed, for the building of an authentic civilization of truth and love.” #6

“The ‘people of life‘ rejoices in being able to share its commitment with so many others. Thus may the ‘people for life’ constantly grow in number and may a new culture of love and solidarity develop for the true good of the whole of human society.” #101

“To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop.” #101



40 DAYS OF LENT, 40 WEEKS OF PREGNANCY, 40 YEARS OF WANDERING
February 7, 2008, 12:17 am
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Pro-life

egyptiansahara.jpg

In yesterday’s post we talked about the number 40 (Noah, Moses, Jesus and so on).

But we didn’t mention all of the forty-something episodes. There are more than one would expect. (For example, the prophet Elijah was sent by God to Mount Horeb which was a 40 day journey; I Kg 19:8).

pregnant203.jpg

Interestingly, often the 40 days (or years) is linked to a journey or a time of enduring. So we were appropriately stunned today when one of our Newsletter subscribers (Thanks M_____!) pointed out that a pregnancy is typically 40 weeks long (actually the normal range is 38 to 42 weeks). This is fascinating when one considers that our faith holds up for us the 40 years the people of Israel wandered in the desert and the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness as critical periods of formation for a people and a Person. So, in pregnancy we see that every growing unborn/preborn human is specially “formed” for his or her mission in life in those first 40 weeks. And the mother experiences a challenge also (Thanks Eve!).

The unborn baby and the mother are undergoing a primordial preparation TOGETHER! This is an incredible aspect of pregnancy, too obvious sometimes to appreciate, that mother and child together are striving towards a shared goal at the end of the 40 weeks. Both persons – in their bodies and in their souls – are being formed, prepared, challenged. God wants to help the woman through this time by providing her with the example of Christ (in the wilderness for 40 days) and also with a “communion of saints” of Israelites who endured the famous 40 year trek and all women past and present who have gone through this journey of pregnancy.

To carry a baby for 40 weeks and then give birth to him or her is a near mystical experience. During this 40 weeks of preparation, God heaps upon the woman opportunities to discover life’s tender and timeless mysteries. And for the unborn baby, well, Unborn Jesus is watching over this little one in supernatural solidarity!

Finally, the Pope’s Lenten Message (2008) can speak to the pregnant woman’s heart, for pregnancy, like Lent, is a “process of interior renewal” which “stimulates us to rediscover the mercy of God” and can help us to “learn to make of our lives a total gift”. Benedict reminds us that: “When we do things out of love, we express the truth of our being; indeed, we have been created not for ourselves but for God and our brothers and sisters (cf. 2 Cor 5,15).”



Moses, Mary and the Burning Bush
February 6, 2008, 12:16 am
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Incarnation

moses_small.jpg

Today is Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent. Forty is a number used often in the Bible and is the reason that Lent has 40 days (Sunday’s don’t count). In Noah’s time it rained for 40 days and nights, the people of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years, Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and most importantly Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days.

In the Acts of the Apostles we are told that, after Moses fled Egypt he was in the land of Midian for 40 years: “And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the desert of mount Sinai, an angel in a flame of fire in a bush.” (Acts 7:30) So Moses was prepared by God for 40 years before the Burning Bush event, the turning point in his life and a turning point in human history.

But did you know that the Burning Bush has often been seen as a symbol of Mary who carried God within her womb?

“The bush, then (as some hold) is a prefiguration of the Virgin Mary since she made the Savior blossom forth, like a rose growing out of the bush of her human body; or rather, because she brought forth the power of the divine radiance without being consumed by it. Hence we read in Exodus: ‘The Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and looked and behold the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed’ (Ex 3:2) ” Rabanus Maurus (Benedictine Monk d. 780)

St. Gregory, the fourth century Bishop of Nyssa, seems to have been the first to connect the idea of Moses and the burning bush to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Gregory wrote in his On the Birth of Christ that as the bush was in flames, but not consumed, so Mary had God present inside her and was not consumed.

In Eastern Christian tradition the Burning Bush is seen as a symbol of Mary – The burning bush appeared to Moses in Exodus 3:2. In the song of The Burning Bush sung during the month of Kiahk (the fourth month of the Coptic calendar between December 10 and January 8 ) they say:

The burning bush seen by Moses
The prophet in the wilderness
The fire inside it was aflame
But never consumed or injured it.
The same with the Theotokos Mary
Carried the fire of Divinity
Nine months in her holy body.

Again it was said of Christ that He is a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). The fire burning inside the bush is a symbol of Christ and the bush itself symbolizes the Virgin.

burningbush-nfroment.jpg

Triptych of the Burning Bush, by Nicolas Froment, in Aix Cathedral



God is a child, the world ignores, heaven adores.
February 5, 2008, 12:44 am
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus

the-visit-of-mary-to-elizabeth.jpg

In honor of Cardinal de Bérulle who was born on February 4, 1575 we want to devote today’s post to him. He was the founder of the French School of Spirituality. The French School of Spirituality was a principle devotional influence within the Catholic Church, from the mid 17th Century through the mid 20th Century, not only in France but throughout the world.

Cardinal de Bérulle was friends with St. Vincent de Paul and St. Francis de Sales. In fact, St. Vincent de Paul was very influenced by Bérulle and once said of him,”he was one of the holiest men I have ever known”. Another saint, St. John Eudes, considered Cardinal de Bérulle to be one of his models of the spiritual life.

Cardinal Bérulle wrote extensively on the Unborn Christ Child. Here are two beautiful quotes. The first quote 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.”

“There are three states of Jesus that deserve singular and daily consideration: in the womb of the Father as Son of God, God of God, consubstantial and equal with his Father; in the womb of the Virgin as Son of Man, both man and God, the Mediator of God and men; in the womb of the Church, which is his center and altar, as Lamb of God and victim of praise and propitiation, which she (the Church) presents to the Father.”



What spiritual writer consoled St. Therese of Lisieux?
February 3, 2008, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, Saints, Unborn Jesus

st-therese-with-picture-of-child-jesus.jpgfrederick_william_faber.jpg

Answer: The great Father Faber (1814-1863) who pioneered devotional insights into the life of the unborn Christ Child. As some of you know we have quoted Father Faber on a number of occasions. Besides being an impressive preacher and spiritual writer Father Faber also wrote many wonderful hymns – including Faith of Our Fathers and There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy. Two of his books that touch upon the mystery of the unborn Christ Child are Bethlehem and The Blessed Sacrament.

St. Therese of Lisieux is also known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus due to her well known devotion to the Infant Christ. Here is what St. Therese wrote in a letter to her aunt on November 16, 1896 about Father Faber:

“Fortunately, I have the deep Father Faber to console me. He understood that words and sentences here below are incapable of expressing feelings of the heart and that full hearts are the ones containing the most within themselves.” Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Volume II, ICS Publications.

Here is a surprising quote from Father Faber where he talks about devotion to ‘our dearest Lord’s life in the womb”.

“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



THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM SHONE IN GOD’S SKY AS CHRIST GREW IN HIS MOTHER’S WOMB
February 2, 2008, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Pope Benedict XVI, Unborn Jesus

website_header_677.jpg

Today I received my weekly issue of the Vatican Newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and read the Pope’s Homily for the Feast Day of Epiphany (1/6/08). Here is a short excerpt:

“…the birth of the King of the Jews had been announced by the rising of a star, visible from afar…Once again heaven and earth, the cosmos and history, call to each other and respond. The ancient prophecies find confirmation in the language of the stars…‘A star shall come forth out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel’ (Nm 24:17), announced Balaam, the pagan seer, when he was summoned to curse the people of Israel, whom he instead blessed because, as God had revealed to him, ‘they are blessed’ (Nm 22:12).
In his commentary on Matthew’s Gospel, Cromatius of Aquileia establishes a connection between Balaam and the Magi: ‘He prophesied that Christ would come; they saw him with the eyes of faith…The star was seen by everyone but not everyone understood its meaning. Likewise, our Lord and Saviour was born for everyone, but not everyone has welcomed him’ (4:1-2).”

The three wise men – pagans all – saw the star and were spiritually enlightened. Their intellects were illumined by it and their wills ignited; they set out on a journey to locate a baby King . But when they first saw the star the baby was still unborn, on His own journey, growing within the womb. A prophetic convergence would eventually take place when the unborn baby would come out from the dark womb to shine in His manger/cave and the wise men would arrive to behold this purer holier light, and even hold it in their arms.

We have decided to use our UNBORN WORD ALLIANCE logo as our visual image (above) for this post because it captures this sentiment: a star, containing within it a heart (which symbolizes the Word of God coming to us) as the star touches the earth, the Word goes forth to the very ends of the earth.