The emphasis of the French School of Spirituality (which had its beginning with Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle (1575-1629) and continued with his disciples such as the Venerable Jean-Jacques Olier (1608-1657) and St. John Eudes (1601-1680) was on the nine months during which Jesus lived in the womb of Mary. These men rightly perceived the mystery of the beauty and depth of the communication which took place between Mary and her Son during this blessed period. Olier and Eudes especially would speak of this communication as being between their hearts. St. Louis de Montfort also was influenced by this Spirituality when he entered Saint-Sulpice which was founded by Jean-Jacques Olier, one of the leading exponents of what came to be known as the ‘French School of Spirituality’.
Following are a few of the quotes about the Unborn Christ Child by St. Louis de Montfort from his Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin:
“God the Son came into her virginal womb as a new Adam into his earthly paradise, to take his delight there and produce hidden wonders of grace. God-made-man found freedom in imprisoning himself in her womb. He displayed power in allowing himself to be borne by this young maiden.” 18
“Time does not permit me to linger here and elaborate on the perfections and wonders of the mystery of Jesus living and reigning in Mary, or the Incarnation of the Word. I shall confine myself to the following brief remarks. The Incarnation is the first mystery of Jesus Christ; it is the most hidden; and it is the most exalted and the least known. It was in this mystery that Jesus, in the womb of Mary and with her co- operation, chose all the elect. For this reason the saints called her womb, the throne-room of God’s mysteries.” 248
“Our good Master stooped to enclose himself in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, a captive but loving slave, and to make himself subject to her for thirty years. As I said earlier, the human mind is bewildered when it reflects seriously upon this conduct of Incarnate Wisdom. He did not choose to give himself in a direct manner to the human race though he could easily have done so. He chose to come through the Virgin Mary. Thus he did not come into the world independently of others in the flower of his manhood, but he came as a frail little child dependent on the care and attention of his Mother. Consumed with the desire to give glory to God, his Father, and save the human race, he saw no better or shorter way to do so than by submitting completely to Mary.” 139
Prominent Men and Women of or influenced by the French School:
· Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle (1575-1629)
· St. Louis de Montfort. (1673-1716)
· Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (1761-1850)
Ben Stein in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
Ben Stein vs. Big Science! Ben’s new movie “Expelled” is worth going to see. First of all, he presents a serious subject with a lot of humor which makes it quite enjoyable. But more importantly, Ben is trying to promote a culture of life from an unusual perspective.
It is a thought provoking movie aimed at generally promoting “freedom of thought” and specifically within the scientific community. Many influential scientists promote their own aggressive agendas based on “freedom of choice” but are opposed to “freedom of thought”. Watch to see how Ben links the culture of death mentality with narrow-minded Darwinism and a culture of life approach with openness to Intelligent Design theory.*
I first saw Ben Stein speak at a Pro – Life conference around 1986 when I was the Education Director for the Right to Life League of Southern California. He was our featured speaker and did a great job. I just saw his new movie – which begins with him giving a speech to a crowd – and it brought back fond memories. Ben entertains while he educates, inspires while he informs – what a concept!
*Others have made this same connection between the Culture of Death mentality and Darwin. For a readable scholarly look at the bigger picture see Architects Of The Culture Of Death by my former Philosophy professor, Donald DeMarco and his co-author Benjamin Wiker. In this book they have exposed its roots by introducing its “architects.” In a scholarly, yet reader-friendly delineation of the mindsets of twenty-three influential thinkers, such as Ayn Rand, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alfred Kinsey, Margaret Sanger, Jack Kevorkian, and Peter Singer, they make clear the aberrant thought and malevolent intentions that have shaped the Culture of Death.
In his address to the conference on The Human Embryo in the Pre-Implantation Phase, Pope Benedict XVI points out that at the Visitation, when Jesus had been conceived only a few days earlier (therefore in the pre-implantation phase) His presence was perceived by another unborn baby, John the Baptist.
“As it is easy to see, neither Sacred Scripture nor the oldest Christian Tradition can contain any explicit treatment of your theme. St Luke, nevertheless, testifies to the active, though hidden, presence of the two infants.
He recounts the meeting of the Mother of Jesus, who had conceived him in her virginal womb only a few days earlier, with the mother of John the Baptist, who was already in the sixth month of her pregnancy: ‘When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb’ (Lk 1: 41).
St Ambrose comments: Elizabeth ‘perceived the arrival of Mary, he (John) perceived the arrival of the Lord, the woman the arrival of the Woman, the child, the arrival of the Child’ (Comm. in Luc. 2: 19, 22-26).”
Monday, 27 February 2006
Christ is the hope of the pro-life movement. Pope Benedict reminded us at Midnight Mass on December 24 , 2006 that hope for the pro-life movement can be drawn from the saving work of Jesus Christ – even his saving work as an infant.
“The child of Bethlehem directs our gaze towards all children who suffer and are abused in the world, the born and the unborn…. In all of these it is the Child of Bethlehem who is crying out to us; it is the God who has become small who appeals to us…”
“God has become one of us, so that we can be with him and become like him. As a sign, he chose the Child lying in the manger: this is how God is. This is how we come to know him. And on every child shines something of the splendor of that “today”, of that closeness of God which we ought to love and to which we must yield – it shines on every child, even on those still unborn.” Pope Benedict XVI – Midnight Mass Homily – Christmas Eve 2006.
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Fathers of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI
“The Lord has sworn in truth to David…’I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body'” Psalm 132:11
In the following passage Pope Benedict XVI comments on Psalm 132:11 by using a lengthy quote from St. Irenaeus:
“Let us end by remembering that the beginning of this second part of Psalm 132 was commonly used by the Fathers of the Church to describe the Incarnation of the Word in the Virgin Mary’s womb. St Irenaeus, referring to the prophecy of Isaiah about the Virgin in labour, had already explained:”
“The words: ‘Listen, then, O house of David!’ (Is 7: 13), indicate that the eternal King, whom God had promised David would be ‘the fruit of [his] body’ (Ps 132:11), was the same One, born of the Virgin and descended from David.Thus, God promised him that a king would be born who was ‘the fruit of [his] body’, a description that indicates a pregnant virgin. Scripture, therefore…sets down and affirms the fruit of the womb to proclaim that the One to come would be begotten of the Virgin. Likewise, Elizabeth herself, filled with the Holy Spirit, testified, saying to Mary: ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb’ (Lk 1:42). In this way the Holy Spirit points out to those who want to hear him that in the Virgin’s, that is, Mary’s, giving birth is fulfilled God’s promise to David that he would raise up a king born of his body” (Contro le Eresie, 3, 21, 5: “Già e Non Ancora”, CCCXX, Milan, 1997, p. 285).
Wednesday, 21 September 2005
Benedict XVI meeting with disabled youth at St. Joseph‘s Seminary in Yonkers, NY.
How exciting for us to have had Pope Benedict XVI visit the United States with the message of Christ Our Hope. We all need hope in this world. Benedict spoke on many wonderful topics and it will take time to really digest his message. Following are 5 pro-life quotes by Benedict given at 4 different New York venues.
While at St. Patrick’s Cathedral he said:
“ The Church…is called to proclaim the gift of life, to serve life, and to promote a culture of life….The proclamation of life, life in abundance, must be the heart of the new evangelization.”
In his meeting with disabled children at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers he expressed God’s love for them:
“God has blessed you with life, and with differing talents and gifts….God’s unconditional love, which bathes every human individual, points to a meaning and purpose for all human life.”
At the final Mass at Yankee Stadium he told us that Christ’s truth supports us in our respect for human life (at this point the crowd broke into applause).
“May you find the courage to proclaim Christ, “the same, yesterday, and today and for ever” and the unchanging truths which have their foundation in him (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10; Heb 13:8). These are the truths that set us free! They are the truths which alone can guarantee respect for the inalienable dignity and rights of each man, woman and child in our world – including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother’s womb.”
And he praised Catholics in this country:
“In our day too, the Catholic community in this nation has been outstanding in its prophetic witness in the defense of life…”
We know that one of the arduous tasks of our generation is to fight for the unborn. In his Address at the U.N, Pope Benedict reminded us that each generation has had it’s own arduous fight for justice.
“In my recent Encyclical, Spe Salvi, I indicated that “every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs” (no. 25). For Christians, this task is motivated by the hope drawn from the saving work of Jesus Christ.”
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Saturday. Shannon Stapleton / AP
Stating that the Church is called to “proclaim the gift of life, to serve life, and to promote a culture of life” at St. Patrick’s Cathedral today Pope Benedict paid tribute to two great Pro-life leaders, Cardinal Cooke and Cardinal O’Connor.
“The Church, as “a people made one by the unity of the Father, the Son and the Spirit” (cf. Lumen Gentium, 4), is called to proclaim the gift of life, to serve life, and to promote a culture of life. Here in this cathedral, our thoughts turn naturally to the heroic witness to the Gospel of life borne by the late Cardinals Cooke and O’Connor. The proclamation of life, life in abundance, must be the heart of the new evangelization. For true life – our salvation – can only be found in the reconciliation, freedom and love which are God’s gracious gift.”
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York
Saturday, 19 April 2008
We would like to document some of the pro-life efforts of these two great men who were early and courageous defenders of the unborn.
Terence Cardinal Cooke
In a May 22, 1972 article in Time magazine, entitled, The Abortion Issue, Cardinal Cooke’s early efforts to repeal the abortion law in New York are detailed. Issuing his own letter in New York against abortion from all of the pulpits in 1972, he supported New York citizens who were fighting this law. He also published a pro-life letter that President Nixon sent to him. The letter, endorsing the repeal (pro-life) movement and calling it a “noble endeavor,” was released by the Cardinal’s office-with tacit, if not explicit, White House approval. In 1972, Terence Cardinal Cooke was one of the first to describe abortion as “slaughter of the innocent unborn”.
Cardinal Cooke’s final letter read on October 8 and 9th, 1983, the weekend after his death was a letter on the sanctity of the gift of life.
And as many of you know, his successor, Cardinal O’Connor took up the pro-life cause and became another hero for the pro-life movement.
John Cardinal O’Connor
EWTN has a wonderful tribute to Cardinal O’Connor on his death which details many of his wonderful efforts on behalf of the unborn.
1. He was committed to the right to life and showed his concern by wearing on the lapel of his black clerical suit a tiny red rose with its stem spelling out “l–i–f–e“.
2. He participated at the annual Right to Life March held in Washington, DC.
3. He formed a religious community, the Sisters of Life who are dedicated to protecting the sacredness of all human life beginning with the infant in the womb to those vulnerable to the threat of euthanasia.
4. In addition, he repeated an offer many times to any woman in need: “go to him for help rather than abort her child”. The Archdiocese of New York and Catholic charities responded by providing hundreds of women with medical assistance, housing, adoption and legal services, as well as, the Cardinal himself counseling women in difficult situations.
These are the two men whom Pope Benedict held up as authentic pro-life heroes when he called on the Church to “proclaim the gift of life, to serve life, and to promote a culture of life”.