UNBORN WORD of the day

August 8, 2008, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

15th Century Visitation sculpture from Passau. As is customary in later representations of the Visitation, Mary and Elizabeth embrace, appearing as mirror images of one another, their unborn children, Christ and John the Baptist, can be seen in the mandoria-shaped hollows of their mother’s wombs. (see detail of Christ in the womb below)

I have a Catholic hero who 99.99% of Catholics have never heard of. I have lots of heroes, but this person is particularly distinguished for several reasons, one of which is that she has faded into utter obscurity – as most of us will do. But more importantly, she developed her own great devotion to the Unborn Christ Child back in the early 1920’s and 1930’s and wrote two outstanding books about Christ: Nativitas Christi and Ortus Christi. (No doubt her devotion to the unborn Christ was derived from the spirituality and writings of the French School of Spirituality founded centuries earlier.)

At the conclusion of this reflection I will quote one sentence from Ortus Christi, in which she turns to the Unborn Christ Child within Mary’s womb and prays.

“It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth…” Jer 27:5

“O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as thou art, O Lord…Thou hast a mighty arm; strong is thy hand, high thy right hand.” Psalm 89:8,13

“And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen…” Isaiah 30:30

“The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm…” Isaiah 62:8

But the arm of the Lord is also associated with deliverance, as when He delivered the people of Israel from bondage in Egypt: “I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm…” Ex 6:6

Finally, the prophet Isaiah associates the arm of the Lord with the youthful Messiah Savior: “Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant…” Isaiah 53:1-2

The arm of the Lord was revealed to us as a saving arm, bringing salvation through Jesus. So, even in the womb, the tiny unborn Savior’s arm represented the arm and hand of God reaching out to humanity to heal and save!

So, Mother St. Paul – a pro-life hero from the 1920’s and 1930’s – reflects on the mission of Moses and then on Isaiah’s words: “A little Child shall lead them” (Isa 11:6), then she prays to the Unborn Lord: “Oh! Come, little Saviour, come and redeem us by Thy outstretched Arm!” How humanly weak that unborn arm, yet how powerful its redemptive blessings. We too can turn to the Unborn Christ Child and beg Him to outstretch His tiny arm and work pro-life miracles in our own day.

Unborn Christ with His arm outstretched

4 Comments so far
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Who is Mother St Paul? I can’t find anything on her from a Google search…? Please help me out.

Comment by Susie

She is really obscure as pointed out in the post but if you click the links in this post(in red)you can find some of her books online. You can download or print them up from this site for free.


Comment by unbornwordoftheday

Thanks so much for the links to Mother St. Paul and for the art works you feature on this web site. You rarely, if ever, see these works in the academic art canon.

Comment by S. Moore

Thank you for your comment! I have been really searching for older as well as new art that features Christ as the Unborn Child.

I came across two articles that were helpful in my search for medieval art images of the unborn Christ Child. One article mentioned that this type of Visitation art was listed in the Index of Christian art as “type foetus”. Nevertheless, it takes time to find this Visitation art type and I have not always been as successful as I would wish. When I come across these paintings I look for ways to feature them. I find them to be inspirational and I hope they will inspire others.


Comment by unbornwordoftheday

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