UNBORN WORD of the day


“THE LIGHT OF LIFE”
August 11, 2008, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Pro-life, Unborn Jesus

“PRAYER, PROVIDENCE AND A PRO-LIFE JOURNEY”
THE STORY BEHIND “THE LIGHT OF LIFE”

Nellie Edwards is the artist of this wonderful painting entitled “The Light of Life”. After moving to North Dakota in 1996 she prayed “that God would allow her to somehow make a difference – to help build the Culture of Life on a wider scale somehow.”

Here in her own words:

“Soon, we started a family business, which we called ‘Mother of Eight Designs’, which we knew would help promote the Faith and Family. Six of our eight children assisted in reproducing my sculpted products and before long we were selling to stores across the country. The highlight of our achievements is the fact that Bishop James Sullivan (R.I.P.) of the diocese of Fargo, personally placed some of our Pro Life Ornaments into the hands of our beloved Pope John Paul…who immediately pronounced a blessing on ‘The Edwards Family’. It is evident to me, that this blessing has been a big part of the story behind the paintings.”

Nellie began to “receive public speaking invitations from civic and business groups and I saw it as an opportunity to give witness to my Catholic faith.” She found that the more she talked about faith – “the more enthusiastic the audience response”.

It was in 2005, when she encouraged four of her sons to start a tiling business, that Nellie also started a new venture. Using a PC tablet, which is computerized, she began by making print translations of some of her sculpted plaque and ornament designs but soon turned to using this technology to paint. Her first painting was of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.

Nellie explains that soon after: ” I sensed I should paint an unborn child…I couldn’t think what sort of composition this would be, so I prayed for guidance. After about 2 weeks, I realized the unborn child would be Our Lord Jesus, in the womb of His Blessed Mother. I was afraid to attempt this but again, I could not get away from the idea. As with Kateri, I had no drawing to go by, nor visual aid…I simply started with the face of Mary and the composition seemed to develop almost organically. It was almost like watching someone else work.” The painting took nine months to complete.

Because of limited space I have only been able to summarize a small part of Nellie’s story. If you would be interested in contacting Nellie Edwards, or to view and perhaps purchase prints of her beautiful paintings click here.



GOD’S MIGHT OR MITE?
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



Faith and prayer can lead to ‘great things’
August 6, 2008, 12:33 am
Filed under: Pro-life, The Incarnation

A ‘santon’ of a pregnant Virgin Mary, is seen in Nice, southern France, Friday, Dec. 22, 2006. Santons are traditional colored figurines usually set in Christmas Nativity scenes. This santon, designed by Christmas figurine maker, France‘s Dominique Coulomb of Aubagne, will be replaced by a post natal Virgin Mary at midnight on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

Pope Paul VI was born September 26, 1897 and died August 6, 1978. In his Apostolic Exhortation on Mary he points to the wonderful example of faith and prayer that Mary gave to all Christians when she conceived and carried Jesus in her womb. Let us have faith like Mary, that God wills that the children of our time have their right to life respected, and like Mary let us prayerfully exalt in the mercy and power of God.

  • Mary is the attentive Virgin, who receives the word of God with faith, that faith which in her case was the gateway and path to divine motherhood, for, as Saint Augustine realized, “Blessed Mary by believing conceived Him (Jesus) whom believing she brought forth.”
  • In fact, when she received from the angel the answer to her doubt (cf. Lk. 1:34-37), “full of faith, and conceiving Christ in her mind before conceiving Him in her womb, she said, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me’ (Lk. 1:38).”
  • It was faith that was for her the cause of blessedness and certainty in the fulfillment of her promise: “Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Lk. 1:45).
  • Similarly, it was faith with which she, who played a part in the Incarnation and was a unique witness to it, thinking back on the events of the infancy of Christ, meditated upon these events in her heart (cf. Lk. 2:19,51).
  • Mary is also the Virgin in prayer. She appears as such in the visit to the mother of the precursor, when she pours out her soul in expressions glorifying God, and expressions of humility, faith and hope.
  • This prayer is the Magnificat (cf. Lk. 1:46-55), Mary’s prayer par excellence, the song of the messianic times in which there mingles the joy of the ancient and the new Israel. As St. Irenaeus seems to suggest, it is in Mary’s canticle that there was heard once more the rejoicing of Abraham who foresaw the Messiah (cf. Jn. 8:56 Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.)
  • “In her exultation Mary prophetically declared in the name of the Church: ‘My soul proclaims the glory of the Lord….’ And in fact Mary’s hymn has spread far and wide and has become the prayer of the whole Church in all ages.

FOR THE RIGHT ORDERING AND DEVELOPMENT
OF DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

February 2, 1974 taken from sections 17 and 18.



In becoming incarnate in the Virgin Mary, the Word had in view this incarnation in each one of us
August 3, 2008, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Saints, The Eucharist, Unborn Jesus

August 3rd is the feast day of St. Peter Julian Eymard. Here is a beautiful quote from him on the Incarnation:

“Now Jesus Christ, God and Man, enters into us and enacts a mystery similar to the one wrought in Mary’s womb….the Eucharist passes into our bodies and, uniting with us, prolongs, extends the Incarnation to each of us separately. In becoming incarnate in the Virgin Mary, the Word had in view this incarnation in each one of us, this Communion with the individual soul; it was one of the ends for which He came into the world. Communion is the perfect development, the full unfoldment of the Incarnation, as it is likewise the completion of the sublime sacrifice of Calvary, renewed each morning in the Mass….without Communion the Sacrifice would be incomplete. Thus the Body of Jesus Christ is united with our body, His Soul with our soul, and His Divinity hovers over both.”

St. Peter Julian Eymard
Holy Communion



YOUR SPIRITUAL RESTING HEART RATE
August 2, 2008, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Sacred Heart, Thriving Not Just Surviving!

THRIVING NOT JUST SURVIVING!

A series of reflections on living the Christian Life in a Time of Cultural Upheaval (a Culture of Life under attack by a culture of death which erodes traditional beliefs and values).

9

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.” Mt 11:28-29

Amidst the cultural upheaval of our time, there is a tangible palpable restlessness. It comes in two flavors: 1.) the restlessness of those who are restless precisely because they are foundationless, and 2.) the restlessness of those who are holding fast to their Christian faith and traditional Judaeo-Christian morality and are being assailed on every side, every day, by contrary arguments and messages.

Both variations of restlessness concern the soul, first and foremost. Another way to express it is to say that our human hearts are troubled. St. Augustine’s famous summation is to the point: “You have made us for Yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.” We can take stock of our spiritual resting heart rate during times of calm reflection, with God’s help especially, as in prayer. Am I restless? In what ways am I restless? What causes me to be restless? When am I most spiritually rested?

These are not trick questions, because in fact, as long as we are humans here on earth we will all have our spiritual “rest” issues. But St. Augustine’s expression is 100% true. Which leads us to the above quote from Jesus. We might say that there is a cure for restlessness, the deep Divine “rest” which we discover within the Heart of Jesus Christ, a heart which He Himself describes as “gentle and lowly”. And the “cure” involves “learning”, as Jesus Himself explains: “…learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart…” and what? “and you will find rest for your souls”. Christ is recommending a heart-to-Heart spiritual therapy.

One example of a person who learned this lesson well is St John the Evangelist who, at the Last Supper, “was lying close to the breast of Jesus” (Jn 13:23), and who, at the death of Jesus, witnessed the soldier’s spear piercing the Lord’s heart (Jn 19:34-35). We find in John’s writings a profound mystical understanding of God’s Heart and God’s Love.

By observing the Lord’s Day, Sunday, the day of rest, and incorporating times of prayer rest and meditative rest into our daily routines we will also discover the rest that is in God. Just as exercise and oxygen effects the body’s physical resting heart rate, so exercising our faith along with docility to God’s Spirit effects the soul’s spiritual resting heart rate. With spiritual rest comes personal and moral stability – which is greatly needed during our present time of cultural upheaval.

God values your rested heart and peace of soul so much that He gave us a day devoted to spiritual rest and He gave us His own Heart to rest upon! Just what the Divine Physician ordered!

George A. Peate, August 2, 2008