Simeon Holding the Christ Child
When the baby Jesus was still a newborn Mary and Joseph presented Him to the Lord according to Jewish custom. As they left the Temple they met a holy man named Simeon (Lk 2:25-35). He prayed to God and made a prophecy about the baby Jesus. In part, he said: “…this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against…” Other translations say “as a sign of contradiction” or a sign that will be “opposed”.
Yes Christ is “A Sign”. First He is a Person! A Divine Person! But He is also “A Sign of Contradiction”. Likewise – thanks be to God – The Unborn Christ Child is a Sign of Contradiction!
We learn from a Prophetic Sign! And if we study the life of Unborn Jesus we have lots of uplifting, beautiful, edifying and hopeful lessons to learn there!
But there is also this: Unborn Jesus is a sign of contradiction to the culture of death that is encroaching day-by-day into our culture and society. Thanks be to God, Unborn Jesus is at the spiritual heart of the Culture of Life that the Church is committed to.
Here are two examples: “…as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.” (Mt 18:5). Mother Teresa of Calcutta, John Paul II and Benedict XVI have all commented on these words of Jesus in relation to unborn children. When your local abortion facility aborts a baby, it is aborting Christ. And when your local Pregnancy Counseling Center helps a pregnant woman carry her child to term, they are also helping Christ be born in Bethlehem!
There is an intersection between time and eternity, earth and heaven, the worldly powers and the Kingdom of God, the physical life and the spiritual realm, evil and Good, death and Life – and the newly conceived Christ Child at the one cell stage is at that very point of intersection! So is Christ Crucified & the Resurrected Christ! When Life meets death Christ is there! When adults kill babies Christ is there (with the babies)!
Thanks be to God, the Unborn Christ is Victor when He collides with this pathetic culture of death. We as Christians must be united with Him, in solidarity with all unborn children. To quote George Weigel, we must be busy about building “a culture-forming counterculture”. Two of its distinguishing marks will be: it is Christ-centered and Life-affirming!
To quote John Paul II: “…we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘culture of life’. We find ourselves not only ‘faced with’ but necessarily ‘in the midst of’ this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro – life.” (Evangelium Vitae #28).
The Donkey Carrying God by William Kurelek
“The donkey that carried Our Lady to Bethlehem took another form in my thoughts. For he carried the Word—a dumb animal, carrying a Virgin who carried God—and so he was the carrier of God too. His bells were the first church bells, for Mary was the first Church, the first tabernacle of Christ.” Catherine Doherty foundress of Madonna House.
In another vein, St. Josemaria Escriva often compared himself to a donkey:
“One day at the beginning of the 1930s, the Founder of Opus Dei greeted Our Lord in the Tabernacle of the church of the St Elizabeth Foundation with these words: “Here is your mangy little donkey!” and heard in reply the gentle response, “A little donkey was my throne in Jerusalem.”
The donkey, docile, humble and hard-working, was an animal for which St Josemaria had always felt a special affection. He saw himself as a donkey – in the words of Psalm 73, ‘ut iumentum’. From The ‘theology of the donkey’.
‘I am like a beast (donkey) in your presence, but I am continually with you. You hold my right hand.’ (Psalm 72:23-24)
Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza
Today is the Feast of the Annunciation. Here are two beautiful quotes from Pope Pius XII which show us that right from the moment of His conception in Mary’s womb Christ our Savior embraced us with His redeeming love.
“But the knowledge and love of our Divine Redeemer, of which we were the object from the first moment of His Incarnation, exceed all that the human intellect can hope to grasp. For hardly was He conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the beatific vision, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present to Him, and He embraced them with His redeeming love.” Pius XII Mystici Corporis , 75
“The Virgin Mary utters that generous word, “be it done”…Immediately the Heart of Jesus, ever to be adored, has begun to pulsate with love, divine and human” Pius XII, On Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 63.
Filed under: Papal Quotes, Quotes from Great Christians, Thriving Not Just Surviving!
Toronto, Toronto by William Kurelek
“The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all.“Karl Rahner, Theological Investigations XX, Concern for the Church, “The Spirituality of the Church of the Future”, translated Edward Quinn (New York: Crossroad, 1981), p. 149.
“I have often had occasion to remember a saying of Pope Pius XI that was a favorite of Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement. “Let us thank God that he makes us live among the present problems; it is no longer permitted to anyone to be mediocre.” Catholicism’s Bright Future Seven Signs in America That the End Is Nowhere Near By George Weigel
After some research I was able to find this quote in the context of part of the larger statement Pius XI made:Pius XI was even more insistent that the layman fulfill his function in the Church. He wrote: “It is absolutely necessary that in this our age all should be apostles: it is absolutely necessary that the laity should not sit idly by. . . . The crisis we are experiencing is unique in history. It is a new world that must burst out of a crucible in which so many different energies are boiling. Let us thank God that He makes us live among the present problems. It is no longer permitted to anyone to be mediocre. Everyone has the imperative duty to remember that he has a mission to fulfill, that of doing the impossible, each within the limits of his activity, to bring the world back to Christ.” Program of Action (Grailville, Loveland, Ohio, 1946)
Filed under: Medical/Bioethical Issues
This post from one of my favorite bloggers, Kelly Clark, is just so startling that I am putting it up for you to read. The video link at the end of her post is really short and worth watching.
Former President Bill Clinton on embryos and I am not making this up!
I tried to embed the Larry King Live interview after being alerted by alert watcher Deborah but couldn’t. She writes:
Clinton spoke about embryos not being fertilized and said that if embryos were ever on their way to be fertilized, they shouldn’t be used for experimentation. He said this one way or another about 3 or 4 times and then ended by saying it unequivocally.
I couldn’t believe my ears! Surely, I thought, Dr. Gupta – a medical doctor, isn’t he? – is going to nicely point out that an embryo is an embryo because it has been fertilized, that it is a genetically complete fully fertilized egg. Gupta said nothing.
Can it be that Bill Clinton and Dr. Gupta don’t really know what an embryo is?
I hope someone in the pro-life movement will use the clip of Clinton saying fertilized embryos should not be used for experimentation!
Anyway, you’ve GOT to watch this: Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews Bill Clinton on embryonic stem cell research
A Chapel Dedication
Today the Mystical Body of Christ is enriched
And this Archdiocese made more fruitful
The Holy Spirit unleashed God’s bounteous gifts
To bolden Christ’s witnesses ever truthful.
A Church, exquisite in splendor, yet humble
Frail in human stature, enflamed by Heaven
Not burning as others might suppose, rather
A light on a hill, in a valley, for a Mission.
Incense smoke ascending, wafting throneward
By the breezes of prayer, and Dedication.
A quake felt thro’ and beyond the Church wall
A Grace quake tumbling out the doors to Creation.
Forty odd miles away it overswept me
This soothing tsunami of light and compassion
The Woman in her pangs of birth is enlivened
Her young scholar soldiers of Peace to fashion.
Good neighbors and great almsgivers did gather
With Aquinas and a saintly host on this day.
The founders had ardently desired fruition,
Of pleasing Him, to Whom true homage we pay.
George A. Peate
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T. S. Eliot
(#4 of ‘Four Quartets)
People are interested in their roots. Origins have become the rage. We learn from the past. Yet, humanity today is afraid of the womb, that place of secret origins and momentous beginnings. Humanity today – shackled as it is by “political correctness” – is no longer able to think clearly about any controversial subject. Because the pro-abortion lobby has gained political control of human “reproduction”, and fears to lose control, It obstinately refuses – absolutely refuses! – any possible link between the womb and the nursery, between the unborn baby’s ultrasound image and the newborn baby’s first photograph. The pro-abortion lobby defines them as two different species: the unborn as a growing subhuman entity and the born baby as a baby human being.
But humanity needs humility and truth. And when we contemplate our first tenuous months in the womb of our mother, we see how tiny we once were, how dependent and vulnerable and unable on our own… (Indeed, our futures too, in old age, may draw comparisons…) From the moment of conception a person, an identifiable (that is, unique and growing) human being exists and journeys forward. This amazing new unborn life beckons and calls out, first to his/her mother, then to the world…
The open-minded scientist who studies prenatal life moves from marvel to mystery to Miracle! If he or she completes the “exploration”. If “exploring” gets side-tracked, as it so often does, by “political correctness” – read “bowing to the pro-abortion lobby ” – then the opportunity to “know the place for the first time”, to sense the Miracle, is lost.
The sense of awe and wonder which should surround the unborn child in the womb must be fostered. You and I must encourage it! The future of humanity depends on it! If our culture and society forsake the unborn child in his/her beauty and dignity, then forsaking respect for all human beings will not be far behind.
We must encourage exploring-with-dignity-and-proper-intention of the world of the unborn baby. The womb must always be a welcoming place and the unborn child must always be welcomed in it. In this way we will “know the place for the first time”, and know that it is a sacred place for a holy purpose and its occupant is created in the likeness and image of God.