Tis the Season of ‘The Gospel of Life’
I am now beginning the third trimester of my development in the womb. Here is a 14th or 15th century sculpture discovered in a German Cistercian convent (founded in 1248 A.D.). See how the sculptor emphasized that I was a distinct Person by hollowing out the womb area so devout Christians could see me before birth and have their hearts lifted up in thanksgiving for the mystery of the Incarnation. It’s amazing that people living 600 years ago could demonstrate such profound respect for my prenatal life and yet many people in the 21st century have no respect at all for my life in the womb of my mother.
“What was the essence of His (Christ’s) prayer (during those nine months)? What was it which lay behind all? It was the intention. And what was that? We have meditated on it many times: “Behold I come to do Thy Will O my God.” (Hebrews 10:7)
Naturally there are many different ways of doing that Will, and many different degrees in the perfection with which it is done; and that is why we are quite safe in picturing to ourselves Jesus in the womb of His mother forgetting no single detail; or perhaps a truer picture would be a union with His Father so perfect that there was no need to talk about what was so evident.
Now let us apply this to myself and I will find that instead of being discouraging , it is most encouraging, instead of making my prayers harder it will make them far easier.
What is the intention in my prayers? Is it not to please God and to do His Will? …Now let me see how this works out in practice. I pay a visit to our Lord, perhaps I am too tired to think about Him, I may even sleep in His Presence; perhaps I am so busy that I find it impossible to keep away distracting thoughts…the time is up and I go, thinking, perhaps, what is the good of paying Him a visit like that?
There is great good even in that visit which all the same might have been so much more perfect. What was my intention in paying it? Certainly to please Him. Then I have pleased Him. It was a pleasure to Him to see me come in and sit with Him, even though I was occupied with my own concerns most of the time. We are too much taken up with asking how we say our prayers, but the important question is why do we say them.
To go and sit in His presence because He is lonely or because I am tired and I would rather sit with Him than anyone else is prayer even if I say nothing. What God is doing for me is of far more importance to my soul than what I am doing for God; and all the time that I am there, whether I am thinking of Him or not, He is impressing His image on my soul…”
Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi, pp 92-93
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