UNBORN WORD of the day

December 15, 2009, 1:40 pm
Filed under: Advent, Biblical Reflections, Unborn Jesus

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

December 12, 2009, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Adoption, Advent, Biblical Reflections, Evangelium Vitae, Unborn Jesus

Tis the Season of ‘The Gospel of Life’

The Dream of St. Joseph (with unborn Christ Child) by Francisco Rizi (1608-1685)

My mother was betrothed to Joseph the carpenter, but he was unsure of what to do about me. Here is a picture of him sleeping and an angel of the Lord explaining everything to him in a dream. You can see my mother and I in the background. Joseph awoke from the dream and adopted me while I was still an unborn baby! (Mt 1:18-25)


In Joseph’s midnight angelic revelation John Paul II sees Joseph’s “personal Annunciation” and the moment of his “Divine election….His place in the history of salvation is defined”. The Pope, continuing his observations, points out that the response of Joseph was exemplary: “’When Joseph woke from sleep ‑ we read in Matthew ‑ he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him’ (Mt 1:24). In these few words there is everything. The whole description of Joseph’s life and the full characteristic of his holiness: ‘He did’. Joseph, the one we know from the Gospel, is a man of action.”

Pope John Paul II, General Audience, March 19, 1980

“In these days of Advent, the liturgy invites us to contemplate in a special way the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, who lived with a unique intensity the time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus. Today, I want to direct our gaze toward the figure of St. Joseph… The one who gives the most importance to the adoptive father of Jesus is the Evangelist Matthew, emphasizing that thanks to him, the Child was legally introduced into the lineage of David fulfilling the Scriptures, in which the Messiah was prophesied as the ’son of David’.”

Pope Benedict, Angelus address, December 18, 2005

It pleased God to bring the beauty of human adoption into the heart of the Incarnation mystery. Adoption is a noble institution and has been a major theme of the Pro-Life message, but it was God’s idea and He relayed it to us. So we can find here another experience of solidarity, that is, a solidarity between God the Father and adoptive parents – His blessing upon their commitment to embrace a little one and, like Joseph, raise the child to the best of their abilities to fullness of life.

December 11, 2009, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Advent, Biblical Reflections, Unborn Jesus

Tis the Season of ‘The Gospel of Life’

Mary Contemplating (click here to find out about this design)

My mother  returned home to her parents and to Joseph. This was a time when she opened her heart to me. So often she told me of her love for me and of her concern for Joesph. Oh, how I opened my Heart to my beloved mother. And of course, I was praying to my Father for Joseph and my Father would soon be sending an angel to announce His plans to him.


Here is a wonderful quote from Mother St. Paul (1861-1940) about Mary’s life with Jesus during her pregnancy.

“She was ever holding colloquies with her God within her, pondering things over in her heart, that is, talking them over with Him from Whom she had no secrets and between Whom and her soul she put no obstacles.

Her life was spent with Him; whatever her duties might be, everything was done with Him, which is prayer. If duties or conservation demanded all her attention for a while, did it matter? No, for He was there all the same. He, in her, carried on the blessed converse with His Father; there was never any separation between Mary and the Blessed Fruit of her womb, Jesus. She would come back to Him…

…When we think of Jesus praying for nine months to His Father, when we think of Mary’s nine months colloquy with Jesus, we begin to think that there is something wrong about our methods of prayer, that they need re-modeling.

Let us try to understand something of what His prayer was. We think of Him, and quite rightly, as talking over with His Father all His plans for man’s salvation, praying for each individual thing that would be connected with it through all time. We love to think that He prayed particularly for each one of us.

From Ortus Christi:Meditations for Advent (1921) by Mother St. Paul

December 9, 2009, 11:34 pm
Filed under: Advent, Biblical Reflections, Unborn Jesus

Tis the Season of ‘The Gospel of Life’

Mary Taking Leave of Elizabeth and Zacharias by Lorenzo Salimben

My mother took leave of cousin Elizabeth, Zacharias and newborn John. It had been a wonderful visit but she felt it was time to leave now that John had been born. She wanted to get back to her life in Nazareth and Joseph.


“It seems not unlikely that, during the course of this prolonged journey by foot or donkey back to Nazareth , Mary’s thoughts would wander to Messianic scripture passages ‑ searchingly, expectantly.  Granted, we can not know the exact nature of Mary’s thoughts and reflections in these circumstances, but we know she loved the scriptures and knew them well. They were alive for her! She was living out age‑old prophecies. That is, she was physically, maternally linked to the One in her womb fulfilling all prophecy! To guide our reflections let’s consider some of the Messianic texts from the Prophet Isaiah which were widely known throughout Israel.

Her mind would have naturally gravitated  to chapters 7‑12 of Isaiah which  form a distinct section ‑ the Book of Immanuel ‑ in which we find repeated references to the Messiah.  Within  this “Book of Immanuel”, there are a number of references to the Messiah as a baby and small child. This unique prophetic perspective on the Child Messiah would have fascinated Mary, and should be of great interest to our modern world. Let’s consider some of these verses:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 (NAB)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”…. Isaiah 9:6

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6

Isaiah, under the influence of the Spirit of God, focuses on a “child” (a son) who is the Messiah and more, he is Immanuel (God with us), Mighty God and Prince of Peace. And in some real way, this “little child shall lead” us. Not by mere coincidence has the Church come to love these prophetic passages with a tender passion. The Church sees the incarnational mystery revealed here in beauty, hope and peace.

Now if Isaiah was attracted by this “child”, Mary was completely mesmerized. A shiver probably ran up her spine whenever she recalled the words: “…the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and name him Immanuel”. For Mary was the virgin chosen by God to fulfill this prophecy and her unborn baby was the promised One.  But all Christians should share in that same prophetic shiver of anticipation at hearing “to us a child is born” and “to us a son is given”. To us Unborn Jesus was sent as a sign of hope ‑ and for every vulnerable unborn child: He is their only Hope.

Curiously, in this same passage from Isaiah we are once again given His “name”: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”! Actually these four words speak to the identity of this most special Child. Mary, the pregnant mother, would have meditated on these words often, perhaps recalling as she did, the singular Divine titles given to her Son by the Angel Gabriel, Elizabeth, Zechariah, and yes, even by the great prophet Isaiah! These witnesses unfold the Divine Identity of the tiny Person she carries within her womb. She was overcome by this reality ‑ peacefully overwhelmed by the Prince of Peace.”

Taken from Unborn Jesus Our Hope by George Peate


December 8, 2009, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Advent, Biblical Reflections, Unborn Jesus

Tis the Season of ‘The Gospel of Life’

Finally, Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist. Here is a picture of Elizabeth after giving birth. My mother is seated in the foreground holding newborn John. (You can’t see me.) Lk 1:57


The first three months of Jesus’ life were spent with unborn John. He stayed till John was born.

What does that say to our world?

Could it be that Unborn Jesus was sanctifying the unborn state and hallowing the journey that all unborn infants take from conception to birth? For three months all appears ordinary even though the presence of Christ Unborn is extraordinary. It is precisely the ordinariness of their lives now and the nearness of the two unborn infants to each other that underscores the solidarity that exists between Unborn Jesus and all unborn infants. He is, in an incomprehensible way, a steadfast companion to this little one growing towards birth.

Finally, John is born. The end of his gestation brings celebration. The birth of a child is one of the most profound experiences a woman and a couple can undergo.  Unborn Jesus waited for unborn John’s journey to end and this new beginning.

And the Incarnate Word “saw that it was good”, the two hundred and eightieth day.

My nine month journey with my mother – the second month
December 7, 2009, 11:50 pm
Filed under: Advent, Biblical Reflections, Unborn Jesus

Tis the Season of ‘The Gospel of Life’

Mary Visits Elizabeth, Andrei Severetnikov

My mother and I stayed with cousin Elizabeth, Zechariah and unborn John for three months. Our parents spent this time in fellowship, prayer and reflection.


The tone established for this ninety‑day visit might simply be stated as joy. Joy in the fulfillment of God’s promises! Messianic Joy!

The focus of the ninety‑day visit was preparation.  God had called all of these individuals to serve Him in a most extraordinary manner, and before proceeding further God prepared them for the months and years ahead. Elizabeth and Zechariah were well disposed, after six quiet months spent in large measure listening, praying and reflecting. Mary was young and eager to continue as the Lord willed. But all three needed this special time with the Word Incarnate. And paradoxically, unborn John would now be prepared by the unborn Lord to years later return the favor and “prepare the way of the Lord” (Is 40:3).

We can not say definitively what Unborn Jesus did while still in the womb of His mother. But we can ponder these events with faith and love. What was this Divine Presence like within Mary’s womb, nestled under the beacon of her heart? “The flame of fire in the burning bush was a figure of Jesus in Mary’s sacred womb…. So He still speaks as if concealed in Mary’s womb…”*

… Perhaps another analogy might help us to further appreciate the power of this Unborn presence. Consider how the fire in a fireplace within a small cabin draws all who enter towards its glowing warmth. In a similar spiritual sense, the Unborn Son of God would have attracted His hosts ‑ Elizabeth and Zechariah ‑ to Himself. For their part, remaining humble and receptive, they would sense the tranquility of His Being and their open hearts would be enflamed by His nearness. Similarly, recall how the woman who touched the hem of His garment, while a crowd bustled about Him, was instantly healed by the Power in Him. Crowds were attracted to Him. For those of good will, His presence was attractiveness itself, and no doubt His physical presence would have become the new focal point of this small home.  Excerpt from Unborn Jesus Our Hope, George Peate.

*This quote taken from Richard F. Clarke, S.J., “The Coming Of Christ”, pamphlet D446 (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1964), 38

December 5, 2009, 7:49 pm
Filed under: Advent, Biblical Reflections, Unborn Jesus

Tis the Season of ‘The Gospel of Life’

Mary in the House of Elizabeth by Robert Anning Bell (1863-1933)

My mother and I visited with cousins Elizabeth (unborn John) and Zechariah for three months (Luke 1:56). Here are my mother and Elizabeth sewing baby clothes.


“We live in an age of impatience, an age which in everything, from learning the ABC to industry, tries to cut out and do away with the natural season of growth. That is why so much in our life is abortive. We ought to let everything grow in us, as Christ grew in Mary….. No man should ever make anything except in the spirit in which a woman bears a child, in the spirit in which Christ was formed in Mary’s womb, in the love with which God created the world.”

“In this contemplation there is great virtue in practicing patience in small things until the habit of Advent returns to us.”

Caryll Houselander (1901 – 1954)
The Reed Of God