UNBORN WORD of the day

May 31, 2010, 10:09 am
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

Fragment des Georgsaltares von Friedrich Herlin

Monday, May 31st is the Feast of the Visitation. After Mary conceived Christ in her womb, she “went with haste” to the home of her cousin Elizabeth (probably in Ain-Karim, on the outskirts of Jerusalem); about a 4 day journey. She traveled with confidence; Christ in her womb, the Spirit in her heart, the will of the Father clearly outlined within her intellect, and a peaceful harmony between God’s Will and her own.

The Gospel of Luke gives a wondrous account of Mary’s arrival at the home of Elizabeth (Lk 1:39-56). This encounter, this Gospel event of the first magnitude, is regrettably much neglected by believers in general. Yet it is a Pro-Life “Feast Day” of the first order! When Mother Teresa of Calcutta gave her famous Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech she mentioned this prophetic scene of two unborn babies meeting. In his prophetic Pro -Life encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), John Paul II refers to this scene twice (#45, footnote to #61), calling it a “magnificent episode”. Others have marveled at this event as well, for example; Archbishop Fulton Sheen: “when pregnancy met pregnancy” we witness “A Pentecost came before Pentecost” (The World’s First Love).

Mary greets Elizabeth, unborn John leaps “for joy” in his mother’s womb. Luke feels compelled to relay this event twice (verses 41, 44). The Catechism of the Catholic Church weighs in on this beautiful mystery of our faith: “John was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb’ by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to His people” (CCC #717, emphasis added).

So, the just-conceived Unborn Christ acts deliberately here! He fills the unborn baby John with His Holy Spirit; virtually a gift of Himself, a redeeming gift which prefigures the salvation of the world. God has singled out one tiny unborn baby – just days after His Incarnation – into whose heart He pours His Spirit (fulfilling Gabriel’s promise of Lk 1:15). An exquisite prefiguring of His Redemptive Mission… and a tender sign of His impenetrable Love for all unborn babies (of whom John is a representative; every unborn baby).

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