UNBORN WORD of the day

At the Heart of the Hail Mary Prayer
August 9, 2010, 10:54 am
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

Annunciation by Michael Wening

Christians of every persuasion unite around the repetition of the Our Father. But in a sense the Lord’s Prayer is a model of how to pray – not the only prayer we are to say.

Making the sign of the cross is a physical expression of prayer which reflects our interior disposition (at least to an extent). Kneeling is also a physical expression of prayer but less revealing of one’s “beliefs” than making the sign of the cross.

All of our spiritual acts and words leave an impression upon our souls. The memory is a faculty of the soul, an “inner sense” as Aquinas described it. Surely the memory takes note of all our spiritual acts and prayers, especially those that tend to be repetitive.

So let’s consider briefly just a few words from one prayer; the Hail Mary, which is a prayer based on scripture and the tradition of the Church. (The first half of the Hail Mary comes straight from scripture; Lk 1:28, 42, 31. The second half is a simple petition expressing the age old mind of the Church.) Let’s consider one clause from this ancient prayer of the Church: “…blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus”. These words were spoken by Elizabeth to Mary when Unborn Jesus was about one week old – He was in Mary’s womb when the words were spoken by Elizabeth who was probably just a few feet away from Him.

“Blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus”. These words have been prayed by Catholics zillions of times over two thousand years, but more to the point, each individual Catholic has heard these words over and over again and prayed these words over and over again. The message of these words is like a radiant beam of glory aimed at the heart of the Christian. The point here is that these words are packed with message and meaning.

Some would take issue with recitation of this prayer by quoting Jesus Himself: “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do…” (Mt 6:7). The point here is that this phrase – this glorious phrase “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus” – is NOT an empty phrase, it is scripture, it is a phrase “pressed down, and shaken together, and running over” – bursting and overflowing with meaning, direction and hope.

So, the Church is guilty of being fixated upon, even obsessed with, the wonder, the beauty and the glory of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. And we haven’t even mentioned Christmas yet!

“Blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus” has been a luminous track for the faithful, lo’ these many centuries, for the illiterate and literate alike, for the weak and the holy alike. These words have upheld a Truth about Jesus Christ which has led the Church into its profound and expansive Pro – Life position concerning all other unborn children in the wombs of their mothers.

Dare we say it? “Blessed is the fruit of every mother’s womb!”

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