January 24 is the feast day of St. Francis de Sales. This week during the 39 anniversary of Roe vs Wade it would be good to reflect on God’s call from the womb.
There are many times in the Old and New Testament that Biblical figures were called by God or mentioned in the Bible while still in their mother’s womb. Here is a beautiful quote from St. Francis de Sales about this:
“God also appointed other favors for a small number of rare creatures who he would preserve from the peril of damnation, as is certain of S. John Baptist and very probable of Jeremias and some others, whom the Divine providence seized upon in their mother’s womb, and thereupon established them in the perpetuity of his grace, that they might remain firm in his love, though subject to checks and venial sins, which are contrary to the perfection of love though not to love itself…” Treatise on the Love of God : St. Francis de Sales, (1567-1622)
Here are the prophets that St. Francis was referring to:
“And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength)” (Isaiah 49:5)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
John the Baptist
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)
Two other great men who were called from their mother’s womb but probably don’t quite fit St. Francis’ description:
“Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, ‘A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.’ But he said to me, `Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’” (Judges 13:6-7, see also Judges 16:17)
“But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased…” (Galatians 1:15)
Jacob and Esau are also mentioned as wrestling in their mother’s womb
“Isaac entreated the LORD on behalf of his wife, since she was sterile. The LORD heard his entreaty, and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children in her womb jostled each other so much that she exclaimed, ‘If this is to be so, what good will it do me!’
She went to consult the LORD, and he answered her: ‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples are quarreling while still within you; But one shall surpass the other, and the older shall serve the younger.’
When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb.” Genesis 25: 22-24
And of course the most important unborn person in the Bible – Preborn Jesus.
No sooner, in fact, “is the Word made flesh” (John, 1:14) than he shows Himself to the world vested with a priestly office, making to the Eternal Father an act of submission which will continue uninterruptedly as long as He lives: “When He cometh into the world he saith. . . ‘behold I come . . . to do Thy Will. (Heb. 10:5-7) This act He was to consummate admirably in the bloody Sacrifice of the Cross: “It is in this will we are sanctified by the oblation of the Body of Jesus Christ once.” (Heb.10:10) Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei #17
“Everyone is called to love God with their whole heart and soul and mind and strength and to love their neighbor out of love for God. But on the night, before he died, Jesus gave us two great gifts: the gift of himself in the Eucharist and the gift of the priesthood to continue his living presence in the Eucharist.
Without priests, we have no Jesus. Without priests, we have no absolution. Without priests, we cannot receive Holy Communion.
Just as God our Father prepared a worthy dwelling place for his Son in the immaculate womb of a virgin — so it is fitting that a priest prepares himself to take the place of Jesus, the Son of God, by freely choosing priestly celibacy. Marriage and procreation are miracles of God’s love by which men and women become his co-workers, to bring new life into the world. But Jesus has clearly spoken to something even greater than that, when he said that in heaven people neither marry nor are given in marriage but live like the angels; and that there are some who have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God.
Priestly celibacy is that gift which prepares for life in heaven. Jesus calls his priest to be his co-worker in the Church, to fill heaven with God’s children.”