UNBORN WORD of the day


Let us resolve to make room for Jesus in our hearts during this year of faith
December 25, 2012, 8:43 am
Filed under: Christmas

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The Virgin and St. Joseph Refused Shelter in Bethlehem Jan Massys 1558

We want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

As many of you know this is the Year of Faith. Pope Benedict spoke eloquently this Christmas Eve asking us to find time for Jesus in the room of our hearts and minds. Here is the what he said:

“Do we have time and space for him? Do we not actually turn away God himself? We begin to do so when we have no time for him,”

“The faster we can move, the more efficient our time-saving appliances become, the less time we have. And God? The question of God never seems urgent. Our time is already completely full. Even if he seems to knock at the door of our thinking, he has to be explained away. If thinking is to be taken seriously, it must be structured in such a way that the ‘God hypothesis’ becomes superfluous,” he said. “There is no room for him. Not even in our feelings and desires is there any room for him. We want ourselves. We want what we can seize hold of, we want happiness that is within our reach, we want our plans and purposes to succeed. We are so ‘full’ of ourselves that there is no room left for God.”

I know when I read this it struck me as so true. Our world is structured in such a way that it seems to squeeze Christ out of our lives. There was no room for Christ at the Inn in Bethlehem 2000 years ago – let us resolve  anew to open our hearts and minds to make room for Him in this Year of Faith.



The Dream of St. Joseph by Francisco Rizi 1665, Indianapolis Museum of Art Indianapolis, Indiana
December 24, 2012, 11:17 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Indianapolis Museum of Art

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The Dream of St. Joseph Artist: Francisco Rizi

In a subject that became popular in Spain during the 17th century, an angel appears to St. Joseph in a dream and explains that Mary has miraculously conceived a child. The luminous angel points to a vision of Mary with the infant Christ in her womb and the dove of the Holy Spirit above her. The veneration of the expectant Virgin as protectress of women in childbirth was prevalent at the Spanish court and was promoted by the royal confessor. Francisco Rizi was the Spanish-born son of a Bolognese painter who went to work for Philip II at the Escorial in 1583. Rizi, who became royal painter to Philip IV in 1658, was also active as a stage designer.

“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’ (Mt 1:20-21).

There is a strict parallel between the “annunciation” in Matthew’s text and the one in Luke. The divine messenger introduces Joseph to the mystery of Mary’s motherhood. While remaining a virgin, she who by law is his “spouse” has become a mother through the power of the Holy Spirit. And when the Son in Mary’s womb comes into the world, he must receive the name Jesus. This was a name known among the Israelites and sometimes given to their sons. In this case, however, it is the Son who, in accordance with the divine promise, will bring to perfect fulfillment the meaning of the name Jesus-Yehos ua’ – which means ‘God saves.’ “   John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos 



Apokalypse Maria-Ekklesia by Gottfried Bernhard Goz 1749/50, Die Wallfahrtskirche Birnau, Lake Constance, Germany
December 21, 2012, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Die Wallfahrtskirche Birnau (The Pilgrimage Church of Birnau)

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Apokalypse Maria-Ekklesia (Presbyteriu Deckenfresko)

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Detail of Christ In the Womb

Birnau is a pilgrimage church at the shore of Lake Constance, between Meersburg and Überlingen. It was built in 1746-1749 for the Cistercians monastery of Salem (Germany) by Austrian architect Peter Thumb. The church interior features notable frescoes by Gottfried Bernhard Göz as well as altars and stucco ornaments in rococo style by Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer.

“In being born among us, may the Child Jesus not find us distracted or merely busy, beautifying our houses with decorative lights. Rather, let us deck our soul and make our families a worthy dwelling place where he feels welcomed with faith and love. May the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph help us to live the Mystery of Christmas with renewed wonder and peaceful serenity.” Benedict XVI General Audience, December 20 2006



Pregnant Madonna,The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption, Bogenberg, Austria
December 21, 2012, 8:18 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption (Pilgrimage church Mariä Himmelfahrt)

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The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption (Mariä Himmelfahrt) Shrine Interior

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Pregnant Madonna

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Pregnant Madonna (detail)

The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption in Altotting Bogenberg on a hill overlooking the Danube is the second largest and oldest pilgrimage site in Bavaria.
The special feature of the arc mountain church is the sculpture of the pregnant Madonna (window in the womb with baby Jesus).  Bogen’s greatest claim to fame is this shrine to Mary high atop Bogenberg.

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According to the legend, the Romanesque stone sculpture of Our Lady was found floating upstream on the Danube in 1104. In 1295 the chronicle of Oberalteich monastery for the first time mentions the legend of how the miracle-working statue which is revered in Bogenberg Church was found. According to that legend the statue had been floating upstream in the Danube and had landed on a rock in the river, which appears when the water level is low. This rock is still called “Marienstein”, i.e. Marys stone. Count Aswin of Bogen is said to have recovered the statue from the rock and to have taken it to the chapel of his castle. Then a church was built on Bogenberg Hill for the statue and the hill with the church was given to the monks of Oberalteich, who encouraged the pilgrimage to the miraculous statue. The statue shows Holy Mary heavy with child. It is also the reason why many of the pilgrims who came/come to Bogenberg were/are women praying for a good childbirth.

“In Advent Christ rested in Mary still, silent, helpless, utterly dependent. The Creator trusted Himself to His creature….This was a foreshadowing of what the Incarnation would mean for us; for in us too, Christ rests as He rested in Mary. From the moment when the Christ life is conceived in us, our life is intended for one thing, the expression of His love, His love for God and for the world…. We must allow the Christ life to grow in us in rest. Our whole being must fold upon Christ’s rest in us, as the earth folds upon the seed.” Caryll Houselander, The Passion of the Infant Christ (London: Sheed and Ward, 1949).



Virgin Mary “Of the Sign”, 15th Century, Mezquita Cathedral, Andalusia Cordoba, Spain
December 20, 2012, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Mezquita Cathedral

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Mezquita Cathedral (Interior)

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Virgin Mary  “of the Sign”

Fresco of Virgin Mary “of the Sign”: she is carrying Jesus in her womb. This mural is found in The Mezquita Cathedral of Cordoba, a Roman Catholic cathedral and former mosque, situated in the Andalusian city of Córdoba, Spain. Under the rule of Islam, it was built as the second-largest mosque in the world, and is perhaps the most accomplished monument of the Umayyad dynasty of Cordoba. After the Spanish Reconquista, it was transformed into a church, and some of the Islamic columns and arches were replaced by a basilica in early Baroque style. Today it houses the main church of the diocese of Cordoba in Spain.

“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 with all the more joy, and tell Him what she had been doing and saying…… 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 remodeling. Let us try to understand something of what His prayer was.”  Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi (London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., 1921), 90 91.

 



Gosler Town Hall Interior, 1505-1520, Goslar Town Hall Goslar Germany
December 18, 2012, 7:25 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Gosler Town Hall Interior

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Verkündigung Mariä

The Huldigungssaal in Goslar town hall was built from 1505 to 1520 as a Council Chamber. Here is a unique gem of late Gothic art : walls, ceiling and even the window recesses are completely lined with paintings. Varied carved tendrils crown the individual whiteboards. Each and every painting is a work of art that fits in with the overwhelming impression.. It took many years but the Huldigungssaal has now been restored, with security, climate and lighting upgraded to keep this unique ensemble of artwork in pristine condition.

“The Word took possession of her chaste womb, where He was to dwell for nine months the first nine months of His sojourn on this earth. And in that temple He at once began His work, that of loving God with a human heart……All His perfect acts of love, of praise, of reverence, of service, His acts of patience and humility, of meekness and suffering, of sacrifice and mort ification and all the rest, passed up to God through Mary. From that sacred temple a fragrant incense was continually rising to heaven “a sweet smelling savor”, sweeter than either earth or heaven had ever known before. For all those acts were perfect in God’s sight, worthy of His acceptance; they were the acts of a perfect man. And they were also infinite because they were at the same time the acts of God Himself.” Mother St. Paul, Nativitas Christi (London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., 1937), 145



Schwangere Maria – Pregnant Mary (Fragment of Altar wing), 1505, Swiss National Museum Zurich Switzerland
December 17, 2012, 11:40 pm
Filed under: Evangelium Vitae

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Swiss National Museum – Zurich,Switzerland

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Schwangere Maria – Pregnant Mary (Fragment of Altar wing)

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Unborn Jesus (detail)

Fragment of an altar wing. Pregnant Mary in a blue dress with a white cape in front of a red background. In the body of Mary the unborn child Jesus is visible. Anonymous painter. Tempera on wood frame: pine wood. 1505. Origin: Cham (ZG), Field Chapel. Dimensions: height 81 cm, width 17.7 cm.

“This divine touch within from within – one can almost envision a Sistine Chapel-like ceiling painting of God, not the Father but the little unborn Son, straining forward and reaching out His tiny finger towards the inner heart of Mary – His mother can almost give shape to God’s way of touching each human heart from deep within.”  Unborn Jesus Our Hope