UNBORN WORD of the day

The Visitation 1310, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
December 6, 2012, 12:31 am
Filed under: Advent, Pro-life, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus


Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City


The Visitation This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 304

Soon after the Virgin Mary learned of her miraculous conception of Jesus, she visited her kinswoman Elizabeth, who was also expecting a child, John the Baptist. This representation of their joyous meeting comes from the Dominican convent of Katharinenthal, in the Lake Constance region of present-day Switzerland.

Carved of walnut, with the original paint and gilding almost completely preserved, the figures of Mary and Elizabeth are each inset with crystal-covered cavities through which images of their infants may originally have been seen. The representation of the Visitation incorporating images of the unborn Christ and John the Baptist, found with some frequency in contemporary works from German-speaking lands, emphasizes the moment when, according to “The Golden Legend,” Saint John, being unable “to manifest his joy with his tongue,” leapt “with joy in his mother’s womb.” The Virgin tenderly places her hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder, while her cousin raises her arm to her breast in reference to her declaration, “Who am I, that the mother of the Lord should visit me?” (Luke 1:43).

Bishop Austin Vaughn (1927-2000), formerly Auxiliary Bishop of New York, who himself was arrested a number of times for prayerfully protesting in front of abortion facilities once wrote  in an article entitled The Catholic Duty to Be Pro – Life:  “It is not an accident, I think, that in the scriptures the first person, after Mary, who adored Jesus when He came into the world was St. John the Baptist….The second person who ever worshipped Jesus, after Mary, was an unborn baby, and I think God made it that way to tell us in our day and age the worth and importance of every individual right from the very beginning of life”.

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