UNBORN WORD of the day


Maria Heimsuchung (The Visitation) 1210, Chapel of St. Leonard Nauders Austria

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

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Chapel of St. Leonard Nauders Austria

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Maria Heimsuchung – One of Three  Frescoes found in the Chapel of St. Leonard

The wall paintings in the Chapel of St. Leonard are among the most important Romanesque frescoes discoveries that have been made in North Tyrol ever. Their rediscovery goes back to 1914. Although the paintings are not completely preserved, they are among the earliest frescoes of North Tyrol and thus are important in Austria’s art history.  The latest research link these frescos to benchmark examples in South Tyrol and Graubünden and assume that the frescoes were created by 1210.

“Truly He is in haste to be about His Father’s business. Truly He is an impatient conqueror, to be thus early beginning His conquests, and laying the foundations of His world wide empire. He can not bear to be in the world for even so short a while, but sin shall feel the weight of His unborn arm…..His first mission and ministry was in the womb, and the babe unborn the first conquest of His divine apostolate…..and the Unborn Child destroys the sin and abolishes the curse of the unborn child.”   Frederick W. Faber, D.D., The Blessed Sacrament (Baltimore, MD: John Murphy Company, circa 1855), 162 163.

 



Annunciation of Ustyug 1119-1130, The Tretyakov Gallery Moscow, Russia
December 3, 2012, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, 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 Tretyakov Gallery

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One of the earliest images of Christ in the womb is the Annunciation of Ustyug

The Annunciation of Ustyug gained its name due to the legend that Saint Procopius of Ustyug predicted the fall of  a meteorite and other calamities near the town of Veliky Ustyug. He tried to convince the citizens to confess their sins and pray for the city to be saved. They did not believe him and only at the last minute, when the storm had already started, escaped to the church and started to pray before the icon and were saved.

The icon depicts Christ Emmanuel standing In the womb of the Virgin, giving a blessing with his right hand. On the left – the archangel Gabriel, greets the Virgin Mary and is blessing her. At the top of the center, in a blue semi-circle of the sky with gold stars the Father is portrayed with a blue halo of glory. He sits on a red throne, at the foot of which are red cherubim, and above on the sides – red and gold Seraphim. The Father holds a scroll in his left hand, and His right hand blesses Mary.

The Ustyug Annunciation in its iconography has its roots in Eastern Christian art. The point of this type of art is to explain the supernatural Conception – Incarnation of the deity. Therefore, in Russia, the Virgin with the Christ child depicted near her heart is sometimes called Our Lady of the Incarnation.

“For you must know that the sublime work of the Incarnation was the work of the whole Trinity, although it was only the Person of the Son of God who became incarnate. It was as if one who put on a tunic were helped by two standing on either side of him who held the tunic in their hands….For although the Holy Trinity is every where, nevertheless you must think of It in your meditation as being here in a very special manner, by reason of the great and unique work which is being done.”   St. Bonaventure, Meditations On The Life Of Christ, trans. Sister M. Emmanuel, O.S.B. (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1934), 16.



ANOTHER ADVENT TRADITION YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD ABOUT – Iglesia de San Martín de Tours de Sevilla
December 2, 2012, 11:38 am
Filed under: Advent, Christmas, How are we to honor Unborn Jesus, Incarnation, Pro-life

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Our Lady of Hope, is renowned for her beauty. The image is from the second half of the 16th century but later restorations (one by Castillo Lastrucci), added to it‘s beauty and unmistakable Sevillian style. The Virgin wears a green coat with sterling silver lining, highlighting her magnificent crown. All year – except Advent – Mary holds the infant Jesus with her left hand and arm.

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Below the statue (see above photos), in front of the basket appears an oval  “O” iconographic detail of the Unborn Christ Child (reminiscent of the Advent “O” antiphons). 

During Advent, the oval with the Unborn Christ is placed upon the Virgin, in front of her womb. (The infant Jesus is taken down from Mary’s left hand during Advent and placed in an ornate casing.) See photos below.

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Then, on Christmas day the unborn Christ oval is returned to its place below the statue and the infant Jesus returned to Mary’s hand. These rituals give a unique charm to this statue and the Incarnation event.

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Iglesia de San Martín de Tours de Sevilla

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An Advent Tradition you may not have heard about.
November 20, 2012, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Advent, Christmas, How are we to honor Unborn Jesus, Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

Over the last number of years, we have found over 100 images of Christ in Mary’s womb from around the world. Recently, we discovered that 2 of these images are part of an Advent Tradition that surprised us. The St. Phillip Neri Institute in Berlin has a wonderful statue that a friend of theirs carved for them. It is a copy of a miraculous statue of “Maria Gravida”  that is in the Church of Maria Hilf Assumptio in Malta, Austria. This miraculous statue dates from around the 1400’s.

Maria Gravida (1400) Malta, Austria

Below are a few views of the statue of Maria Gravida at St. Phillip Neri Institute in Germany

 Maria Gravida

During Advent this Maria Gravida statue is placed on a pedestal in front of a blue curtain – behind the curtain is a Nativity scene. At Midnight on Christmas eve, the statue of Mary Pregnant is taken off the pedestal and the Nativity scene is unveiled.

Maria Gravida, December 24, Christmas Eve day

Nativity Scene, Christmas Eve Midnight

We have also discovered a similar tradition for the statue of Our Lady of Divine Hope in the Iglesia de San Martín Sevilla in Spain which we will highlight in a future post.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The Great Nativity – Day 27
December 24, 2011, 12:12 am
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

Nativity by Master Francke

NINTH STATION

 As Mary and Joseph seek a place to stay they are perhaps surprised to find no place, except a manger. Regardless, the wondrous event occurs and God’s angels are present and shepherds are sent too, to behold the little Son of God, crying, blinking, arms and legs captured by gravity and flailing about, but finally completely at rest and at peace.

A MORNING OFFERING

O Lord, I am conscious of my many limitations and my helplessness. But in a way I am glad Lord because recognizing these makes me turn to You more often. Help me Lord in all things. I give my day to You as a little newborn might do.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The Great Nativity – Day 26
December 22, 2011, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

 

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

NINTH STATION

Jesus’ life is marked by uncertainty from the very moment of his birth. He is certainly accepted by the righteous, who echo Mary’s immediate and joyful “yes” (cf. Lk 1:38). But there is also, from the start, rejection on the part of a world which grows hostile and looks for the child in order “to destroy him” (Mt 2:13); a world which remains indifferent and unconcerned about the fulfilment of the mystery of this life entering the world: ‘there was no place for them in the inn’  (Lk 2:7). In this contrast between threats and insecurity on the one hand and the power of God’s gift on the other, there shines forth all the more clearly the glory which radiates from the house at Nazareth and from the manger at Bethlehem: this life which is born is salvation for all humanity (cf. Lk 2:11).”  John Paul II, Gospel of Life #33

“The stable at Bethlehem is the first place for solidarity with man: for one man’s solidarity with another and for all men’s with all men, especially with those for whom there is “no room at the inn” (cf. Lk 2:7), whose personal rights are refused recognition.” John Paul II , 24 December 1978

A MORNING OFFERING

O my Jesus, I offer You my day for the unborn who have been rejected by our world. There is no room for them at the inn today.  Like the unborn of our day, You and  Your mother were turned away when Your hour to be born had come. Thank You for sharing in their rejection.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The Great Nativity – Day 25
December 21, 2011, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

NINTH STATION

“Patience is a twofold grace, that of waiting and that of suffering, both are a great aid to zeal. The Eternal Word’s zeal for the salvation of men had existed in all its perfection and all its fullness from all eternity, yet think how long He waited! When the conditions were changed and He had at length become incarnate, He still waited patiently for nine months,and after that He waited for thirty years! This was zeal, zeal in its perfection. Is my zeal tempered with patience?”    Mother St. Paul’s book Ortus Christi (published in 1921) .

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, grant me the grace of patience and zeal. Help me this Christmas to renew my intention to bring You to everyone I meet. May I look for ways to bring Your love to those in need. You came as a lovable child – may I learn to present your lovable face to others.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Sent by God to Bethlehem – Day 24
December 20, 2011, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Mother of Life – Nellie Edwards

 (click here to learn more about Nellie Edwards and her apostolate.)

EIGHTH STATION

“Now Mary’s Expectation was full of God, and therefore it was joyous. It had two intensities of joy in it: the intensity of created holiness thirsting for the sight of God; and the intensity of an earthly mother’s desire natural, simple, and human, but immensely sanctified to see the Face of her Babe, whom she knew to be God as well. ….Mary yearned for that earthly beatific Vision, the Face of the Incarnate God. She had doubtless intellectual visions, as mystics call them, of the beauty of the Sacred Humanity, before that night at Bethlehem. But these would rather increase the burning of her desire, than be a satisfaction to it…” Fr. Frederick W. Faber, D.D., Bethlehem

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, as Christmas approaches help me today to long to see your face. May everything I do today as I prepare for this wonderful feast be done with love. Help me choose to be cheerful even as I hurry through my day – cheerfulness that is rooted in the joy of the season.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Sent by God to Bethlehem – Day 23
December 19, 2011, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Advent, Evangelium Vitae, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Meister der Kahriye Cami Kirche -Mary and Joseph – The Census in Bethlehem

EIGHTH STATION

“Christmas is the feast of man. A human being is born. He is one of the millions and millions of people who have been born, are being born and will be born on earth. A human being, one item in the vast range of statistics. It as not without reason that Jesus came into the world when a census ‘was being held, when a Roman emperor wanted to know the number of subjects in his territory. A human being is an object to be counted, something considered under the aspect of quantity, one of many millions. Yet at the same time he is a single being, unique and unrepeatable. If we celebrate with such solemnity the birth of Jesus, it is to bear witness that every human being (is) somebody unique and unrepeatable.” Urbi et Orbi Message of His Holiness John Paul II Christmas 1978

A MORNING OFFERING

O my Jesus, thank you for coming into this world as a man, for choosing to belong to the human race. Thank you for showing us the true worth of each person. As we celebrate your birth, may our respect for each human life increase.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Sent by God to Bethlehem – Day 22
December 18, 2011, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Artist . Brother Claude Lane, O.S.B Title The Dream of Joseph Location Mt. Angel Abbey, Oregon On one side Joseph is pictured as a traveler, his feet still in movement, and carrying a knapsack. The Angel is pictured on the other side.

EIGHTH STATION

God willed and Caesar decided a census would be a good idea. The timing was the absolute worst according to a human analysis, but Mary and Joseph were completely at peace as they realized that it was now very possible that Jesus would be borne in Bethlehem or on the way there. They accepted God’s will. They welcomed God’s intervention in their lives.

A MORNING OFFERING

Lord, as I begin this day I ask for Your help in accepting sudden or unforeseen events and in responding to them. Give me Your outlook on life O God. Help me to have Your peace and Your patience O Lord as I go through my day. God help me with every difficulty and decision today and every day.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The First Christian Family – Day 21
December 17, 2011, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

The Expectant Madonna with Saint Joseph, 15th century French, National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection

SEVENTH STATION

“The house at Nazareth was in very deed God’s Sanctuary, containing the Altar of Repose, where the Savior of the world was resting. Angels were in constant adoration before their King. The faithful consisted of Mary and Joseph, whose thought and conversation could be about nothing else but the Child Who was coming into the world.

And who shall measure the graces and blessings, which that Child was showering upon Mary and her faithful spouse, during those months of waiting and prayer and holy converse,while they planned and arranged with such care and minuteness, as parents are wont to do, every detail connected with the birth of the firstborn?” Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, help me to be open to the graces and blessings you want to shower on me this Advent season! Help me today to think often about your coming birth and to show a true Christmas spirit to those around me.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The First Christian Family – Day 20
December 16, 2011, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Mary and Joseph carved by Jacques Bourgault

SEVENTH STATION

Here are 2 quotes form St. Thomas Aquinas about Christ’s  time in the womb.

“Mary and Joseph needed to be instructed concerning Christ’s birth before He was born, because it devolved on them to show reverence to the child conceived in the womb, and to serve Him even before He was born.”  Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Q. 36, Second Article, Reply to Obj. 2.

“But His first coming was unto the salvation of all, which is by faith that is of things not seen. And therefore it was fitting that His first coming should be hidden.” Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Q. 36, First Article, Reply to Obj. 3.

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, please instruct me on how to love my family, friends and those I meet today. Help me to see your hidden presence in those around me.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The First Christian Family – Day 19
December 15, 2011, 9:15 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Mary Spinning with  Joseph before the Birth of Jesus,  Strasbourg, Musee de Notre-Dame I’Oeuvre, inv 1482

SEVENTH STATION

For almost six months prior to the birth of Jesus, He and his parents were a true family, in the full sense of that term. In this first Christian family we find a model for every family, in fact it is also a model for every group or community. All members of this family desired first the Will of God and secondly, what would be best for the “other” members of the family. Each member put himself or herself last.

A MORNING OFFERING

Lord I believe You will give me many opportunities today to help others and to put others first. Help me O God, to view each day as a series of opportunities to serve You my God as well as my neighbor. Show me Lord, a Divine view of the needs of my family members, friends and acquaintances and then help me to help. Grant me a good attitude Lord and the will to try.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Joseph’s Loving Obedience – Day 18
December 14, 2011, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Adoption, Advent, Incarnation, Pope Benedict XVI, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

St. Joseph Shadow of the Father

Painting by Fr. William McNichols

SIXTH STATION

“In these days of Advent, the liturgy invites us to contemplate in a special way the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, who lived with a unique intensity the time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus. Today, I want to direct our gaze toward the figure of St. Joseph… The one who gives the most importance to the adoptive father of Jesus is the Evangelist Matthew, emphasizing that thanks to him, the Child was legally introduced into the lineage of David fulfilling the Scriptures, in which the Messiah was prophesied as the ’son of David’.”   Pope Benedict, Angelus address, December 18, 2005

A MORNING OFFERING

O Heavenly Father, St. Joseph adopted Jesus when he was still an unborn baby. Jesus was adopted by a man so we could be adopted by You, Our God. Help me to love You today as a child loves his/her father. I want to offer my heart to You with childlike trust.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Joseph’s Loving Obedience – Day 17
December 13, 2011, 7:39 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

On this mosaic Joseph is depicted as taking the Virgin Mary to his home.
This is one of the world famous mosaic depictions of Chora museum.

SIXTH STATION

“In Joseph’s midnight angelic revelation John Paul II sees Joseph’s “personal Annunciation” and the moment of his “Divine election….His place in the history of salvation is defined.

When Joseph woke from sleep ‑ we read in Matthew ‑ he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him’ (Mt 1:24). In these few words there is everything. The whole description of Joseph’s life and the full characteristic of his holiness: ‘He did’. Joseph, the one we know from the Gospel, is a man of action.” Pope John Paul II, General Audience, March 19, 1980

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, I want to follow you but so often I fail. Help me today, to begin again! May I follow Joseph’s example and lovingly take up the responsibilities you have placed before me today. May I offer you not just my love today but also my actions.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Joseph’s Loving Obedience – Day 16
December 12, 2011, 9:04 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

The Dream of St. Joseph (with unborn Christ Child) by Francisco Rizi (1608-1685)

 SIXTH STATION

Joseph, like everyone who tries to do what is right, had to wrestle with a tremendous problem. He prayed and fasted, he quietly considered, but because of the nature of the problem he did not consult others. God was his trustworthy guide and consultant. And God showed Joseph what must be done. Immediately Joseph did God’s Will.

A MORNING OFFERING

O Lord, I trust You in all things. Help me make tiny decisions through my day. And help me God my Savior with all my problems and larger decisions too. I believe You will help me as I try to do what is right and good. I realize that Your ways God are different and above human plans and ideas. Help me God to be open and sensitive to the inspirations of Your Holy Spirit.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Returning to Nazareth – Day 15
December 11, 2011, 7:39 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Prayer

Maria Schwanger

FIFTH STATION

“As Mary takes leave of her dear friends, Elizabeth and Zechariah, and their newborn baby, she turns northward with her feet, heavenward and inward with her heart. She recalls the wonderful birth of John, reliving the event, remembering excited faces and rejoicing, marveling at the beautiful little body of that baby. There is no treasure so precious and captivating as the small body of a newborn baby old in months but new in the brilliance of daylight!… For truly it is one of Life’s great secrets: every newborn child is a witness to the Prince of Peace, and every birth day a little Christmas.”    From Unborn Jesus Our Hope

A MORNING OFFERING

Oh my Jesus, thank You for this Christmas season.  This is a time of hope!  Help me to turn my heart with joy to You, the babe in Mary’s womb. Help the celebration of Your birth be a reminder to me of how precious each life is to You.