UNBORN WORD of the day


The Archangel Gabriel – HOW ARE WE TO HONOR UNBORN JESUS (AND ALL UNBORN BABIES MADE IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS)?

The Annunciation by Nicolas Poussin

How did the Archangel Gabriel honor unborn Jesus:

The Archangel Gabriel honors Unborn Jesus through the profound reverence with which he announces His entrance into the world (Lk 1:5-17, 26-38).

Gabriel was sent to a nobody, who had next to nothing, and who lived in the middle of nowhere. Or so it would seem. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” Why would an angel show such reverence towards a human being? Why would Gabriel, whom the bible tells us stands “in the presence of God” (Lk.1:19), speak in this way? He himself answers the question: because she had “found favor with God” (Lk.1:30).

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He also honors Unborn Jesus by the respect and adoration he shows the Unborn Word of God.

 “Mary said: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy word.” What happened at that moment? The Holy Ghost overshadowed her, the Body of Our Lord was formed from her pure blood, God created the human Soul to dwell in it, and by the act of the Incarnation that Soul and Body became the Soul and Body of the Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity ; Mary became the Mother of God and Gabriel worshipped before the Tabernacle of the Word made flesh.” Ortus ChristiMother St. Paul

 

Like Gabriel we too can worship the Unborn Christ Child and show great reverence to his mother. We can also honor Unborn Jesus by the respect and reverence we give to each unborn baby made in His image and likeness and by the love and support we give to their mothers.



How are we to honor Unborn Jesus (and all unborn babies made in his image and likeness)?

Meeting of Mary and Elisabeth by Marx Reichlich, Austrian painter (b. 1460, Salzburg, d. 1520, Salzburg) Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Sunday was the feast of the birth of St. John the Baptist. In honor of St. John we are posting a short series entitled:

How are we to honor Unborn Jesus (and all unborn babies made in his image and likeness)?

There are countless ways to honor Christ Unborn. But one way to consider this question is to reflect on the eight people and one angel mentioned in the Gospels as particularly honoring Jesus during His 9 months in the womb. These 9 are: the Archangel Gabriel, Mary, Unborn John the Baptist, Elizabeth and Zechariah (John’s parents), Joseph and finally the 3 wise men.

We would like to start with 2 quotes about unborn John who stands in the place of all unborn babies – who in a sense is every unborn baby.

Cardinal Bérulle (1575 – 1629) wrote extensively on the Unborn Christ Child. Here he reflects on the Visitation when the unborn John the Baptist leaps with joy:

God has become a child, and so he wants first to be known and adored by a child, and this is one of the first emanations of the childhood of God, manifesting himself to the universe. God is a child, the world ignores, heaven adores, and a child is the first person in the universe to recognize and adore him, and he does so by the homage and secret operation of God himself, who wants to act upon children. He wants to honor himself as child by giving the first knowledge of himself to a child in the world, making him his prophet in the universe. Thus the Infant-God is recognized and manifested, not by and angel, but by a child. So his first prophet is a child, just as shortly his first martyrs will be children.”

Bishop Austin Vaughan (1927-2000), Auxiliary Bishop of New York, who was arrested many times for peacefully praying and protesting in front of abortion facilities, wrote an article called  “The Catholic Duty to be Pro-Life” in which he reflected:

“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.”



St. Anthony and the Christ Child
June 12, 2012, 5:34 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Quotes from Great Christians, Saints

El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos), Saint Anthony of Padua, c. 1586, oil on canvas.  Museo nacional del Prado, Madrid

There is a story that St. Anthony was seen holding the Christ Child in his arms. Many images and statues of St. Anthony depict him holding the Christ Child. One variation of these images is of St. Anthony holding a Bible with the Christ Child on it. The most unusual one is El Greco’s St. Anthony. Here are 2 other images in this tradition.

 Perhaps this is because St. Anthony was also known as a great preacher – and especially for his knowledge of scripture. Following are 2 quotes from St. Anthony’s sermons which pertain to the Christ Child.

“The fruit of the bee is the Son of the Virgin. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb [Lk 1.42], it says; and Canticles 2: His fruit was sweet to my palate [Cant 2.3]. This fruit is sweet in its beginning, middle and end. It was sweet in the womb, sweet in the crib, sweet in the temple, sweet in Egypt, sweet in his Baptism, sweet in the desert, sweet in word, sweet in miracles, sweet on the ass, sweet in the scourging, sweet on the Cross, sweet in the tomb, sweet in hell and sweet in heaven. O sweet Jesus, what is more sweet than you are? ‘Jesu- the very thought is sweet…sweeter than honey far.’ ”

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Anthony of Padua

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son: and his name shall be called Emmanuel. [Is 7.14]

“…that is, God-with-us. This God is made a little child for us, is born for us today. There are many reasons why Christ is called a little child; and for briefness’ sake here is just one: if you hurt a child, make him cry… but then show him a flower, a rose or something like that, and after showing it give it to him- then he will not remember the hurt, he will put away his indignation and run to embrace you. In the same way, if you offend Christ by mortal sin, or inflict any kind of injury on him, but then offer him the flower of contrition or the rose of tearful confession (“Tears are the soul’s blood”), then he will not remember your offences, he will take away your guilt and run to embrace and kiss you.

 The Nativity of the Lord,  St. Anthony of Padua



THE 2ND WOMAN, THE 2ND MOTHER, THE 2ND EVE
May 13, 2012, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Mary, Mother of the Lord

Apokalypse Maria-Ekklesia Neubirnau am Bodensee,Presbyterium,Deckenfresko von Gottfried Bernhard Goz,  1749/50

Gen 2.23:

Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman…”

Gen 3.14-15:

The Lord God said to the serpent….“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal.”

Gen 3.20:

The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

Jn 2.4:

And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”

Jn 19.26-27:

When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, He said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”  And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Rev 12.1-17:

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun…she was with child…And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child…she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron……and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God…And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle…The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman…But the earth came to the help of the woman… and swallowed the river…Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.



The Visitation and Evangelization
April 30, 2012, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Unborn Jesus

Nördlingen. Stadtmuseum. Hochaltar, li. Flügel: Heimsuchun

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has  an interesting article entitled Three stories of Evangelization from the Gospels:

The scenes they choose to look at are  1. Mary Visits Elizabeth. (Lk 1: 39 – 56)  2. Jesus’ First Disciples (Jn 1: 19 – 50)  and  3. Jesus talks with a Samaritan Woman (Jn 4: 1 – 42)

Here is what they say about the Visitation:

In the story of the Visitation, Church tradition often refers to Mary as “the first missionary”. In this scripture, Mary has only just discovered that she is miraculously pregnant with a child who is the Son of God, and who will be the saviour king that her people have been waiting for. She visits Elizabeth, who is also expecting a child: the future John the Baptist. When Mary greets Elizabeth, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, and her unborn child leaps for joy because Jesus is present.

Mary brought with her the unborn Jesus, and the Good News that God had finally sent the Saviour. In a similar way, an evangelist brings with them something very precious: the good news of God’s love, an invitation to come to know Jesus personally, and the testimony of the saving power of Jesus. Just as Elizabeth and John the Baptist were filled with the Spirit and joy in the presence of Jesus, the Good News of Jesus Christ is the source of deep joy when it is received into the heart.

To read the whole article click here.



He has shown the strength of His Arm
April 12, 2012, 4:11 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

Unborn Christ with His arm outstretched

“But what is the meaning of the words (in the Magnificat) “He has shown the strength of His Arm”…Among the works of God, some are attributed to His hands and fingers, like the Heavens, “The Heavens are the works of thy hands” “I will behold the Heavens, the works of thy fingers.” Others are attributed to one of His fingers, “This is the finger of God,” like the wonders that He performed through Moses in Egypt. But the incomparable work of the Incarnation is attributed neither to the hands or fingers of God; it belongs to the arm of His divine might because it incomparably surpasses all the other works of His adorable majesty.”  The Admirable Heart of Mary by  St. John Eudes

So, Mother St. Paul reflects on Isaiah’s words: “A little Child shall lead them” (Isa 11:6), then she prays to the Unborn Lord: “Oh! Come, little Saviour, come and redeem us by Thy outstretched Arm!”

How humanly weak that unborn arm, yet how powerful its redemptive blessings. We too can turn to the Unborn Christ Child and beg Him to outstretch His tiny arm and work pro-life miracles in our own day.

15th Century Visitation sculpture from Passau. As is customary in later representations of the Visitation, Mary and Elizabeth embrace, appearing as mirror images of one another, their unborn children, Christ and John the Baptist, can be seen in the mandoria-shaped hollows of their mother’s wombs. (see detail of Christ in the womb above)



Mary’s 2nd Annunciation: “Woman Behold Your Son”
April 6, 2012, 7:33 am
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, John Paul II, Mary, The Incarnation

Painting of Virgin Mary, Croatia, Dalmatia, Dubrovnik, Rector’s Palace

The angel Gabriel’s words in Nazareth: “Hail, full of grace” (Lk 1,28) also cast light on the scene at Calvary. The Annunciation comes at the beginning, the Cross signals the fulfillment.

At the Annunciation, Mary gives human nature to the Son of God within her womb; at the foot of the Cross, she welcomes the whole of humanity within her heart in the person of John. She was Mother of God from the first moments of the Incarnation, and she became the Mother of humanity during the final moments of the life of her Son Jesus on earth.

She, who was without sin, on Calvary “experienced” within her own being the suffering of sin that her Son had taken upon himself to save humankind. At the foot of the Cross on which was dying the One whom she had conceived at the moment of her “yes” at the Annunciation, Mary received, as it were, a “second annunciation”: “Woman, behold, your son!” (Jn 19,26).

Message of the Holy Father John Paul II for the 18th World Youth Day (April 13, 2003)