UNBORN WORD of the day


The servant in the womb
August 27, 2007, 11:47 pm
Filed under: Fathers of the Church, Incarnation

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Today is the Feast day of St. Augustine (354 – 430 A.D.), one of the greatest Fathers of the Church. In the following brief quote Augustine reflects on Christ “as servant” within the womb of His mother and at His birth as well.

We have then proved that the birth of the Son was the work of the Father; now let us prove that it was the work of the Son also. Now what is the birth of the Son of the Virgin Mary? Surely it is His assumption of the form of a servant in the Virgin’s womb. Is the birth of the Son ought else, but the taking of the form of a servant in the womb of the Virgin? Now hear how that this was the work of the Son also. “Who when He was in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking upon Him the form of a servant.” (Phil 2:6-7) “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman,” (Gal 4:4) who was “made His Son of the seed of David according to the flesh.” (Rom 1:3) In this then we see that the birth of the Son was the work of the Father; but in that the Son Himself “emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant,” we see that the birth of the Son was the work also of the Son Himself.
St. Augustine Sermons (51-60) On Selected Lessons of the New Testament/Sermon 2, point 11



“To-day the living ladder, through whom the Most High descended…was assumed into heaven”
August 14, 2007, 10:08 pm
Filed under: Fathers of the Church, Quotes from Great Christians

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Today is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, John of Damascus talks about the greatness of the Incarnation in the first quote and links it to the Assumption in the second quote:

“The Father predestined her, the prophets foretold her through the Holy Ghost. His sanctifying power overshadowed her, cleansed and made her holy, and, as it were, predestined her. Then Thou, Word of the Father, not dwelling in place, didst invite the lowliness of our nature to be united to the immeasurable greatness of Thy inscrutable Godhead. Thou, who didst take flesh of the Blessed Virgin, vivified by a reasoning soul, having first abided in her undefiled and immaculate womb, creating Thyself, and causing her to exist in Thee, didst become perfect man, not ceasing to be perfect God, equal to Thy Father, but taking upon Thyself our weakness through ineffable goodness. Through it Thou art one Christ, one Lord, one Son of God, and man at the same time, perfect God and perfect man, wholly God and wholly man, one Substance from two perfect natures, the Godhead and the manhood.” John of Damascus , Sermon I On The Assumption

“To-day the living ladder, through whom the Most High descended and was seen on earth, and conversed with men, was assumed into heaven… To-day the heavenly table, she, who contained the bread of life, the fire of the Godhead, without knowing man, was assumed from earth to heaven, and the gates of heaven opened wide to receive the gate of God from the East. To-day the living city of God is transferred from the earthly to the heavenly Jerusalem, and she, who, conceived her first-born and only Son, the first-born of all creation, the only begotten of the Father, rests in the Church of the first-born: the true and living Ark of the Lord is taken to the peace of her Son. The gates of heaven are opened to receive the receptacle of God, who, bringing forth the tree of life, destroyed Eve’s disobedience and Adam’s penalty of death.”
John of Damascus, Sermon III On the Assumption



She taught two fathers of the church – her two younger brothers!
July 18, 2007, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Fathers of the Church

For a brief pro-life reflection on today’s Gospel reading:Mathew 11: 28-30

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Today, July 19 is the feast day of St. Macrina the Younger
Born about 330; died 379. She was the eldest child of Basil and Elder Emmelia, and the sister of the two Fathers of the Church, St. Basil and St. Gregory of Nyssa.

“Her parents are also recognized as saints. They saw to it that she was very well educated. Macrina in turn became the teacher of her younger brothers Basil, later bishop of Caesarea, and Gregory, later bishop of Nyssa. These brothers themselves became two of the greatest teachers in the Universal Church. There is every reason to believe—based on their own testimony—that if Macrina had not attended to their education, and later, their spiritual growth, we would not know them today.”

St. Gregory of Nyssa (c.335-394), saw the fetus as a complete human being from the time of conception, and specifically rejected theories based upon formation or quickening: “There is no question about that which is bred in the uterus, both growing, and moving from place to place. It remains, therefore, that we must think that the point of commencement of existence is one and the same for body and soul.”
St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection.

St. Basil the Great (c.330-379) was unequivocal: “A woman who deliberately destroys a fetus is answerable for murder.”
St. Basil the Great, supra note, 10



“God imbued with our likeness”* St. Cyril of Alexandria
June 26, 2007, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Fathers of the Church

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Today June 27 is the Feast day of St. Cyril of Alexandria

St. Cyril of Alexandria was an eloquent and outspoken defender of Mary as the Mother of God at the Council of Ephesus in 431. At one time He wrote “That anyone could doubt the right of the Holy Virgin to be called Mother of God fills me with astonishment. Surely she must be the Mother of God if our Lord Jesus Christ is God and she gave birth to him.”

Below are some excerpts from a famous homily (Homily 4) delivered by St. Cyril when he was presiding over the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D.:

“Hail Mary, seat of Him who in no place can be contained. In your womb you contained the Only Begotten Word of God…”

“Hail Mary, Mother of God, for whom John, yet still in his natural womb, jumped for joy and adored the luminary of eternal light.”

“Hail to You, who in your holy and virginal womb have enclosed the Immense and the Incomprehensible.”

*We took our heading for today’s post from the following quote from Cyril:

“Christ, as I have said, was also God in his humanity, permitting human nature to use its laws while nonetheless conserving also the purity of divinity. For in this way and in no other is God to be understood both what was born by nature, and those things which the virgin mother produced not only of flesh and blood in the same way that other mothers do, but (the flesh and blood) of the Lord and of God imbued with our likeness.” Paschal Homilies, No. 17:2 MG 77, 776



The Burning Bush
May 31, 2007, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Fathers of the Church

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FEAST DAY Of ST. JUSTIN MARTYR, June 1

St. Justin Martyr (Died c. 155 A.D.) taught that it was Jesus who appeared to Moses in the burning bush.

“These words (of the Prophets), then, have become the proof that Jesus Christ is the Son and Apostle of God, being of old the Word, appearing at one time in the guise of fire, and at another time as an incorporeal image…formerly He appeared to Moses and to the other prophets in the form of fire and as an incorporeal image…” First Apology, 127

St. Fulgence of Ruspe (467-527 A.D.) seems to see the burning bush as prefiguring the Incarnation when he observes:

“From the very beginning of the virginal conception a unity of Person so remained in Christ, and the unconfused reality of both natures so perdured, that neither could the Man be torn asunder from God, nor could God be separated from the Man assumed. Nevertheless, the divinity did not consume the humanity, nor did the humanity change the divinity into something else…” The Trinity, 2248

Fr. Richard F. Clark, S. J. in a pamphlet published by the Catholic Truth Society in 1964 sees the expectant Madonna (see above statue) in terms of the burning bush.

“The flame of fire in the burning bush was a figure of Jesus in Mary’s sacred womb…. So He still speaks as if concealed in Mary’s womb…”. The Coming of Christ, p. 38

“Perhaps the difference between the bush ablaze and the mother expectant is that the former is a spectacular miracle, whereas the latter is mystifyingly tender and meek. Moses was frightened by the spectacle (Ex 3:6), but who could be frightened of this young and thoughtful handmaid, Mary? She did not obscure the presence of the Son of God within her by arrogance, vanity, or any peculiar personal characteristics. Her naturally simple human ways were ideally matched with these supernatural divine ways of God’s providence. ” Unborn Jesus Our Hope