UNBORN WORD of the day


MARY & 2 CONTEMPORARY EVANGELICAL QUESTIONS
May 29, 2014, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Incarnation, Mary

VERKÜNDIGUNG UND HEIMSUCHUNG MARIENS Ludwigshafen

The Annunciation and Visitation of Mary

Altarflügel mit der Verkündigung und der Heimsuchung

 

  1. HAVE YOU GIVEN YOUR HEART TO JESUS?
  2. HAVE YOU ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR?

Many Christians consider these to be important questions concerning one’s relationship withGod. Baptism – according to the instruction of Jesus and the practice of both the early and contemporary Church –establishes a solid relationship with God. But when Mary first encountered Jesus Christ, there was no Christian baptism. Also, the Church’s teaching about Mary’s Immaculate Conception, while perhaps implied in the Gospel is not explicitly demonstrated there. So let’s look simply at the Gospel and what it tells us about Mary and these 2 questions.

  1.  Have you given your heart to Jesus?

According to the Gospel of Luke, Mary had a wonderful deep relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary he stated that she was “full of grace”, that “the Lord is with you” and that she had “found favor with God” (Lk 1:28,30). A threefold acknowledgement of Mary’s profound and faithful relationship to God. Gabriel then outlines for her the role Almighty God wants her to accept in the great Incarnation Mission of His Son. Her fiat“Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38) – invites God into human history; immediately thereafter Christ is conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. The early Church Fathers were so impressed by this definitive openness of Mary to the will of God that they would say that Mary conceived Christ in her mind and heart before she conceived Him in her womb. Hence, going back to the above question – Mary was the First person to give her heart to Jesus

2.   Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

Mary answers this question at the event we call The Visitation (celebrated on May 31st), where she visits her cousin Elizabeth (and unborn John the Baptist….and Elizabeth’s husband Zechariah). First, we see that Elizabeth is “filled with the Holy Spirit” and blesses Mary for her great faith. Then Mary responds with her famous Magnificat, which begins with the words:

 “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” (KJV translation)

 Note the two words; Lord & Savior! Mary had already accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior – according to Scripture – about a week after Unborn Jesus had been conceived in her womb (if not earlier)! Again, Mary is the First person to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior!

Of course this wondrous relationship between Mary and her Son would continue to unfold and strengthen. She gave birth to Him (Lk 2:1-20), she flees to Egypt to protect Him from persecution (Mt 2:13-15), she raises Him with tender love, she encourages Him to perform His first miracle sign (Jn 2:1-12), she even stands at the foot of the cross as our Lord and Savior dies for us (Jn 19:25), Her Son entrusts His disciples to her maternal care from the Cross Jn 19:26-27), and she is with the early Church – praying – on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:12-15).

No wonder then, that Mary is recognized not only as the First Believer to believe in Jesus, but also as the First Christian to love Jesus.



Visitation and St. John the Baptist 15th and 17th Centuries, The Christian Museum, Esztergom, Hungary
December 17, 2012, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

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

muzeum_berenyi christian Museum Estergom

The Christian Museum

Maria Heimsuchung

Visitation 15th Century

197_1 St. John the Baptis

St. John the Baptist (parts of a Deesis) 17th Century

This panel showing the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth was once in the village of Csegöld in Szatmár County in East Hungary. It was probably painted in the last years of the 15th century, tempera and gold on wood, and its style is close to the works created in Upper Hungary. In the company of a servant, the expectant Virgin visits her relative, Elizabeth, who is also with child. This is a frequently represented scene of the Virgin’s life, following the Annunciation. It is unusual, however, that the unborn babies are painted on the exterior of their mothers’ wombs. The Christ child turns with a blessing gesture towards the little Saint John the Baptist who is kneeling in adoration.

St. John the Baptist (parts of a Deesis) Moscow, late 17th c. tempera and silver on wood . The above painting is an example of one tradition of St. John the Baptist icons. In these icons the adult John the Baptist is  portrayed pointing to Christ Unborn. In his left hand he holds a chalice or charger and a scroll that reads, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world”.  With his right hand he points to the Christ Child (unborn).

“St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. “Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 3, 523.

“…when at her greeting, John (in the womb of Elizabeth and not yet born) was stirred with prophetic exaltation-as if even in his mother’s womb he were already crying out, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, behold the one who takes away the sins of the world’.” St. Leo the Great (A.D. 400?-461) Sermon 35



Visitation panel St. James Altarpiece 1430 National Gallery of Prague (Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia) Prague Czech Republic
December 15, 2012, 10:03 am
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

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

37-3-Prague

National Gallery of Prague  (Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia)

james02
james04james06james08james10james12

St. James Altarpiece ( a few panels)

St. James Altarpiece Scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary and St. James the Great

james04

Visitation panel St. James Altarpiece

An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two, three, and multiple panels respectively.

“We can feel the rush of warmth and kindness, the sudden urgency of love that sent that girl hurrying over the hills. ‘Those days’ in which she rose on that impulse were the days in which Christ was being formed in her, the impulse was His impulse.” Caryll Houselander  The Reed of God



Visitation on Cloth (Detail of Altar cloth) 1410, Museum of Applied Arts, Frankfort, Germany
December 12, 2012, 7:23 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

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

musee francfort Applied Art Frankfor

Museum of Applied Arts-Frankfort, Germany

1280px-Antependium_Straßburg_c1410_makffm_6810_image01

Antependium, or altar cloth hanging of tapestry woven in colored wools (Full Tapestry)

705px-Antependium_Straßburg_c1410_makffm_6810_image02

Visitation – Detail from Frontal – German – wool, linen and silk

An antependium (Latin: “to hang before”), more commonly known as a hanging cloth, or, when speaking specifically of the hanging for the altar, an altar frontal (Latin: pallium altaris), is a decorative piece of material that can adorn a Christian altar, lectern, pulpit, or table. Specifically, an antependium hangs down in front of whatever it covers, and is to be distinguished from the altar linens which are used in the service of the Eucharist, and an altar cloth which covers the top of the altar.

“One of the most beautiful moments in history was that when pregnancy met pregnancy when child bearers became the first heralds of the King of Kings.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen, The World’s First Love.

“Now Elizabeth didn’t recognize what was in Mary’s womb as a “fetus.” No One less than God the Holy Spirit gave Elizabeth the gift to recognize that what was alive in her cousin’s womb, was already a person. And that person was her Lord (God).”  Charles Hoffman, The Holy Rosary Rich in Jewish Tradition



Annunciation by Lorezo Venzian 1371,Gallerie dell’Accademia Venice, Italy
December 9, 2012, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

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

gallerie_facc

Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

Lorenzo_veneziano,_annunciazione_e_santi

Annunciation with Saints by Lorezo Venzian

annuncia

Annunciation by Lorezo Venzian (detail)

The Accademia fine Art Gallery of Venice, is one of the most important Italian museums. This painting, signed and dated in 1371, is the central panel of a polyptych. Here we can see clearly how Lorenzo Veneziano, in his mature work moved increasingly towards the musical expressiveness of colour shot through with Gothic accents.

The figure of the Virgin is sitting with her hands crossed prayerfully listening to the message of the angel. The angel is kneeling before her, his right hand raised and his wings pointing toward the sky where the Eternal Father appears, as a crowning figure releasing the dove with the unborn Christ Child.

But the knowledge and love of our Divine Redeemer, of which we were the object from the first moment of His Incarnation, exceed all that the human intellect can hope to grasp. For hardly was He conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the Beatific Vision, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present to Him, and He embraced them with His redeeming love.    Pope Pius XII,  Mystici Corporis (On the Mystical Body of Christ) #75.



Unborn John the Baptist Bows Before Unborn Jesus, 14th Century, Timios Stavros Church, Pelendri Cyprus
December 7, 2012, 7:59 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus | Tags: , ,

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

0.2DA2

Timios Stavros Church

0.81FA

Timios Stavros Church Wall Painting (Full)

Wall Mural

Unborn John the Baptist Bows Before Unborn Jesus   Church Wall Painting (detail)

In the central part of Cyprus, in the mountains of the Troodos range, some of the most important monuments of the history of Byzantine painting have survived. These are painted churches which have preserved to this day brilliant examples of various trends of Byzantine and post-Byzantine monumental art, from the 11th to the 19th century. The church of Timios Stavros is situated in a central area of the Troodos mountain range, at the south end of the village of Pelendri.

The original church was destroyed under unknown circumstances. Only the apse survived, which was incorporated in a new church of the same type, built at the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century. The main part of the church of Timios Stavros was decorated during the second half of the 14th century. At least two artists belonging to the same workshop were involved, together with their students. Many donors contributed towards this decoration complex. From these wall-paintings we can distinguish a group which follows the Palaiologan style developed in Constantinople during the 14th century.

“God has become a child, and so he wants first to be known and adored by a child…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.” Cardinal Bérulle (1575 -1629)

“I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.” Lk.10.21



Annunciation by Lorezo Venzian 1371,Gallerie dell’Accademia Venice, Italy
December 5, 2012, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

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

gallerie_facc

Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

Lorenzo_veneziano,_annunciazione_e_santi

Annunciation with Saints by Lorezo Venzian

annuncia

Annunciation by Lorezo Venzian (detail)

The Accademia fine Art Gallery of Venice, is one of the most important Italian museums. This painting, signed and dated in 1371, is the central panel of a polyptych. Here we can see clearly how Lorenzo Veneziano, in his mature work moved increasingly towards the musical expressiveness of colour shot through with Gothic accents.

The figure of the Virgin is sitting with her hands crossed prayerfully listening to the message of the angel. The angel is kneeling before her, his right hand raised and his wings pointing toward the sky where the Eternal Father appears, as a crowning figure releasing the dove with the unborn Christ Child.

 But the knowledge and love of our Divine Redeemer, of which we were the object from the first moment of His Incarnation, exceed all that the human intellect can hope to grasp. For hardly was He conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the Beatific Vision, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present to Him, and He embraced them with His redeeming love.    Pope Pius XII,  Mystici Corporis (On the Mystical Body of Christ) #75.



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

The-Tretyakov-Gallery

The Tretyakov Gallery

th_annunciation-ustyug

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

enfermera0314

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.

enfermera035

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.

DSC01641

Triduo11 Divina Enfermera 06

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.

enfermera0310

Iglesia de San Martín de Tours de Sevilla

373px-Sevilla_San_Martín3



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.



St. Theresa of the Child Jesus – Feast Day Oct. 1
September 22, 2012, 11:34 pm
Filed under: Incarnation, Saints, Unborn Jesus

 “I put myself on the side of childhood….I am, above all, on the side of the Infant God….”

Francois Mauriac
The Son of Man

 “…. I wondered what name I would be given in Carmel.
I knew there was a Sister Therese of Jesus; however, my
beautiful name of Therese could not be taken away from
me. All of a sudden, I thought of Little Jesus whom I
loved so much, and I said: ‘Oh! how happy I would be if
they called me Therese of the Child Jesus!’”

St. Therese of Lisieux,
Doctor of the Church
Story of a Soul   

On several occasions Christ counseled us to have a childlike faith, even going so far as to placing a child in front of His disciples, so that His teaching would have the sacred and personal imprint of a living child.

As it turned out, it was but a small ‘baby step’ for many saints, to move from childlike faith to devotion to the Christ Child. Examples abound, but for the sake of brevity, let’s mention three saints: Francis of Assisi (so drawn to the newborn baby Jesus, that he created a living nativity scene to supplement his personal devotion), Anthony of Padua (who held the Child Jesus in his arms) and Therese of the Child Jesus (“I cannot fear a God who made himself so small for me!”[LT 266])

The personal devotions of holy Christians to the Christ Child have multiplied a hundredfold to engulf Catholic communities and cultures throughout the world. For the purposes of this discussion, we take it as a given fact that devotion to the Christ Child is tenderly woven into the devotional fabric of the Church, that it is to be encouraged (while being in conformity “to the doctrine, legal discipline and norms of the Church”) and that each individual Christian can enter into it with confidence.

Which leads us to the Unborn Christ Child. The devotional step from adoring Christ lying in a manger, to contemplating Him lying in His mother’s womb is intellectually tiny, even though it may challenge the imagination slightly…

But why bother ourselves with a study of the Unborn Christ Child? John Paul II explains: “The conception and birth of Jesus Christ are in fact the greatest work accomplished by the Holy Spirit in the history of creation and salvation: the supreme grace – ‘the grace of union,’ source of every other grace, as St. Thomas explains.”  The nine month continuum, from Christ’s conception to His birth, is an exceptional time of grace for the world and humanity – of utmost significance to the Church generally, and to expecting mothers and unborn babies particularly.

Maria gravida – Institute of St. Philip Neri in Berlin



HOW ARE WE TO HONOR UNBORN JESUS (AND ALL UNBORN BABIES MADE IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS)? – CONSIDER ST. JOSEPH
July 10, 2012, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Adoption, How are we to honor Unborn Jesus, Incarnation, Papal Quotes

The Dream of St. Joseph by Francisco Rizi  Indianapolis Museum of Art

After the dream (Mt. 1:20-24) Joseph honored Unborn Jesus by welcoming Him and His mother into his home, by his obedience to the angel of the Lord, his doing God’s will, and especially by loving Unborn Jesus as his own Son (Mt 1:.24).

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

Today, I want to direct our gaze toward the figure of St. Joseph… The one who gives the most importance to the putative 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

“Joseph’s adoption of Jesus is effected in the two acts with which the account (Mt 1:24 25) closes, and which are in fact its most essential elements. ‘He took his wife…. And he called his name Jesus.”  Cardinal Danielou, The Infancy Narratives

During the nine months the accumulation of grace upon him must have been beyond our powers of calculation. The company of Mary, the atmosphere of Jesus, the continual presence of the Incarnate God, and the fact of his own life being nothing but a series of ministries to the unborn Word, must have lifted him far above all other saints, and perchance all angels too….Our Lord’s Birth, and the sight of His Face, must have been to him like another sanctification.” From Bethlehem by Father Faber

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.

It pleased God to bring the beauty of human adoption into the heart of the Incarnation mystery. St. Joseph is a model for all those in the pro-life movement. He took unborn Jesus and Mary into his heart and life. He took care of them, saved them from disgrace and even death, supported them and helped them find shelter. Father Faber talks about the grace Joseph received in this ministry – think of all of the graces you receive in your ministry to the unborn and their mothers.




HOW ARE WE TO HONOR UNBORN JESUS (AND ALL UNBORN BABIES MADE IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS)? – CONSIDER JOHN THE BAPTIST

From Salzburg Cathedral exhibit Mary Expectant with Child November 25, 2006 – January 7, 2007

Unborn John honored Unborn Jesus by expressing joy at His Presence (Lk 1:44).

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.’ ” Luke 1: 41-44.

“John was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb’ by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 8, 717.

“… He (John) inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 3, 523.

We can honor Unborn Jesus by our recognition of Christ’s love for the unborn and our joy in His incarnation as an unborn baby. We can also honor Unborn Jesus when we share the pro-life message joyfully and give witness to the sanctity of each unborn child made in the image and likeness of our Unborn Lord.

St. John the Baptist (pointing to Unborn Jesus)



HOW ARE WE TO HONOR UNBORN JESUS (AND ALL UNBORN BABIES MADE IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS)? – CONSIDER MARY
July 3, 2012, 10:49 pm
Filed under: How are we to honor Unborn Jesus, Incarnation, Mary, Pro-life

 

Annunciation Mosaic from Redemptoris Mater Chapel (Vatican)

Mary honored Unborn Jesus by accepting wholeheartedly the Plan and invitation of God to be mother to the Messiah/Savior and by then loving Him (Lk 1:38).

“In all these days, my gaze has necessarily focused on this depiction of the Annunciation of Mary (see above). What fascinated me is this: the Archangel Gabriel holds a scroll in his hand, which I believe is the symbol of Scripture, of the Word of God. And Mary is kneeling within the scroll; that is, she lives her whole life in the Word of God. It is as though she were steeped in the Word. Thus, all her thoughts, her will and her actions are imbued with and formed by the Word.

Since she herself dwells in the Word, she can also become the new “Dwelling Place” of the Word in the world.”

Pope Benedict XVI Redemptoris Mater Chapel Saturday, 11 March 2006

“The Virgin is involved with Jesus and she is the only one in the whole world involved with Jesus. Thus she is the only one in the whole world adoring the mystery of the Incarnation, which was brought about on earth for the earth but unknown to the earth. She is the only one adoring Jesus. The more that she is the only one captivated by such a great subject, the greater is her involvement. She is devoted to it with all her faculties. All her senses are brought to bear on it, for it is a tangible mystery and tangible within her. All her senses should pay homage to her God made tangible for human nature. Her whole mind is concentrated on it. And the Spirit of Jesus, which enlivens this little divinized body, enlivens the spirit and body of the Virgin as well, through grace, love and a holy, gentle influence.”

Cardinal Berulle (1575-1629) – writing about Mary’s attitude in the hours and days after the Annunciation.

We can imitate Mary in honoring Unborn Jesus by living his word and welcoming Him into our lives and by loving Him with our whole heart, mind and will. We also honor Unborn Jesus when we welcome unborn children into our world by our witness to their sacredness and by giving loving help to their mothers.



UNBORN CHRIST AND CORPUS CHRISTI: THREE PARALLELS
June 10, 2012, 4:59 pm
Filed under: Incarnation, Mary, The Eucharist, The Incarnation

Annunciation Benedictine, Art Collections St. Lambrecht, Germany 18th Century, unknown artist from Styria

There are many parallels between Christ Unborn and Christ Eucharistic. Here we present just three biblically focused parallels in honor of Corpus Christi Sunday (Corpus Christi means ‘Body of Christ’).

1. The first parallel is between the words the Incarnate Christ spoke to His Father immediately upon entering the world (see Heb. 10.5-10), particularly: “Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me…Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God…’” Compare this to the “words of consecration” spoken by our Lord at the passover Last Supper; “This is my body which is given for you…”, followed by the words of offering He spoke in the Garden of Gethsemane; “Father….not my will, but thine, be done.” The same human body prepared for Christ, would be offered up by Him on the cross after being truly and sacramentally presented during the Passover by Christ Himself.

2. Understanding that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, unfolds the second parallel for us; see Rev 11.19 -12.2. Also, recall that both the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant and Mary had both been ‘overshadowed’ by the Holy Spirit. The 3 month visit of (pregnant) Mary to the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah a few miles west of Jerusalem, is actually prefigured in the Old Testament when the original Ark of the Old Covenant (containing Manna from Heaven) is brought by King David to the home of Obededom, located a few miles west of Jerusalem for 3 months (Sam 6.1-13). David dances for joy before the Ark, unborn John the Baptist leaps for joy before pregnant Mary. David says, “How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?” Elizabeth says, “…why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Note: The Manna was the bread which came down from heaven, and Jesus referred to that Manna years later when He proclaimed Himself to be the Bread of Life (Jn 6.31-35).

3. The third parallel occurs in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph enter Bethlehem with the Unborn Christ Child, to fulfill prophecies concerning the birth of the Messiah. The name “Bethlehem” means “house of bread”. Mary carries within her “the bread of life” – and this Unborn Jesus who is “the Bread of Life”, will be born here for us. He is the “the true bread from heaven” (Jn 6.32) sent into the world for our nourishment and Salvation!



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)



“A Mystery similar to the one wrought in Mary’s womb”

Die Quinauer Madonna mit dem hl. Dorn von Eisenberg

“Now Jesus Christ, God and Man, enters into us and enacts a mystery similar to the one wrought in Mary’s womb….the Eucharist passes into our bodies and, uniting with us, prolongs, extends the Incarnation to each of us separately.

In becoming incarnate in the Virgin Mary, the Word had in view this incarnation in each one of us, this Communion with the individual soul; it was one of the ends for which He came into the world.

Communion is the perfect development, the full unfoldment of the Incarnation, as it is likewise the completion of the sublime sacrifice of Calvary, renewed each morning in the Mass….without Communion the Sacrifice would be incomplete. Thus the Body of Jesus Christ is united with our body, His Soul with our soul, and His Divinity hovers over both.”

St. Peter Julian Eymard Holy Communion