Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Culture of LIfe, John Paul II, Quotes from Great Christians, Saints, Unborn Jesus
VIRGIN MARY “OF THE SIGN”, 15TH CENTURY, MEZQUITA CATHEDRAL, ANDALUSIA CORDOBA, SPAIN
In his Apostolic Exhortaion entitled Vita Consecrata (March 25, 1996) John Paul II has a thought provoking quote from St. Augustine:
“Beautiful is God, the Word with God … He is beautiful in heaven, beautiful on earth; beautiful in the womb, beautiful in his parents’ arms, beautiful in his miracles, beautiful in his sufferings; beautiful in inviting to life, beautiful in not worrying about death, beautiful in giving up his life and beautiful in taking it up again; he is beautiful on the Cross, beautiful in the tomb, beautiful in heaven. Listen to the song with understanding, and let not the weakness of the flesh distract your eyes from the splendour of his beauty.” #24
Filed under: Culture of LIfe, John Paul II, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus
Annunciation by Bradi Barth
This year, because March 25th fell in Holy Week, the great feast day of the Annunciation of the Lord to Mary has been moved to Monday April 8, 2013. This feast day also marks the Incarnation of Christ our Lord. Due to this date change, Divine Mercy Sunday (the 7th) and the Annunciation (the 8th) are back-to-back.
This fact draws our attention to the incredible testimony to the Mercy of God contained within the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. At the beginning of his 1980 encyclical letter Dives in Misericordia, On the Mercy of God, John Paul II recounts the understanding of God’s mercy found in the Old Testament, then he comments:
“Christ confers on the whole of the Old Testament tradition about God’s mercy a definitive meaning. Not only does He speak of it and explain it by the use of comparisons and parables, but above all He Himself makes it incarnate and personifies it. He Himself, in a certain sense, is mercy.” (#2)
Later in this same encyclical John Paul II speaks of Christ’s messianic program as a program of mercy, relying upon the prophet Isaiah to help define it as “the revelation of merciful love for the poor, the suffering and prisoners, for the blind, the oppressed and sinners”. (#8)
Mercy is etched upon the life of Christ from Incarnation to Ascension. We are all daily beneficiaries of His program of Mercy. But John Paul II goes a step further: “Christ’s messianic program, the program of mercy, becomes the program of His people, the program of the Church.” (#8)
The worldwide Pro-Life community has always identified itself with the Mercy and forgiveness of God and must continue to emphasize this Program of Mercy. In the unborn and newborn Christ Child we see that God’s mercy is humble, vulnerable and therefore open to misinterpretation as mere weakness. But the Christ child’s humility and vulnerability, like Mercy and forgiveness are expressions of the redemptive power of God. The Pro – Life movement must continue to reflect mercy and forgiveness, in order to reach out to those most invested in so-called “abortion rights” and the destruction of humble, vulnerable human life.
Annunciation – as the Hunt of the Unicorn by Erfurt St. Severi (1470-80)
“The time for the fulfilment of this promise for mankind and for all creation arrived when Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit, became the Mother of the Son of God.
He is the firstborn of creation (cf. Col 1:15).
Everything created was eternally in him.
In coming to the world, he comes into what is his, as Saint John says (cf. Jn 1:11).
He comes in order to embrace creation anew, to begin the work of the world’s redemption, to restore to creation its original holiness and dignity.
He comes to make us see, by his very coming, the particular dignity which belongs to created nature.”
Detail of Unborn Christ Child – Annunciation – as the Hunt of the Unicorn by Erfurt St. Severi (1470-80)
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).
Umbert the Unborn – The Greatest Moment in Unborn History (Click on Picture to see full view)
“Creation is thus completed by the Incarnation and since that moment is permeated by the powers of the Redemption, powers which fill humanity and all creation.” (John Paul II # 52 The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World)
A MORNING OFFERING
O Lord, This new day of Advent I offer you my day. Renew my hope in your power to change the world. Help me to look for moments of grace throughout the day. The grace of your Incarnation that permeates Creation with the power to transform the world.
In the Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae), John Paul II presents a powerful and prophetic teaching in defense of human life. Nowhere is this more evident than in Section 57 of the encyclical. Could the following be anything but an infallible and definitive teaching?
“Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. ” (Footnote 51: LG 25) Evangelium Vitae, 57
The footnote references the Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium, point 25. Point 25 talks about Papal Infallibility.
See also Section 58 of The Gospel of Life below which elaborates on this strong teaching in Section 57.
“The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. “Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action“. Evangelium Vitae, 58
Matthias Grunewald, Annunciation and Resurrection
“Christ is the Lord of time; he is its beginning and end; every year, every day, every moment are embraced by his Incarnation and Resurrection, and thus become part of “the fullness of time’ ”
. “For me it is the virgin birth, the Incarnation, the resurrection which are the true laws of the flesh and the physical. Death, decay, destruction are the suspension of these laws. I am always astonished at the emphasis the Church puts on the body. It is not the soul she says will rise but the body, glorified…”