UNBORN WORD of the day

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



Chapel of St. Leonard Nauders Austria


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



The Tretyakov Gallery


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.

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.

March 25, 2012, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Incarnation, Mary, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

The Annunciation Budapest Master (Spanish, Castilian, ca. 1500) New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

We read about the Annunciation of the Lord to Mary in Lk 1:26-38. This event, mystically linked with Mary’s conception of Jesus Christ immediately afterward, is the ultimate intervention of God in the life of an individual. With the Incarnation of God, the world and humanity were instantaneously and radically changed forever. Let us consider for a moment how Mary was directly impacted by this singular event. Following are ten blessings Mary received during this event:

Blessing of Angelic Visitation (Lk 1:26-27): The angel Gabriel “was sent from God” and appeared to Mary. Gabriel is a unique angel, an Archangel “who stand in the presence of God” (Lk 1:19). His appearance to a human being was, in and of itself, a profound and deep act of Divine blessing.

Blessing of Divine Election (Lk 1:26-28, 30): Mary had been chosen by God for an unprecedented role, or office, in Salvation History; Mother of the Son of God, Mother of the Savior of the World, the First Christian.

Blessing of Announcement (Lk 1:30-33): The Incarnation Mystery is announced first to Mary. She represents humankind and is entrusted with this Divine Message for safekeeping. But more, what is announced almost simultaneously occurs through a Divine act within her physical body. The Announcement “takes flesh” within her.

Blessing of Illumination (Lk 1:31-33, 35): Gabriel explains the meaning of the message, the truth of the Incarnation. “…his name Jesus…the Son of the Most High…the throne of his father David…reign over the house of Jacob…his kingdom…the Son of God” and conceived by “the Holy Spirit”. These are theological concepts of uncharted prophetic and intellectual import; like Divine sunbeams penetrating her heart and intellect.

Blessing of Conception (Lk 1:31, 35): We might almost say that there are two consecutive “annunciations” to Mary; 1. Gabriel appears to her, 2. The Holy Spirit overshadows her. In the first she conceives the Word in her heart, in the second she conceives the Word in her womb (as the Fathers of the Church observed). She is transformed for eternity, from “handmaid of the Lord” to “Mother of God”, by one sublime act of Divine Intervention.

Blessing of the Divine Presence (Lk 1:31, 35): At the moment of the Incarnation, God is present with Mary with an intensity and reality beyond human comprehension or explanation. As Mother, she enjoys the real physical Presence of God, as First Christian, this Presence imbues and directs her daily life.

Blessing of Prophetic Fulfillment (Mt 1:20-22): A lengthy list of Messianic prophecies, beginning with Gen 3:15 and running down through the centuries, were fulfilled within the womb and being of Mary in that very moment of “the fullness of time” (Eph 1:9-10), on that very first day of the “new creation” (II Cor 5:17). When Gabriel announced the redemptive name of “Jesus” to Mary, our Redemption was already upon us.

Blessing of Encouragement (Lk 1:30, 37): Gabriel gave Mary two personal messages of encouragement and strengthening; 1. “Do not be afraid…you have found favor with God.” and 2. “For with God nothing will be impossible.” This was an immediate blessing to Mary, but also a touchstone message for the rest of her life, especially during those times of trial that would come upon her.

Blessing of Divine Guidance (Lk 1:36): Gabriel reveals to Mary the prophetic pregnancy of her kinswoman Elizabeth, which serves as a spiritual signpost for her new journey with God. Also, this news of God’s Divine intervention and activity in the world around her are a promise of a continuing guidance throughout her life.

Blessing of Remembrance (Lk 1:26-38): This foundational event, the Incarnation of Christ by the Virgin Mary, which defines Christianity, and the accompanying teaching message from Gabriel, which informs Christianity, were to be shared by Mary with the early Apostolic Church at the appropriate time. This was a sacred remembrance given only to Mary for the holy edification of the Christian Church for all time. This blessing was understood by Mary; “…henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1:48).

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


“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


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.

PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Returning to Nazareth – Day 14
December 10, 2011, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

Madonna del Parto,  Antonio Veneziano


Mary’s Credo

As Mary travels back to Nazareth she carries not only Christ within her, but also the original kernel of Christian doctrine and spirituality. She holds fast already to a Creed of Christian belief in the formative stages even as her Child is in His formative stages. Her sources of this doctrine thus far supplementing of course, her profound vision and grasp of her own Hebrew faith are the angel Gabriel (sent by God), Elizabeth and the unborn John (inspired by the Holy Spirit), the Levite priest Zechariah (chosen by God, instructed by the angel Gabriel, steeped in His knowledge of the scriptures and with the gift of speech restored inspired by the Holy Spirit) and, most directly, the Incarnate Word of God speaking within her.

As John Paul II said in his Angelus Message on December 8, 1992.

You, O Virgin, found yourself placed at the very heart of these mighty works of God….

You are the living memory of them. You are the Church’s memory….

Mother of the Incarnate Word! You are the human heart’s immaculate sensitivity to all that is of God….


O My Jesus,  help me to be sensitive to all that you are calling me to this day. May I too hold fast to the Christian message that has been given to me. And like Mary may I ponder the message of Your Incarnation during this Advent.

PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Returning to Nazareth – Day 13
December 9, 2011, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Prayer, Unborn Jesus


Mary was living her life according to God’s Divine Timetable. It was soon time for her to return to Nazareth and begin a new chapter in her life as God’s “handmaid”. She travels the road alone, but with God. God has a Plan, Mary has a purpose. God leads and she follows.


Lord I have proven so many times that my sense of timing and my plans are inept and shallow. I prefer Your Plan for my day God. Help me to travel the road, the hallway, each twist and turn with You unseen at my side Lord. For without You I can do nothing, but with You all things are possible.

PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Visitation: A Three Month Retreat – Day 11
December 7, 2011, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Mary and Elisabeth Meet Zachariah
Lorenzo and Jacopo Salimbeni about 1416


How can we fail to see that the hidden protagonist in the meeting between the young Mary and the by-then elderly Elizabeth is Jesus? Mary bears him in her womb as in a sacred tabernacle and offers him as the greatest gift to Zechariah, to Elizabeth, his wife, and also to the infant developing in her womb. BENEDICT XVI
 31 May 2006

Truly the great works of God, the great mysteries of God come to pass in hiddenness, in the house of Zechariah. The whole Church will constantly recall them and will repeat with Elizabeth: “Blessed is she who believed”, and, together with Mary, the Church will sing the Magnificat.  JOHN PAUL II   12 June 1999


O My Jesus, show me how to follow your hidden example in the womb. You brought joy, love, light and reconciliation to Zechariah and Elizabeth’s house in the ordinary and unnoticed event of Mary’s visit. Help me as I go about my day today to find small hidden ways to bring you to others.

The Helper in Childbirth
October 23, 2011, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Mother of the Lord, Pro-life, Unborn Jesus

The Helper in Childbirth

The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate have this beautiful icon at this location

Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel
Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate
199 Colonel Brown Rd
Griswold CT 06351

An explanation of this icon is found on their website.

“This icon of the Mother of God is called “The Helper in Childbirth“. The first prototypes of this icon appeared in Western Russia, in the early 19th century. It was made for a very practical and urgent need – the difficulties in conceiving and giving birth.

A variation of the ancient and famous icon of Our Lady of the Sign, this icon differs by showing the Mother of God folding her hands in prayer over her heart, instead of holding them outstretched to the sides. Under the protective arch of her hands, we can see the newly conceived Christ Child, emanating from inside her womb in an almond shaped-halo of light. To show He is the “Logos“, or Word of God incarnate, He holds a small white scroll. She is filled and radiant with light from inside.”

To read more about this icon and the Franciscan Friars click here

Here are 3 other icons in this tradition. Click on each  icon  – to see full view.

The Queenship of Mary Explained
August 21, 2011, 2:40 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Mother of the Lord, Papal Quotes

Today, August 22 we celebrate the feast day of The Queenship of Mary. This special Liturgical Feast was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on October 11, 1954 through his Encyclical Letter  Ad Caeli Reginam.

The following is a quote from this Encyclical Letter.

“As We have already mentioned, Venerable Brothers, according to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is without doubt her Divine Motherhood.

In Holy Writ, concerning the Son whom Mary will conceive, We read this sentence: “He shall be called the Son of the most High, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end,”[Luke 1:32,33] and in addition Mary is called “Mother of the Lord”;[Luke 1:43] from this it is easily concluded that she is a Queen, since she bore a son who, at the very moment of His conception, because of the hypostatic union of the human nature with the Word, was also as man King and Lord of all things.

So with complete justice St. John Damascene could write: “When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature.” Likewise, it can be said that the heavenly voice of the Archangel Gabriel was the first to proclaim Mary’s royal office.”


The Feast of the Sacred Heart: 20 reasons to turn your heart towards the Infant Christ
June 30, 2011, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Mother of the Lord, Sacred Heart, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

“Virgin’s First Communion” Pianist Jacqueline Chew

Olivier Messiaen (December 10, 1908 – April 27, 1992) was a devout and well-respected French Catholic composer.  Olivier Messiaen wrote  Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus ,  a collection of pieces for solo piano in 1944. The French title translates “Twenty gazes/contemplations on the infant Jesus”. It is considered to be one of the greatest piano works of the twentieth century, and the summit of Messiaen’s keyboard writing. The idea of les regards, the spiritual gazes, came from the devotional book Le Christ dans ses Mystères by the Irish-Belgian Benedictine Abbot Dom Columba Marmion.

The gaze is a profound moment of passionate contemplation, spiritual communication and two-way recognition: an exchange, to use one of Marmion’s favorite words, in which love and knowledge passed in both directions between God and humanity.

Some of Messiaen’s ‘gazes’ on the Infant Jesus include: Gaze of the Father, Gaze of the Star, The Exchange, Gaze of the Son upon the Son, By Him everything was made, The Kiss of the Infant Jesus, Glance of Silence (click here to see all of the pieces)…the piece that touches on our blog’s theme is: ‘Premiere Communion de la Vierge’. (No. 11, “Virgin’s First Communion”) and represents the Virgin on her knees, worshiping the unborn Jesus within her.

Olivier Messiaen wrote notes for each of the glances/regards. Here is what he wrote about the Premiere communion de la Vierge:

“Première communion de la Vierge [First Communion of the Virgin]. A tableau in which the Virgin is shown kneeling, bowed down in the night-a luminous halo around her womb. Eyes closed, she adores the fruit hidden within her. This comes between the Annunciation and the Nativity: it is the first and greatest of all communions. Theme of God, gentle scrolls, in stalactites, in an inner embrace. (Recall of the theme of La Vierge l’Enfant from my Nativity du Seigneur for organ, 1935). Magnificat more enthusiastic. Special chords and durations of two and two in which the weighty pulsations represent the heartbeats of the Infant in the breast of his mother. Disappearance of the Theme of God. After the Annunciation, Mary adores Jesus within her…my God, my son, my Magnificat!-my love without the sound of words.”

Here are two links:

Program Notes for Twenty Glances on the Infant JesusVingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus

The Elusive Allure of  Olivier Messiaen


April 8, 2011, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation

The Annunciation from the High Altar of St. Peter’s in Hamburg, the Grabower Altar, 1383 Master Bertram of Minden

The message of Psalm 85 is Messianic.

“Near indeed is salvation for the loyal…
Love and truth will meet;
justice and peace will kiss.
Truth will spring from the earth;
justice will look down from heaven.”

A note in the New Jerusalem Bible concerning these latter verses of the Psalm explains: ‘Personified attributes of God; these will inaugurate the kingdom of God on earth and in human hearts.’

Indeed, we can contemplate this verse in terms of the glorious Incarnation of Jesus Christ; in which the exquisite nobility of Heaven truly kisses our humble earth.

‘Truth will spring from the earth’, reminds us that Adam was created from the slime of the earth, but now in Mary – his descendant and a mere creature, yet immaculately conceived – ‘truth’ springs to life awaiting the salvation and justice of God. The love of God and the ‘truth’ of His creation (in the person of Mary) “will meet”.* And ‘justice’ will not only ‘look down from heaven’, but will send Gabriel down from heaven….and then the ‘Holy Spirit will come’ down from heaven and overshadow Mary. ‘Justice’, according to the Divine Plan of Salvation will come down from heaven.

In the very conception of Jesus Christ, at the very first cell of His earthly life as a human being, True God and true man; Love and Truth meet, Justice and Peace kiss.

* Yes, Christ is “The way, the truth and the life”. Mary as the ‘truth’ of creation, is but a humble reflection of the glorious Truth that is Jesus Christ, and she embraces His truth within her body (as Mother) and within her heart (as 1st believer), and even testifies to His awesome truth (as 1st disciple); “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” (Lk 1:46-47). Mary as ‘truth’ in creation magnifies the Eternal and glorious Truth of our Creator!

Mary Sewing: From Swaddling Clothes to Seamless Garment
February 2, 2011, 12:37 am
Filed under: Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

“It goes without saying that in the small kingdom that was the home, the wife was queen….Her importance was all the greater since…a great many things that we buy in shops or factories were produced at home. Cloth, for instance, was spun and woven in the house. ”

“To a large extent clothing was home-made, too: the excellent wife of Proverbs :busies herself with wool and thread, holding the distaff and the spindle.”  Daily Life in the Time of Jesus by Henri Daniel-Rops pp. 150-51, 275

A Pictorial  History of Mary Sewing

The Child Mary Learning to Sew

The Young Virgin, ca. 1632–33, Francisco de Zurbarán

According to medieval legend, as a girl the Virgin Mary lived in the Temple in Jerusalem, where she devoted herself to praying and sewing vestments, the subject of Zurbarán’s painting, executed about 1632–33.

The Girlhood of Mary Virgin by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

“I have represented the future Mother of Our Lord as occupied in embroidering a lily,—always under the direction of St. Anne; the flower she is copying being held by two little angels.” Dante Gabriel Rosetti

Saint Anne and the young Virgin sewing, fresco by the Master of the Bambino Vispo, Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce

Mary Preparing for Christ’s Birth

Here are a number of paintings where Mary is sewing while she is expecting the Unborn Christ Child – we can imagine that she was sewing His swaddling and baby clothes

Romanesque Spinning Virgin, Catalan Fresco, Museu d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

The Virgin at the Spinning Wheel (Hungarian, unknown artist)

Mary In the House Of Elizabeth Robert Anning Bell (sewing baby clothes for John the Baptist)


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

Knitting Madonnas

The Virgin is occasionally depicted knitting a garment, thought to represent the seamless garment worn by Christ (John 19:23). This seamless garment that the guards casts lots for beneath the cross was likely given to Jesus as a gift from his mother, since it was customary for Jewish mothers to make such a garment for their sons as a last gift before they entered the world on their own.  Here are 2 representative paintings of this type of Knitting Madonna sewing the seamless garment.

The Holy Family by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, c. 1345

Detail from the right wing of the Buxtehude Altar by Bertram von Minden, 1400-1410


How Ordinary!
October 20, 2010, 5:38 pm
Filed under: Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

Johann Michael Rottmayr, Virgin Sewing, 1712, Mattsee, Stiftsmuseum – From the Mary Expectant with Child Exhibit, Dommuseum Zu Salzburg

“Yes, it certainly seemed that God wanted to give the world the impression that it is ordinary for Him to be born of a human creature. Well, that is a fact. God did mean it to be the ordinary thing, for it is His will that Christ shall be born in every human being’s life and not, as a rule, through extraordinary things, but through the ordinary daily life and the human love that people give to one another.”

The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander

Respect Life Sunday and Our Lady of Guadalupe
September 22, 2010, 1:38 am
Filed under: Mother of the Lord, Pro-life

Respect Life Sunday – October 3, 2010

Topics addressed in this year’s Respect Life Program reflect a diversity of pro-life concerns (we have added  links to some excellent pamphlets/bulletin inserts from the Respect Life Program):

Here are two links to the USCCB website that give complete details on the Respect Life Program.

Click here for an overview of the program and here for materials that can be downloaded.

What I find especially interesting about this year’s program is the emphasis on Our Lady of Guadalupe in the 2010 – 2011 Respect Life Program Liturgy Guide.

Page 10 of the Liturgy Guide is about the Miraculous Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The following is a quote from this article:

“Our Lady of Guadalupe has been honored by twenty-five popes. She has been formally declared Patroness and Mother of the Americas. Informally, she is honored as Patroness of Unborn Children because she appeared to Juan Diego as a pregnant woman and, in the seven years after the apparitions, approximately eight million Aztec people converted to Catholicism, and abandoned a culture of death that had practiced human sacrifice, including infant sacrifice.”

There is also a beautiful nine day Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Liturgy Guide. Day 3 has a short reflection on Our Lady’s Pregnancy.

Day Three

Mother of God, your ribboned sash identified you as a pregnant woman, a woman who bore the Christ Child to a world in darkness and who through two millennia has borne the light and love of Christ to a world that has largely rejected Him. May the love of your Son awaken a hymn of thanksgiving and praise in all pregnant mothers,as happened long ago in the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah.

September 8, 2010, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

Frescoes in the chapel Leonhard in Nauders – traditio legis, or Christ in the mandorla? (C. 1210) Maria Heimsuchung

The Church celebrates three New Testament era pregnancies in her ancient Church calendar:

MaryHer Conception –  December 8th (The Immaculate Conception of Mary) Her Nativity –  September 8th (nine months later)

John the Baptist: (His Gestation – May 31st; The Visitation) His Birth – June 24th

Jesus: His Conception – March 25th (The Annunciation) (His Gestation –  May 31st; The Visitation) His Nativity –  December 25th (Christmas; nine months later)

The dates are in large part symbolic, though marking actual historical events. We include here the feast day of the Visitation (twice) inasmuch as this feast day encapsulates many profound aspects of these two pregnancies; the two mothers and the two unborn/preborn babies. The Church even has two seasons honoring the pregnancy and birth of Jesus; Advent and Christmastide. Then, to top the whole pregnancy perspective off, there is even a feast day to celebrate ‘Mary Mother of God’ (January 1st). Taken together, these are Culture of Life days of celebration! (Note: Joseph’s fatherhood is also celebrated March 19th and Feast of the Holy Family; Sunday after Christmas.)

Capturing the sentiment in his Encyclical Letter on the Holy Spirit, Pope John Paul the Great says: “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.”

And yet, amidst all of this wondrous celebration and joy, there is the little matter of December 28th  –  the feast of The Holy Innocents….during which, in our modern time of Herodian vices run amok, we sadly recall the Gospel story of infant male massacre along with our present day horror of  unborn male and female massacre.

In the spirit of the hidden (unborn) Infancy Gospel, in harmony with the above teaching of John Paul the Great, in the legacy of the Gospel of Life Encyclical, and in solidarity with all unborn children who have died or are at risk, we propose one more feast day relating to the pregnancy of Mary: a feast day of The Unborn Christ Child!

A Feast Day acknowledging boldly that Jesus Christ was a beautiful unborn baby – like other unborn babies – that the Unborn Christ Child is in complete solidarity with all unborn children as He fulfills the Will of God within the womb of His Mother, and that God loves all unborn children. A feast day of Hope and Expectation, honoring pregnant Mothers who, like Mary, strive to follow the Will of God with heroic virtue.

Let us know if you agree, and please share this idea with others!

August 29, 2010, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

Annuncia (Lorezo Venezian)

Two human beings are mentioned by name in the ancient Christian Creed so as to anchor our Christian beliefs in actual historical circumstances: “the Virgin Mary” and “Pontius Pilate”. The one mentioned in appreciation the other in depreciation. John the Baptist is not mentioned in the Creed, nor Joseph, nor Peter, nor Paul, nor the four evangelists.

“For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;  he suffered, died, and was buried.”

“For us men”, “for our salvation” and “For our sake” are three critical phrases which give perspective about why God came into our world and did what He did. (Recall the famous verse John 3:16 ; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…”)

The fantastic thing about this marvelous plan of salvation is that God did it “for you” and “for me” personally. But first, He did it for Mary! “…by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man”. At the very instant of the conception of Jesus Christ, Mary loved Him on your behalf. She loved Him with all of her being on your behalf, to say thank you on your behalf. She accepted Him with an inspired maternal love not only as Mother, but also on behalf of her other children (see Rev 12:17).

Let’s consider how blessed we are that Mary completely accepted Him and profoundly loved Him throughout her nine month pregnancy and thereafter, by recalling these words from the Prologue to John’s Gospel: “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God…” (Jn 1:10-12). Mary “received him” and she “believed in his name”. She was first among the “children of God”, but as His Mother, our mother too.

Through Mary, Christ “became man” – one of us, one with us. She immediately embraced Him with all of her love and thereby made the Incarnation of the Son of God an even more wonderful miracle because as a Sign of God’s Love it is accompanied by the best of our human love. God poured His Grace upon humanity in His Incarnation and humanity ( Mary) poured her affection and gratitude upon God! This is the way it should have been, this is the way it was. Sinful humanity (Herod) wanted a different outcome but Love prevailed – thanks be to God! (And thanks also to “the Virgin Mary”.)