UNBORN WORD of the day

This is the lesson that the child yet unborn would teach
November 7, 2010, 1:58 am
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus

Unborn Word of the Day has received permission to post  The Annunciation by Bradi Barth* copyright “BRADI BARTH”  “HERBRONNEN” vzw www.bradi-barth.org

Mother St. Paul wrote this of the unborn Christ Child who rested in His mother’s womb.

“Come, my little King, Who art nevertheless the Eternal Wisdom, come and teach me this heavenly prudence….”

“…and in my own life when things seem, as they sometimes do inexplicable and beyond human ken. Oh! come and teach me that the way of prudence is to lie still like a little child in its mother’s arms, not to try to fathom nor to understand, but to say: I am in the Arms of the Eternal Wisdom, Who can do all things, Who loves me with an infinite love and Who is disposing all things sweetly, gently, mercifully for my sake. This is the lesson the Child (Christ) yet unborn would teach.”

Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi, 1921

Archbishop Gomez: “our religion begins with the story of two pregnant women and their unborn children…”
April 6, 2010, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus

Welcome to the Archdiocese of  Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez!

Archbishop Jose Gomez is known to be a wonderful defender of the faith and of the unborn. We are thrilled that he is coming to Los Angeles to be our new shepherd.  In the next day or so we will detail and link to a number of the pro-life articles etc. that this wonderful man has written. But for today we have a quote of his that relates to the topic of this blog. It is from an Oct. 10, 2008 column he wrote entitled Truth, Freedom and Abortion.

“I repeat: Abortion is not only a Catholic issue or a ‘matter of faith’.  It concerns the most fundamental questions in any human civilization: Who gets to live and who doesn’t — and who gets to decide this question? Can one’s rights or freedoms include the right and freedom to extinguish the life of one who is weaker?

The Catholic Church’s position on these questions is clear. Our Savior chose to come among us as each one of us came into this world, by spending nine months in a mother’s womb. Blessed Mother Teresa (0f Calcutta) used to talk about this a lot. She reminded us that our religion begins with the story of two pregnant women and their unborn children. And it was an unborn child, John the Baptist, who was the first to proclaim Christ’s presence — when he leapt in his mother’s womb at the Visitation. (Luke 1:39-45)”

Visitation, Hungarian (?) painter (end of 15th c.)

The Pro-life call to patience


Here are three insightful quotes about patience.

“Defending the dignity of the human person requires detachment from immediate results. We’re in this for the long term.… We have no right to despair and we have no reason to despair. Rev. Richard John Neuhaus

From an article by Colleen Carroll Campbell: A Lgacy of Connection and Common Ground in a Fragmented World

One of my favorite quotes from Mother St. Paul’s book Ortus Christi is about patience.

“Patience is a twofold grace, that of waiting and that of suffering, both are a great aid to zeal. The Eternal Word’s zeal for the salvation of men had existed in all its perfection and all its fullness from all eternity, yet think how long He waited! When the conditions were changed and He had at length become incarnate, He still waited patiently for nine months, and after that He waited for thirty years! This was zeal, zeal in its perfection. Is my zeal tempered with patience?”

Here is a interesting and encouraging quote about patience and perseverance from John Quincy Adams.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)

“We shall not weary, we shall not rest!”
April 21, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Pro-life, Quotes from Great Christians


Father Richard Neuhaus, a great friend to the unborn died earlier this year. In 2008 he gave a memorable speech at the National Right to Life Convention. Here are a couple of excerpts from his speech.

At one point, he talks about the moment he knew that he was ‘recruited’ for the cause of the culture of life. My husband and I have often spoken about the fact that we both know the exact moment when we realized that this issue was more important than any other social issue of our time. We have even likened what happened to us as a type of conversion. Father Neuhaus speaks very eloquently about this moment.

“In that moment, I knew that I had been recruited to the cause of the culture of life. To be recruited to the cause of the culture of life is to be recruited for the duration; and there is no end in sight, except to the eyes of faith. Perhaps you, too, can specify such a moment when you knew you were recruited. At that moment you could have said, “Yes, it’s terrible that in this country alone 4,000 innocent children are killed every day, but then so many terrible things are happening in the world. Am I my infant brother’s keeper? Am I my infant sister’s keeper?” You could have said that, but you didn’t. You could have said, “Yes, the nation that I love is betraying its founding principles—that every human being is endowed by God with inalienable rights, including, and most foundationally, the right to life. But,” you could have said, “the Supreme Court has spoken and its word is the law of the land. What can I do about it?” You could have said that, but you didn’t. That horror, that betrayal, would not let you go. You knew, you knew there and then, that you were recruited to contend for the culture of life, and that you were recruited for the duration.”

Here is another excerpt from this speech that gave me great hope. I believe it describes the attitude of many pro-lifers and this is one of the reasons that I think that someday the rights of the unborn will be restored:

We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until all the elderly who have run life’s course are protected against despair and abandonment, protected by the rule of law and the bonds of love. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every young woman is given the help she needs to recognize the problem of pregnancy as the gift of life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, as we stand guard at the entrance gates and the exit gates of life, and at every step along the way of life, bearing witness in word and deed to the dignity of the human person—of every human person.”

We Shall Not Weary, We Shall Not Rest By Richard John Neuhaus

“On its own the donkey would only… make an ass of itself” St. Josemaria Escriva
March 27, 2009, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, Saints, Unborn Jesus


The Donkey Carrying God by William Kurelek

“The donkey that carried Our Lady to Bethlehem took another form in my thoughts. For he carried the Word—a dumb animal, carrying a Virgin who carried God—and so he was the carrier of God too. His bells were the first church bells, for Mary was the first Church, the first tabernacle of Christ.”   Catherine Doherty foundress of Madonna House.

In another vein, St. Josemaria Escriva often compared himself to a donkey:

“One day at the beginning of the 1930s, the Founder of Opus Dei greeted Our Lord in the Tabernacle of the church of the St Elizabeth Foundation with these words: “Here is your mangy little donkey!” and heard in reply the gentle response, “A little donkey was my throne in Jerusalem.”

The donkey, docile, humble and hard-working, was an animal for which St Josemaria had always felt a special affection. He saw himself as a donkey – in the words of Psalm 73[72], ‘ut iumentum’. From The ‘theology of the donkey’.

‘I am like a beast (donkey) in your presence, but I am continually with you. You hold my right hand.’ (Psalm 72:23-24)

Everyone has the duty to do the impossible…to bring the world back to Christ


Toronto, Toronto by William Kurelek

“The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all.

Karl Rahner, Theological Investigations XX, Concern for the Church, “The Spirituality of the Church of the Future”, translated Edward Quinn (New York: Crossroad, 1981), p. 149.


“I have often had occasion to remember a saying of Pope Pius XI that was a favorite of Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement.  “Let us thank God that he makes us live among the present problems; it is no longer permitted to anyone to be mediocre.” Catholicism’s Bright Future Seven Signs in America That the End Is Nowhere Near By George Weigel

After some research I was able to find this quote in the context of part of the larger statement Pius XI made:

Pius XI was even more insistent that the layman fulfill his function in the Church. He wrote: “It is absolutely necessary that in this our age all should be apostles: it is absolutely necessary that the laity should not sit idly by. . . . The crisis we are experiencing is unique in history. It is a new world that must burst out of a crucible in which so many different energies are boiling. Let us thank God that He makes us live among the present problems. It is no longer permitted to anyone to be mediocre. Everyone has the imperative duty to remember that he has a mission to fulfill, that of doing the impossible, each within the limits of his activity, to bring the world back to Christ.Program of Action (Grailville, Loveland, Ohio, 1946)

“This is the answer to Herod in our times…”
February 6, 2009, 11:55 pm
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus


Virgin and Child, Tom Dusterberg

To overcome the world we must become children. To become children we must fold our consciousness upon the Divine Infant who is the center of our being; who is our being itself; and all that we are must be absorbed in Him; whatever remains of self must be the cradle in which he lies.

This is the answer to Herod in all times, the answer of St. Teresa of Lisieux in our time: ‘the little way of Spiritual Childhood’, which is the oneing of the soul with God, in the passion of the Infant Christ.”

Caryll Houselander, The Passion of the Infant Christ, (1941).

“Let it be it done to me according to Thy word”
February 4, 2009, 12:32 am
Filed under: Pro-life, Quotes from Great Christians, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus


Our Lady of Expectation

“Let it be it done to me according to Thy word” (Luke 1:38 )

St Bernadine calls these words “A flame of transforming love”.

Mother St. Paul said of these words:

It was a transformation for the world. This word of Mary’s, by which she gave her consent to God’s plan of Redemption, changed the face of the whole world. It began a new era A.D. instead of B.C. It settled the moment of the arrival of the ” fullness of time ” (Gal. 4.:4) – of God’s time. As a result of it, God was already tabernacling among men. The leaven of the Gospel, which was to leaven the whole world, was already beginning to work. Mary s word produced a transformation in the world, and though it “knew Him not,” it was never the same world again.Mother St. Paul, Mater Christi, 1918

Let us ponder the power and grace that flooded the world when Christ was conceived in Mary’s womb. At the one cell stage, Christ fundamentally changed the world.

Christ wanted to show humanity how special that one cell stage is by fundamentally changing the world at that beginning point of His Incarnate life.

He raised that moment in each person’s life to a dignity and beauty that we will never fully comprehend.

The Culture of Death, like darkness, tries to encroach upon this light, this new illuminated life to extinguish it.

Let us pray that our world will  say the same transforming words for each newly conceived child that Mary said for Jesus.

“Let is be done to (us) according to Thy word.” (Luke 1:38 )

St. Joseph’s Advent
December 20, 2008, 3:15 am
Filed under: Christmas, Pope Benedict XVI, Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus


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.*

“We should like to penetrate into those remaining six months, which Mary and Joseph spent together, before the birth of the Holy Child. Scripture is silent about them, but it is not difficult for a sanctified imagination to picture something of what was taking place…

The house at Nazareth was in very deed God’s Sanctuary, containing the Altar of Repose, where the Savior of the world was resting. Angels were in constant adoration before their King. The faithful consisted of Mary and Joseph, whose thought and conversation could be about nothing else but the Child Who was coming into the world. And who shall measure the graces and blessings, which that Child was showering upon Mary and her faithful spouse, during those months of waiting and prayer and holy converse,while they planned and arranged with such care and minuteness, as parents are wont to do, every detail connected with the birth of the firstborn?” Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi

“Joseph realized how great was the blessing which God had bestowed upon him, a poor carpenter, in decreeing that from his house and family should come the hope and salvation and remedy of all generations and that he should be guardian and putative father of the Savior and the spouse of His blessed Mother. When a heart so pure and holy sees itself enclosed and inundated by such mysteries, what must it feel? How astonished and enraptured it must be amidst such marvels and blessings, especially since the Holy Spirit usually gives to the just an experience or taste proportionate to the knowledge which He gives them. What must have been the state of Joseph’s will when his intellect was enlightened concerning the great marvels and mysteries?”   Venerable Louis of Granada (1505-1588)

“In these last days of Advent the liturgy invites us to contemplate in a special way the Virgin Mary and St Joseph, who lived with unique intensity the period of expectation and preparation for Jesus’ birth. I would like today to turn my attention to the figure of St Joseph…

The beloved Pope John Paul II, who was very devoted to St Joseph, left us an awesome meditation dedicated to him in the Apostolic Exhortation Redemptoris Custos, “Guardian of the Redeemer”. Among the many aspects it  highlights, particular emphasis is placed on the silence of St Joseph. His is a silence permeated by contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of total availability to his divine wishes. In other words, the silence of St Joseph was not the sign of an inner void, but on the contrary, of the fullness of faith he carried in his heart, and which guided each and every one of his thoughts and actions…

Let us allow ourselves to be ‘infected’ by the silence of St Joseph! We have much need of it in a world which is often too noisy, which does not encourage reflection and listening to the voice of God. In this time of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate interior meditation to welcome and watch over Jesus in our lives.” Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Message, Dec. 18, 2005.

* The Chora (Museum) Monastery is located in the northwest part of Istanbul, in a district called Edirnekapi. The word “Chora”, as widely accepted, means land, country, a suburb, or suburban area, and countryside in Greek language. As the building  lay outside the city walls built by emperor Constantine, it was thus named Chora. Chora also means “womb” in ancient Greek. Some historians have thought that the church might have been dedicated to Virgin Mary who gave birth to Jesus from her womb.There are two etymological approaches to  the word “Chora”  1- Geographical (land, county, suburb), 2- religious and mystical (womb).

Advent: His work did not begin on Christmas Day, but on the Feast of the Annunciation
December 14, 2008, 10:53 am
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus
Interior Of The Mezquita Cathedral Virgin Mary Icon*

“He has become incarnate for me; it behooves me then to keep as close to Him as possible, to love Him with all my heart and to copy Him as far as I can.

He is God and therefore there can be nothing imperfect about Him; from the first moment of the Word being made flesh in the womb of His Mother till ‘she brought forth her first-born Son’ on Christmas day, His faculties, His reason, His intelligence, His sensibilities were all in a state of perfection; He knew the past, the present, and the future; and He, the Source of grace, was pouring forth grace on all around Him.

Directly we understand this, we feel that we must draw near, not only to adore but to sympathize, to wonder, to love, to learn, to imitate. For those who understand the Incarnation, His work did not begin on Christmas Day, but on the Feast of the Annunciation, when 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 worshiped before the Tabernacle of the Word made flesh.”

From Ortus Christi:meditations for Advent (1921) by Mother St. Paul

*Detail –  fresco of Virgin Mary “of the Sign”: she is carrying Jesus in her womb. This icon is found  in The Mezquita of Cordoba, a Roman Catholic cathedral and former mosque, situated in the Andalusian city of Córdoba, Spain. Under the rule of Islam, it was built as the second-largest mosque in the world, and is perhaps the most accomplished monument of the Umayyad dynasty of Cordoba. After the Spanish Reconquista, it was transformed into a church, and some of the Islamic columns and arches were replaced by a basilica in early Baroque style. Today it houses the main church of the diocese of Cordoba in Spain.

Advent: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
December 11, 2008, 12:49 am
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus


Mary full of Life brings light to a dark world. Photo taken by Rob Howells, Director of Development Union Gospel Mission

Recently, we did a post about this beautiful billboard, Mary Full of Life. The idea for the sculpture and billboard were developed by Valerie Aschbacher.  (Click here to see the original news story about this billboard.) Valerie  sent out an email about her efforts to make sure it was lit up at night. She finally succeeded but shared her thoughts about the darkness surrounding the billboard.

“Saddened by this dark experience, I had hoped Mary Full of Life would become illuminated for all to see – as a real beacon of  LIGHT amongst the dark landscape in the city. This morning, the Clear Channel President has notified me – the light is working now.”

This made me think how Mary’s pregnancy and the Unborn Christ Child illuminate our dark culture of death. Karl Adam in his book The Son of God (Sheed and Ward, 1934) writes about how Christ “holy and exalted as was his nature…appeared to us in purely human form, in the dubious condition of all that is transitory and temporal.” What can be a more ‘dubious condition’ to this world than a single cell or a developing unborn baby.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta reminded us that the poor were really Christ in a ‘distressing disguise’. In our sad world, what disguise could be more distressing than an unborn baby?

In a post entitled Life Incarnate, two views ‘the aspiring f.o.o.l.’  (an aspiring ‘friend of our Lord’) writes these beautiful lines: “He consigned Himself to a torturous life on earth so that we might see, embodied as it is, what love is.”

When I see the billboard of  Mary full of  Life spreading the light of Jesus unborn to the dark world beneath it, I know this is ‘what love is’ – Jesus unborn ‘in the dubious condition of all that is transitory and temporal’ – yes a beautiful yet , ‘ distressing disguise’ that this dark world needs to behold.

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of  men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1: 4-5)

Jesus in Mary’s womb – they go with haste into the hill country…
December 5, 2008, 9:54 pm
Filed under: Pro-life, Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus


The picture above is a mural on the Visitation Church in Ain Karim on the outskirts of Jerusalem which commemorates Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth and the Magnificat

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah. Luke 1:39

Why did Mary decide to go to the home of Elizabeth? Undoubtedly the Holy Spirit, who had come upon her (Lk 1:35), unfolded the reason for the angel’s reference to Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Her state, as she considered what she should do was described by St. Peter Julian Eymard:

The Word was in Mary’s womb. He inspired His Mother to visit Elizabeth; Mary carried to John his Master and King. John could not come, for his mother was too old to undertake that journey; Jesus Christ went to him. He did the same for us: we could not go to God; God came to us.”

Most likely Mary welcomed those three or four days of traveling to visit her cousin Elizabeth as it afforded her a great deal of time to reflect and pray and to sort out in her own mind what had happened. … Underlying all her thoughts was a poignant sense of duty and mission – the messianic mission. As Cardinal Berulle (1575-1629) explains, her unique role was underway:

“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.”

Excerpt from Unborn Jesus Our Hope

The first three months of his life continued
November 28, 2008, 11:33 am
Filed under: Pro-life, Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus


Mary in the House of Elizabeth  found in Mary, the mother of Jesus : an essay by Alice Meynell, 1847-1922; Illustrations, Robert Anning Bell

“Three months Mary abode in Zachary s house, and all that time the flame of communicating love abode there too, burning ever more brightly within her. What a privilege for the house of Zachary! We read in Sacred History that once “the Ark of the Lord abode in the house of Obededom the Gethite for three months; and the Lord blessed Obededom and all his household.” (2 Kings vi. 11.)

What then must have been the blessings bestowed on Zachary’s household, while Mary the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ abode there! ‘ Foederis area, ora pro nobis.’  Pray that we too may get the blessings of those who receive thee as their constant guest.”  From Mater Christi : meditations on Our Lady (1920). Mother St. Paul


“Our Lady stayed with Elizabeth until John was born; that is the point of the ‘three months’; the gospel account is surely Mary’s personal recital. There were no maternity wards in those days, and Mary assisted at the birth of Elizabeth’s son.” From The Gospel Story by Ronald Knox and Ronald Cox, Sheed and Ward, 1958

What I love about this painting (see below) is that Mary is holding John the Baptist right after his birth. Of course, Jesus is also present at this birth in his mother’s womb.


The Birth of St. John the Baptist, Andrea di Nerio, c. 1350

Over 100 Bishops have spoken out on the Priority of Life Issues in this election
October 30, 2008, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Pro-life, Quotes from Great Christians

The picture on this page is an untouched photograph of a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks. Please do me the favor of looking at it carefully.” Cardinal Egan

From InsideCatholic.com
The list of U. S. bishops who have spoken out on the priority of the life issues in this election is now over 100. The list now contains 70 individual bishops and three joint statements.
I would like to continue updating this list until the day of the election. I have tried to incorporate all the comments thus far. If I did not get them all, I apologize. (For a few of the suggestions, I could not find a suitable link.)

Click on the the Bishop’s last name to go to their statement.

1. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver
2. Bishop James Conley, auxiliary of Denver
3. Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C.
4. Justin Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities
5. Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine
6. Edward Cardinal Egan of New York
7. Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo
8. Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh
9. Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs
10. Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio
11. Bishop Oscar Cantu, auxiliary of San Antonio
12. Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre
13. Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa
14. Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas
15. Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin
16. Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston
17. Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando
18. Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul/Minneapolis
19. Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, President of the USCCB
20. Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker
21. Bishop Jerome Listecki of La Crosse
22. Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland
23. Bishop Ralph Nickless of Sioux City
24. Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco
25. Bishop Glen Provost of Lake Charles, LA
26. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn
27. Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton
28. Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
30. Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte
31. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh
32. Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, KS
33. Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO
34. Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, WS
35. Bishop Ronald Gilmore of Dodge City, KS
36. Bishop Paul Coakley of Salina, KS
37. Bishop Michael Jackels of Wichita
38. Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito of Palm Beach
39. Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Fort Worth
40. Bishop Rene H. Gracida, retired, of Corpus Christi
41. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Houston
42. Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington
43. Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond
44. Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Center
45. Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester
46. Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Patterson
47. Bishop Robert Herrmann of St. Louis
48. Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore
49. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix
50. Bishop Thomas D. Doran of Rockford
51. Bishop Joseph A. Galante of Camden
52. Bishop Robert J. Baker of Birmingham
53. Archbishop Alexander J. Brunett of Seattle
54. Bishop J. Peter Sartain of Joliet
55. Bishop John M. Smith of Trenton
56. Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing
57. Bishop Leonard R. Blair of Toledo
58. Bishop Frances J. Dewane of Venice
59. Bishop W. Frances Malooly of Wilmington
60. Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison
61. Bishop John Yanta , retired, of Amarillo
62. Bishop James V. Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau
63. Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland
64. Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City
65. Bishop Lawrence Brandt of Greensburg
66. Bishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinatti
67. Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu
68. Bishop Paul Swain of Sioux Falls
69. Bishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe
70. Bishop Eusebius Beltran of Oklahoma City
71. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Harrisburg
72. Joint Statement by the bishops of New York State (22 bishops)
73. Joint Statement by the bishops of Pennsylvania (16 bishops)
74. Joint Statement by the bishops of Kansas (4 bishops)

75. Joint Statement by the bishops of Florida (9 bishops)

August 8, 2008, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

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 below)

I have a Catholic hero who 99.99% of Catholics have never heard of. I have lots of heroes, but this person is particularly distinguished for several reasons, one of which is that she has faded into utter obscurity – as most of us will do. But more importantly, she developed her own great devotion to the Unborn Christ Child back in the early 1920’s and 1930’s and wrote two outstanding books about Christ: Nativitas Christi and Ortus Christi. (No doubt her devotion to the unborn Christ was derived from the spirituality and writings of the French School of Spirituality founded centuries earlier.)

At the conclusion of this reflection I will quote one sentence from Ortus Christi, in which she turns to the Unborn Christ Child within Mary’s womb and prays.

“It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth…” Jer 27:5

“O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as thou art, O Lord…Thou hast a mighty arm; strong is thy hand, high thy right hand.” Psalm 89:8,13

“And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen…” Isaiah 30:30

“The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm…” Isaiah 62:8

But the arm of the Lord is also associated with deliverance, as when He delivered the people of Israel from bondage in Egypt: “I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm…” Ex 6:6

Finally, the prophet Isaiah associates the arm of the Lord with the youthful Messiah Savior: “Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant…” Isaiah 53:1-2

The arm of the Lord was revealed to us as a saving arm, bringing salvation through Jesus. So, even in the womb, the tiny unborn Savior’s arm represented the arm and hand of God reaching out to humanity to heal and save!

So, Mother St. Paul – a pro-life hero from the 1920’s and 1930’s – reflects on the mission of Moses and then 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.

Unborn Christ with His arm outstretched

“I don’t have much, you know… So, I have given them my life. And my life is all that I had.”

June 13, 1926 – April 3,1994

Jérôme Jean Louis Marie Lejeune (Montrouge, France; June 13, 1926-April 3, 1994) was a French Catholic pro-life pediatrician and geneticist, best known for his discovery of the link of diseases to chromosome abnormalities. He developed the karotype, and discovered the link between inadequate intake of Folic Acid by pregnant women and neural tube defects.

Lejeune had made his career specializing in the treatment of children with Down’s syndrome. He discovered that children with Down’s syndrome have an extra copy (called a trisomy) of chromosome 21. He spent the remainder of his life researching a cure for Down syndrome. He said, “it would take less effort to find a cure for Down syndrome than to send a man to the moon.” He also diagnosed the first case of Cri du chat syndrome, or 5p deletion syndrome, in 1963.

In an article entitled Professor Jerome Lejeune a moving account of his last days can be found: “ On Good Friday , he confided to a priest who was giving him last rites : ‘I have never betrayed my faith. This is all that counts before God…’ He told his children who were asking him what he wished to bequeath to his little patients : ‘I don’t have much, you know… So, I have given them my life. And my life is all that I had.’ Then, moved to tears, he murmured, ‘O my God! I was supposed to have cured them, and I am leaving without having found … What will happen to them?’ Then, radiant with joy, he spoke to his loved ones: ‘My children, if I can leave you a message, this is the most important of all : we are in the hands of God. I have experienced this a number of times.’ ”

In her book,Life is a Blessing, Clara Lejeune (Jerome’s daughter) tells us that Pope John Paul II spoke these words after Jerome’s death on Easter Sunday to her sister Anouk: “Humanly speaking we need him so much. But maybe this is a gift he has given us for the Academy and for all this pro-life work. Didn’t Christ die on the cross to save us?”

On the surface it would seem that Dr. Lejeune had failed but in fact he kept hope alive – he spoke truth to the world that these children with Downs syndrome are precious and that we should continue to seek a cure. In an article in the July 6-12, 2008 issue of the National Catholic Register, entitled The Legacy of Jerome Lejeune and the Resurgence of Down Syndrome Research , LETICIA VELASQUEZ details encouraging research developments in this field. To read the details about this research for Dr. Lejeunes beloved ‘patients’ click on the article above. I’m sure Dr. Lejeune is looking on from heaven with great happiness – researchers are carrying on his work and what he worked for may someday be a reality.


Thankyou to Cathlete for alerting us to the wonderful article by Leticia Velasquez .

Mary’s Yes Meant Yes
June 21, 2008, 12:17 am
Filed under: Mary, Quotes from Great Christians, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

“Humanly speaking, the time of Advent must have been the happiest time of Our Lady’s life. The world about her must have been informed with more than its habitual loveliness, for she was gathering it all for the making of Her Son…

It must have been a season of joy, and she must have longed for His birth, but at the same time she knew that every step that she took, took her little Son nearer to the grave.

Each work of her hands prepared His hands a little more for the nails; each breath that she drew counted one more to His last.

In giving life to Him, she was giving Him death.

All other children born must inevitably die; death belongs to fallen nature; the mother’s gift to the child is life.

But Christ IS life; death did not belong to Him.

In fact, unless Mary would give Him death, He could not die.

Unless she would give Him the capacity for suffering, He could not suffer.

He could only feel cold and hunger and thirst if she gave Him HER vulnerability to cold and hunger and thirst.

He could not know the indifference of friends or treachery or bitterness of being betrayed unless she gave Him a human mind and a human heart.

That is what it meant to Mary to give human nature to God.

He was invulnerable; He asked her for a body to be wounded.

He was joy itself; He asked her to make Him a man.

He asked for hands and feet to be nailed.

He asked for flesh to be scourged.

He asked for blood to be shed.

He asked for a heart to be broken.

The stable at Bethlehem was the first Calvary.

The wooden manger was the first cross.

The swaddling bands were the first burial bands.

The passion had begun.

Christ was man.

This, too, was the first separation.

This was her Son, but now He was outside of her: He had a separate heart: He looked at the world with the blind blue eyes of a baby, but they were His own eyes.

The description of His birth in the Gospel does not say that she held Him in her arms but that she “wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger”.

As if her first act was to lay Him on the cross.

She knew that this little Son of hers was God’s Son and that God had not given Him to her for herself alone, but for the whole world.”

A meditation by Caryll Houselander from “The Reed of God”.

One of the subscribers to the e-newsletter sent this beautiful meditation to us. Thanks Diana.