UNBORN WORD of the day


Beautiful in the womb

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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



THE VISITATION – COMMENT FROM CATHOLIC CATECHISM / POEM BY THOMAS MERTON
May 30, 2013, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Poems, Unborn Jesus

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May 31, 2013 is the Feast of the Visitation. About one week after conceiving Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, and at the conclusion of a 4 day journey, Mary arrives at the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah. We present two reflections: 1. Theological, 2. Poetical.

“John (the Baptist) 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 #717

The Quickening of St. John the Baptist – Written in 1949

On the Contemplative Vocation

Why do you fly from the drowned shores of Galilee,
From the sands and the lavender water?
Why do you leave the ordinary world, Virgin of Nazareth,
The yellow fishing boats, the farms,
The winesmelling yards and low cellars
Or the oilpress, and the women by the well?
Why do you fly those markets,
Those suburban gardens,
The trumpets of the jealous lilies,
Leaving them all, lovely among the lemon trees?

You have trusted no town
With the news behind your eyes.
You have drowned Gabriel’s word in thoughts like seas
And turned toward the stone mountain
To the treeless places.
Virgin of God, why are your clothes like sails?

The day Our Lady, full of Christ,
Entered the dooryard of her relative
Did not her steps, light steps, lay on the paving leaves
like gold?
Did not her eyes as grey as doves
Alight like the peace of a new world upon that house, upon
miraculous Elizabeth?

Her salutation
Sings in the stone valley like a Charterhouse bell:
And the unborn saint John
Wakes in his mother’s body,
Bounds with the echoes of discovery.
Sing in your cell, small anchorite!
How did you see her in the eyeless dark?
What secret syllable
Woke your young faith to the mad truth
That an unborn baby could be washed in the Spirit of God?
Oh burning joy!

What seas of life were planted by that voice!
With what new sense
Did your wise heart receive her Sacrament,
And know her cloistered Christ?

You need no eloquence, wild bairn,
Exulting in your hermitage.
Your ecstasy is your apostolate,
For whom to kick is contemplata tradere.
Your joy is the vocation of Mother Church’s hidden children –
Those who by vow lie buried in the cloister or the hermitage;
The speechless Trappist, or the grey, granite Carthusian,
The quiet Carmelite, the barefoot Clare, Planted in the night of
contemplation, Sealed in the dark and waiting to be born.

Night is our diocese and silence is our ministry
Poverty our charity and helplessness our tongue-tied
sermon.
Beyond the scope of sight or sound we dwell upon the air
Seeking the world’s gain in an unthinkable experience.
We are exiles in the far end of solitude, living as listeners
With hearts attending to the skies we cannot understand:
Waiting upon the first far drums of Christ the Conqueror,
Planted like sentinels upon the world’s frontier.

But in the days, rare days, when our Theotokos
Flying the prosperous world
Appears upon our mountain with her clothes like sails,
Then, like the wise, wild baby,
The unborn John who could not see a thing
We wake and know the Virgin Presence
Receive her Christ into our night
With stabs of an intelligence as white as lightning.

Cooled in the flame of God’s dark fire
Washed in His gladness like a vesture of new flame
We burn like eagles in His invincible awareness
And bound and bounce with happiness,
Leap in the womb, our cloud, our faith, our element,
Our contemplation, our anticipated heaven
Till Mother Church sings like an Evangelist.



MERCY INCARNATE: THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD TO MARY

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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.



The Dream of St. Joseph by Francisco Rizi 1665, Indianapolis Museum of Art Indianapolis, Indiana
December 24, 2012, 11:17 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

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

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Indianapolis Museum of Art

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The Dream of St. Joseph Artist: Francisco Rizi

In a subject that became popular in Spain during the 17th century, an angel appears to St. Joseph in a dream and explains that Mary has miraculously conceived a child. The luminous angel points to a vision of Mary with the infant Christ in her womb and the dove of the Holy Spirit above her. The veneration of the expectant Virgin as protectress of women in childbirth was prevalent at the Spanish court and was promoted by the royal confessor. Francisco Rizi was the Spanish-born son of a Bolognese painter who went to work for Philip II at the Escorial in 1583. Rizi, who became royal painter to Philip IV in 1658, was also active as a stage designer.

“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’ (Mt 1:20-21).

There is a strict parallel between the “annunciation” in Matthew’s text and the one in Luke. The divine messenger introduces Joseph to the mystery of Mary’s motherhood. While remaining a virgin, she who by law is his “spouse” has become a mother through the power of the Holy Spirit. And when the Son in Mary’s womb comes into the world, he must receive the name Jesus. This was a name known among the Israelites and sometimes given to their sons. In this case, however, it is the Son who, in accordance with the divine promise, will bring to perfect fulfillment the meaning of the name Jesus-Yehos ua’ – which means ‘God saves.’ “   John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos 



Apokalypse Maria-Ekklesia by Gottfried Bernhard Goz 1749/50, Die Wallfahrtskirche Birnau, Lake Constance, Germany
December 21, 2012, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

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

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Die Wallfahrtskirche Birnau (The Pilgrimage Church of Birnau)

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Apokalypse Maria-Ekklesia (Presbyteriu Deckenfresko)

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Detail of Christ In the Womb

Birnau is a pilgrimage church at the shore of Lake Constance, between Meersburg and Überlingen. It was built in 1746-1749 for the Cistercians monastery of Salem (Germany) by Austrian architect Peter Thumb. The church interior features notable frescoes by Gottfried Bernhard Göz as well as altars and stucco ornaments in rococo style by Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer.

“In being born among us, may the Child Jesus not find us distracted or merely busy, beautifying our houses with decorative lights. Rather, let us deck our soul and make our families a worthy dwelling place where he feels welcomed with faith and love. May the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph help us to live the Mystery of Christmas with renewed wonder and peaceful serenity.” Benedict XVI General Audience, December 20 2006



Pregnant Madonna,The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption, Bogenberg, Austria
December 21, 2012, 8:18 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

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

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The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption (Pilgrimage church Mariä Himmelfahrt)

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The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption (Mariä Himmelfahrt) Shrine Interior

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Pregnant Madonna

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Pregnant Madonna (detail)

The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption in Altotting Bogenberg on a hill overlooking the Danube is the second largest and oldest pilgrimage site in Bavaria.
The special feature of the arc mountain church is the sculpture of the pregnant Madonna (window in the womb with baby Jesus).  Bogen’s greatest claim to fame is this shrine to Mary high atop Bogenberg.

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According to the legend, the Romanesque stone sculpture of Our Lady was found floating upstream on the Danube in 1104. In 1295 the chronicle of Oberalteich monastery for the first time mentions the legend of how the miracle-working statue which is revered in Bogenberg Church was found. According to that legend the statue had been floating upstream in the Danube and had landed on a rock in the river, which appears when the water level is low. This rock is still called “Marienstein”, i.e. Marys stone. Count Aswin of Bogen is said to have recovered the statue from the rock and to have taken it to the chapel of his castle. Then a church was built on Bogenberg Hill for the statue and the hill with the church was given to the monks of Oberalteich, who encouraged the pilgrimage to the miraculous statue. The statue shows Holy Mary heavy with child. It is also the reason why many of the pilgrims who came/come to Bogenberg were/are women praying for a good childbirth.

“In Advent Christ rested in Mary still, silent, helpless, utterly dependent. The Creator trusted Himself to His creature….This was a foreshadowing of what the Incarnation would mean for us; for in us too, Christ rests as He rested in Mary. From the moment when the Christ life is conceived in us, our life is intended for one thing, the expression of His love, His love for God and for the world…. We must allow the Christ life to grow in us in rest. Our whole being must fold upon Christ’s rest in us, as the earth folds upon the seed.” Caryll Houselander, The Passion of the Infant Christ (London: Sheed and Ward, 1949).



Gosler Town Hall Interior, 1505-1520, Goslar Town Hall Goslar Germany
December 18, 2012, 7:25 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

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

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Gosler Town Hall Interior

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Verkündigung Mariä

The Huldigungssaal in Goslar town hall was built from 1505 to 1520 as a Council Chamber. Here is a unique gem of late Gothic art : walls, ceiling and even the window recesses are completely lined with paintings. Varied carved tendrils crown the individual whiteboards. Each and every painting is a work of art that fits in with the overwhelming impression.. It took many years but the Huldigungssaal has now been restored, with security, climate and lighting upgraded to keep this unique ensemble of artwork in pristine condition.

“The Word took possession of her chaste womb, where He was to dwell for nine months the first nine months of His sojourn on this earth. And in that temple He at once began His work, that of loving God with a human heart……All His perfect acts of love, of praise, of reverence, of service, His acts of patience and humility, of meekness and suffering, of sacrifice and mort ification and all the rest, passed up to God through Mary. From that sacred temple a fragrant incense was continually rising to heaven “a sweet smelling savor”, sweeter than either earth or heaven had ever known before. For all those acts were perfect in God’s sight, worthy of His acceptance; they were the acts of a perfect man. And they were also infinite because they were at the same time the acts of God Himself.” Mother St. Paul, Nativitas Christi (London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., 1937), 145



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

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The Christian Museum

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Visitation 15th Century

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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



The Decree of Redemption by Konrad Witz, 15th Century, Gemäldegalerie Berlin Germany
December 16, 2012, 11:25 am
Filed under: Advent, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

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Gemäldegalerie Berlin Germany

Konrad Witz Trinity and Visitation

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The Decree of Redemption by Konrad Witz (Click here to see enlarged copy of painting)

Richly ornamented with a gold background this painting shows us the Divine sphere. The invisible Mystery of the Trinity is made  visible. God the Father sits on a throne. The book is opened. The Holy Spirit is hovering as a dove. Our redemption is being pondered. The Lamb looks to Christ who is worshiping the Father. The Son is being sent. The key locks the circle. The key starts at the heart of the Father and points to the halo of the Son where it ends with a cross. The Divine decree is the Incarnation of God – the Son is being sent for the Redemption of the world. The Innocent (the Lamb) is to be sacrificed in order to bring the Divine love to humanity.

The Incarnation has already taken place in the womb. The right section of the painting shows Mary and Elizabeth as pregnant women, with John and Jesus in their wombs. Here sits the unborn Baby Jesus in the womb of Mary as on a throne and the unborn John kneels, folds his hands and adores the Redeemer. The Divine is in the world. The thoughtful look of both Women indicates the understanding each has of the Unborn Redeemer. Mary is the Virgin with flowing hair and an open ear, she has just heard the word of the Angel affirmed by Elizabeth. Her blue dress of heavenly fidelity speaks the Magnificat. The letters of this song of praise adorn the Mantle of her cloak embroidered in gold Letters. Elizabeth is the old and wise woman in the red dress. She looks with love into the transcendent distance at the Counsel of Redemption. The views of  both women draw the viewer, to involve them in the wonder of this Event.

“O King of nations, as I look back through the ages and see the Child and His Mother so clearly set forth in promise and prophecy, in type and example, when I think of Thy plans for the Redemption of the world, made from all eternity and gradually unfolding as the fullness of time approached, when I think of the nations all desiring Thy coming, when I think of the intense desire of Thy loving Heart, there is one thing that seems to jar and to be out of harmony with the rest, and that is the lamentable want of desire in my own heart ! The time is very short now, the Child with His Mother are already on the way to Bethlehem. Oh! Let me multiply my Acts of Desire that my little King when He comes may be indeed my ‘desired One’ too.”  Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi, pp. 124.125.



Pregnant Virgin 1500 -1600, Cistercian convent, St.Marienstern Panschwitz-Kuckau Germany
December 15, 2012, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

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

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Cistercian convent, St.Marienstern

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Pregnant Virgin

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Maria in der Hoffnung

Our Lady Expecting, Our Lady of Hope

Pregnant Virgin

In 1996, Medievalist, Markus Bauer visited the Cistercian convent, St. Marienstern, in Panschwitz-Kuckau — a small village with a population of 2400 and located in the Sachsen part of the Lausitz area in search of material for an historical exhibit. The historian found three sculptures of the Blessed Virgin Mary, each with an opening in the stomach, where the viewer could see a miniature carving of the unborn Christ Child.

Such sculptures were highly valued devotional objects in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 19th century, this type of devotional image no longer spoke to the souls of the sisters in the same way, so they hung a cloth over the stomach opening, or they nailed the opening closed. Since the covering for one of these Marian figures was missing, it was put away in a remote cell, where it stayed to the present time.

“It would simply weary the reader to repeat almost word for word this description of our dearest Lord’s life in the Womb, changing the phrases to apply it to the Blessed Sacrament. The parallel is so complete, that it must already have suggested itself; and I have dwelt upon it at greater length, because, as the devotion to the life in the womb is especially a devotion of interior souls, so the corresponding thoughts with regard to the Blessed Sacrament are those which are most familiar to interior souls in their prayers before the tabernacle; and again as all the mysteries of the Sacred Infancy take their color and character from the life in the womb, to establish the analogy between it and the Blessed Sacrament is in truth to establish the analogy between the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Infancy altogether.”   The Blessed Sacrament, Fr. F. W. Faber



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

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

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St. James Altarpiece ( a few panels)

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

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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



Heimsuchung von Maria und Elisabeth (the “Visitation”) 1460, Kremsmünster Abbey, Kremsmünster, Upper Austria
December 14, 2012, 12:22 am
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

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Kremsmünster Abbey

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Heimsuchung von Maria und Elisabeth (Mary and Elisabeth Meeting)

In Christian art Mary’s pregnancy was broached not only in scenes with Jesus as an unborn child but also in pictures of the virgin mother by herself or in association with the Eucharist. Depending on how realistic or symbolic the picture was meant to be, her pregnancy was made evident as a rounded belly, by showing the figure of a child, or by having “IHS” marked on Mary’s stomach.

The original portrayal of this theme was the veneration with which, during her pregnancy, Elisabeth greeted Mary: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1,42) This Bible text became widespread due to the “Ave Maria” (Hail Mary) which became part of the Advent liturgy in the 7th and 8th centuries and as of the 13th century had become one of the most important Christian prayers. In medieval times portrayals of Mary and Elisabeth meeting (the “Visitation”) became very common. From around the year 1300 the children were shown in front of their mothers’ bellies as can be seen in this painting from Kremsmünster (around 1460).

“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.



Verkündigung Die Ungeborenen Jesus Artist: Friedrich Herlin 1462, Stadtmuseum Nördlingen Germany
December 13, 2012, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

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

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Stadtmuseum – Nördlingen,Germany

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Flügel des Hochaltars aus St. Georg (Wing of the high altar of St. George) Full Altar wing

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Verkündigung Die Ungeborenen Jesus (detail of Altar wing)

The wings of the high altar of St. George’s Church (1462) 1462 were a complex altarpiece created by Friedrich Herlin for the Church of St. George, where he acted not only as painter of the panels, but also as an entrepreneur who co-ordinated the other artisans and carpenters.  This Visitation detail show another common way unborn Jesus and John were recognized in Visitation paintings of this period. Light is emanating from the wombs of the two mothers.

When the Angel appeared to Zachariah – he made a number of predictions about John the Baptist before his conception. One was “He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother s womb” (Luke 1: 15) Here is what one writer says about the fulfillment of this Angelic pronouncement.

“Six months later, Elizabeth who had been waiting in solitude and silence for God to fulfil His designs, received a visit from the Mother of God, and the Precursor and the Messias Who was to come were brought into close contact. We cannot doubt that it was at that moment when, as Elizabeth said “the infant in my womb leaped for joy”, that John was “filled with the Holy Ghost”. Thus God cleansed His Precursor before his birth from the stain of original sin, again showing us that those who are to prepare for the Coming of His Son must be distinguished by their purity.” Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi, p. 35.



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

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Museum of Applied Arts-Frankfort, Germany

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

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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



OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE AND UNBORN JESUS
December 11, 2012, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

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One of the best known representations of Mary’s pregnancy is the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  This image is in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

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It is commonly thought that Our Lady is pregnant in this miraculous image given to Juan Diego in December, 1531.

Miguel Sanchez, the author of the 1648 tract Imagen de la Virgen María, described her (Our Lady of Guadalupe) as the Woman of the Apocalypse from the New Testament’s Revelation 12:1-2 “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child…

We also know she was with child in this image because she wears a black belt which was the Aztec Maternity Belt.

Father Frank Pavone points out that “In the image, Our Lady is pregnant, carrying the Son of God in her womb. Her head is bowed in homage, indicating that she is not the Goddess, but rather the one who bears and at the same time worships the one true God.” Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Pro-life Movement

Another indication that it has been widely held that the Guadalupe image was of Mary pregnant is the Anonymous Cuzqueño 18th century painting, Mary Immaculate with the Child Jesus in the womb. Private Collection, Lima, Peru. This work is included in “Colonial Art Book Iconography” by Hector Schenone. The image has the unborn Christ child included in an image that is reminiscent of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

18th century Mary Immaculate Jesus in womb



Virgin of Quinau with Unborn Christ 1300,Trutzhain-Quinauer pilgrimage shrine, Trutzhain,Germany
December 10, 2012, 9:05 pm
Filed under: Advent, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

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Trutzhain-Quinauer pilgrimage Shrine

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Virgin of Quinau with Unborn Christ

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St. Mariahilf (St. Mary Our Help Parish), Trutzhain,Germany

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The Trutzhain Madonna – ‘Mater gravida’. She is the ‘pregnant Madonna’ with the infant Jesus under her heart

This was a new version Of theQuinauer Madonna. 1987 artist: Uhrissen Anton

July 2, the Feast of the Visitation is the feast day of the sanctuary in the lower Quinau. It is a time for the pilgrims to honor the miraculous Virgin of Quinau. During  the pilgrimage season pilgrims come daily  in fancy dress from many places in the region to honor the Mother of God.

History of Quinau: The legend of the origin of the statue is as follows: A boy named Joseph kept sheep for his master on the spot where the church now stands. Once, the normally pious boy cursed while taking care of  the cattle. Then came a voice: “Joseph, cease your anger and cursing, you insult my son, Jesus”.  Startled, Joseph turned his face in the direction from which the voice came and he saw the statue of Mary in a rocky niche . The boy fell to his knees and begged for forgiveness. Then he built a little chapel with stones and shrubs around the statue and performed his devotions there every day.

He concealed his experience for a long time. Then the boy became ill. During his illness, he betrayed his experience while delirious. When he awoke they questioned him and discovered little by little the whole story. The boy expressed the desire to be carried up the mountain to image of the Virgin. This took place on September 4, 1342 . The farmer who employed the boy took the image of Mary to his home. But the next day the statue was gone.  Everyone in his household, denied taking the statue.  After a long search they found the statue again at the previous location. The farmer took it back home and the event repeated itself. A few villagers had now heard of these events.   They wanted to build a chapel in the village. But one day the building material disappeared. It had miraculously been taken to the top of the hill. People saw it as a sign from God and so with the permission of the landowner, Count von Lobkowitz Gallus Babelus, the chapel was built on the mountain top at the apparition site.  St. Mariahilf  a newer Chruch in Trutzhain has a modern version of the statue.

“How could he have shown his mercy more clearly than by taking on himself our condition? For our sake the Word of God became as grass….The incarnation teaches us how much God cares for us and what he thinks and feels about us…The smaller he became through his human nature the greater was his goodness; the more he lowered himself for me, the dearer he is to me.”   St. Bernard, O. Cist., Sermo 1, in Ephiphania Domini, 1 2: PL 133.



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

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Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

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Annunciation with Saints by Lorezo Venzian

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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.