UNBORN WORD of the day


Beautiful in the womb

5315743658_0969b728da_z

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

Visitation in book11

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

CRW_3649

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

Indianpolis artmuseum

Indianapolis Museum of Art

rizidreamspanish1665indianapolisjhfortunegall

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

678px-Birnau_2004-02

Die Wallfahrtskirche Birnau (The Pilgrimage Church of Birnau)

800px-Birnau_2005_innen

800px-Birnau_Decke

Apokalypse Maria-Ekklesia (Presbyteriu Deckenfresko)

4062928_m0msw618h353q75v104_69344O5G

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

bogen05

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

bogen06

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

a16354c045

Pregnant Madonna

Bogenberg1

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.

bogen_1120q

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

4327590-Town_hall_GoslarGoslar Town Hall

goslar_huld4_800

Gosler Town Hall Interior

Goslar_Huldigungssaal_D03

Goslar_Huldigungssaal_D11

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