UNBORN WORD of the day


Unborn John the Baptist Bows Before Unborn Jesus, 14th Century, Timios Stavros Church, Pelendri Cyprus
December 7, 2012, 7:59 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus | Tags: , ,

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

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Timios Stavros Church

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Timios Stavros Church Wall Painting (Full)

Wall Mural

Unborn John the Baptist Bows Before Unborn Jesus   Church Wall Painting (detail)

In the central part of Cyprus, in the mountains of the Troodos range, some of the most important monuments of the history of Byzantine painting have survived. These are painted churches which have preserved to this day brilliant examples of various trends of Byzantine and post-Byzantine monumental art, from the 11th to the 19th century. The church of Timios Stavros is situated in a central area of the Troodos mountain range, at the south end of the village of Pelendri.

The original church was destroyed under unknown circumstances. Only the apse survived, which was incorporated in a new church of the same type, built at the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century. The main part of the church of Timios Stavros was decorated during the second half of the 14th century. At least two artists belonging to the same workshop were involved, together with their students. Many donors contributed towards this decoration complex. From these wall-paintings we can distinguish a group which follows the Palaiologan style developed in Constantinople during the 14th century.

“God has become a child, and so he wants first to be known and adored by a child…Thus the Infant-God is recognized and manifested, not by and angel, but by a child. So his first prophet is a child, just as shortly his first martyrs will be children.” Cardinal Bérulle (1575 -1629)

“I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.” Lk.10.21



The Visitation 1310, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
December 6, 2012, 12:31 am
Filed under: Advent, Pro-life, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

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

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

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The Visitation This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 304

Soon after the Virgin Mary learned of her miraculous conception of Jesus, she visited her kinswoman Elizabeth, who was also expecting a child, John the Baptist. This representation of their joyous meeting comes from the Dominican convent of Katharinenthal, in the Lake Constance region of present-day Switzerland.

Carved of walnut, with the original paint and gilding almost completely preserved, the figures of Mary and Elizabeth are each inset with crystal-covered cavities through which images of their infants may originally have been seen. The representation of the Visitation incorporating images of the unborn Christ and John the Baptist, found with some frequency in contemporary works from German-speaking lands, emphasizes the moment when, according to “The Golden Legend,” Saint John, being unable “to manifest his joy with his tongue,” leapt “with joy in his mother’s womb.” The Virgin tenderly places her hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder, while her cousin raises her arm to her breast in reference to her declaration, “Who am I, that the mother of the Lord should visit me?” (Luke 1:43).

Bishop Austin Vaughn (1927-2000), formerly Auxiliary Bishop of New York, who himself was arrested a number of times for prayerfully protesting in front of abortion facilities once wrote  in an article entitled The Catholic Duty to Be Pro – Life:  “It is not an accident, I think, that in the scriptures the first person, after Mary, who adored Jesus when He came into the world was St. John the Baptist….The second person who ever worshipped Jesus, after Mary, was an unborn baby, and I think God made it that way to tell us in our day and age the worth and importance of every individual right from the very beginning of life”.



Annunciation by Lorezo Venzian 1371,Gallerie dell’Accademia Venice, Italy
December 5, 2012, 11:48 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.



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

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

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Chapel of St. Leonard Nauders Austria

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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

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

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The Tretyakov Gallery

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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.



An Advent Tradition you may not have heard about.
November 20, 2012, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Advent, Christmas, How are we to honor Unborn Jesus, Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

Over the last number of years, we have found over 100 images of Christ in Mary’s womb from around the world. Recently, we discovered that 2 of these images are part of an Advent Tradition that surprised us. The St. Phillip Neri Institute in Berlin has a wonderful statue that a friend of theirs carved for them. It is a copy of a miraculous statue of “Maria Gravida”  that is in the Church of Maria Hilf Assumptio in Malta, Austria. This miraculous statue dates from around the 1400’s.

Maria Gravida (1400) Malta, Austria

Below are a few views of the statue of Maria Gravida at St. Phillip Neri Institute in Germany

 Maria Gravida

During Advent this Maria Gravida statue is placed on a pedestal in front of a blue curtain – behind the curtain is a Nativity scene. At Midnight on Christmas eve, the statue of Mary Pregnant is taken off the pedestal and the Nativity scene is unveiled.

Maria Gravida, December 24, Christmas Eve day

Nativity Scene, Christmas Eve Midnight

We have also discovered a similar tradition for the statue of Our Lady of Divine Hope in the Iglesia de San Martín Sevilla in Spain which we will highlight in a future post.



St. Theresa of the Child Jesus – Feast Day Oct. 1
September 22, 2012, 11:34 pm
Filed under: Incarnation, Saints, Unborn Jesus

 “I put myself on the side of childhood….I am, above all, on the side of the Infant God….”

Francois Mauriac
The Son of Man

 “…. I wondered what name I would be given in Carmel.
I knew there was a Sister Therese of Jesus; however, my
beautiful name of Therese could not be taken away from
me. All of a sudden, I thought of Little Jesus whom I
loved so much, and I said: ‘Oh! how happy I would be if
they called me Therese of the Child Jesus!’”

St. Therese of Lisieux,
Doctor of the Church
Story of a Soul   

On several occasions Christ counseled us to have a childlike faith, even going so far as to placing a child in front of His disciples, so that His teaching would have the sacred and personal imprint of a living child.

As it turned out, it was but a small ‘baby step’ for many saints, to move from childlike faith to devotion to the Christ Child. Examples abound, but for the sake of brevity, let’s mention three saints: Francis of Assisi (so drawn to the newborn baby Jesus, that he created a living nativity scene to supplement his personal devotion), Anthony of Padua (who held the Child Jesus in his arms) and Therese of the Child Jesus (“I cannot fear a God who made himself so small for me!”[LT 266])

The personal devotions of holy Christians to the Christ Child have multiplied a hundredfold to engulf Catholic communities and cultures throughout the world. For the purposes of this discussion, we take it as a given fact that devotion to the Christ Child is tenderly woven into the devotional fabric of the Church, that it is to be encouraged (while being in conformity “to the doctrine, legal discipline and norms of the Church”) and that each individual Christian can enter into it with confidence.

Which leads us to the Unborn Christ Child. The devotional step from adoring Christ lying in a manger, to contemplating Him lying in His mother’s womb is intellectually tiny, even though it may challenge the imagination slightly…

But why bother ourselves with a study of the Unborn Christ Child? John Paul II explains: “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.”  The nine month continuum, from Christ’s conception to His birth, is an exceptional time of grace for the world and humanity – of utmost significance to the Church generally, and to expecting mothers and unborn babies particularly.

Maria gravida – Institute of St. Philip Neri in Berlin



The Archangel Gabriel – HOW ARE WE TO HONOR UNBORN JESUS (AND ALL UNBORN BABIES MADE IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS)?

The Annunciation by Nicolas Poussin

How did the Archangel Gabriel honor unborn Jesus:

The Archangel Gabriel honors Unborn Jesus through the profound reverence with which he announces His entrance into the world (Lk 1:5-17, 26-38).

Gabriel was sent to a nobody, who had next to nothing, and who lived in the middle of nowhere. Or so it would seem. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” Why would an angel show such reverence towards a human being? Why would Gabriel, whom the bible tells us stands “in the presence of God” (Lk.1:19), speak in this way? He himself answers the question: because she had “found favor with God” (Lk.1:30).

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He also honors Unborn Jesus by the respect and adoration he shows the Unborn Word of God.

 “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 worshipped before the Tabernacle of the Word made flesh.” Ortus ChristiMother St. Paul

 

Like Gabriel we too can worship the Unborn Christ Child and show great reverence to his mother. We can also honor Unborn Jesus by the respect and reverence we give to each unborn baby made in His image and likeness and by the love and support we give to their mothers.



How are we to honor Unborn Jesus (and all unborn babies made in his image and likeness)?

Meeting of Mary and Elisabeth by Marx Reichlich, Austrian painter (b. 1460, Salzburg, d. 1520, Salzburg) Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Sunday was the feast of the birth of St. John the Baptist. In honor of St. John we are posting a short series entitled:

How are we to honor Unborn Jesus (and all unborn babies made in his image and likeness)?

There are countless ways to honor Christ Unborn. But one way to consider this question is to reflect on the eight people and one angel mentioned in the Gospels as particularly honoring Jesus during His 9 months in the womb. These 9 are: the Archangel Gabriel, Mary, Unborn John the Baptist, Elizabeth and Zechariah (John’s parents), Joseph and finally the 3 wise men.

We would like to start with 2 quotes about unborn John who stands in the place of all unborn babies – who in a sense is every unborn baby.

Cardinal Bérulle (1575 – 1629) wrote extensively on the Unborn Christ Child. Here he reflects on the Visitation when the unborn John the Baptist leaps with joy:

God has become a child, and so he wants first to be known and adored by a child, and this is one of the first emanations of the childhood of God, manifesting himself to the universe. God is a child, the world ignores, heaven adores, and a child is the first person in the universe to recognize and adore him, and he does so by the homage and secret operation of God himself, who wants to act upon children. He wants to honor himself as child by giving the first knowledge of himself to a child in the world, making him his prophet in the universe. Thus the Infant-God is recognized and manifested, not by and angel, but by a child. So his first prophet is a child, just as shortly his first martyrs will be children.”

Bishop Austin Vaughan (1927-2000), Auxiliary Bishop of New York, who was arrested many times for peacefully praying and protesting in front of abortion facilities, wrote an article called  “The Catholic Duty to be Pro-Life” in which he reflected:

“It is not an accident, I think, that in the Scriptures the first person, after Mary, who adored Jesus when he came into the world was St. John the Baptist…The second person who ever worshipped Jesus after Mary was an unborn baby and I think God made it that way to tell us in our day and age the worth and importance of every individual right from the very beginning of life.”



He comes in order to embrace creation anew
May 15, 2012, 6:45 pm
Filed under: John Paul II, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

Annunciation – as the Hunt of the Unicorn by Erfurt St. Severi (1470-80)

“The time for the fulfilment of this promise for mankind and for all creation arrived when Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit, became the Mother of the Son of God.

He is the firstborn of creation (cf. Col 1:15).

Everything created was eternally in him.

In coming to the world, he comes into what is his, as Saint John says (cf. Jn 1:11).

He comes in order to embrace creation anew, to begin the work of the world’s redemption, to restore to creation its original holiness and dignity.

He comes to make us see, by his very coming, the particular dignity which belongs to created nature.”

JOHN PAUL II   Address at the Liturgy of the Word  12 June 1999

Detail of Unborn Christ Child – Annunciation – as the Hunt of the Unicorn  by Erfurt St. Severi (1470-80)



The Visitation and Evangelization
April 30, 2012, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Unborn Jesus

Nördlingen. Stadtmuseum. Hochaltar, li. Flügel: Heimsuchun

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has  an interesting article entitled Three stories of Evangelization from the Gospels:

The scenes they choose to look at are  1. Mary Visits Elizabeth. (Lk 1: 39 – 56)  2. Jesus’ First Disciples (Jn 1: 19 – 50)  and  3. Jesus talks with a Samaritan Woman (Jn 4: 1 – 42)

Here is what they say about the Visitation:

In the story of the Visitation, Church tradition often refers to Mary as “the first missionary”. In this scripture, Mary has only just discovered that she is miraculously pregnant with a child who is the Son of God, and who will be the saviour king that her people have been waiting for. She visits Elizabeth, who is also expecting a child: the future John the Baptist. When Mary greets Elizabeth, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, and her unborn child leaps for joy because Jesus is present.

Mary brought with her the unborn Jesus, and the Good News that God had finally sent the Saviour. In a similar way, an evangelist brings with them something very precious: the good news of God’s love, an invitation to come to know Jesus personally, and the testimony of the saving power of Jesus. Just as Elizabeth and John the Baptist were filled with the Spirit and joy in the presence of Jesus, the Good News of Jesus Christ is the source of deep joy when it is received into the heart.

To read the whole article click here.



The Life of Jesus in the Womb: A Meditation and a Prayer
April 27, 2012, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Pro-life, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

There is a very worthwhile apostolate called One More Soul. On their website they describe themselves as “a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading the truth about the blessings of children and the harms of contraception.”

They have many outstanding pamphlets and  DVD’s on different subjects – chastity, infertility/fertility, contraception etc. Recently they came out with a pamphlet about the Unborn Christ Child.

The 12 page booklet entitled The Life of Jesus in the Womb – A Meditation and a Prayer by Kathleen Curren Sweeney is a loving and beautiful tribute to the pre-born Christ Child.  In this booklet, the author describes the ordinary growth that each child in the womb experiences but that Our Lord himself sanctified during those wonderful nine months. We see Christ being prepared for the work of Salvation. “The whole destiny of the world is held in your tiny form.” (p.4)

Throughout the booklet, Kathleen Sweeney has a prayerful love and understanding of the Pre-born Christ’s solidarity with all pre-born babies especially those who are most vulnerable today. This is a perfect pamphlet for Respect Life groups to order for their parishes. To order this booklet click here.

Kathleen Sweeney has worked for National Right to Life for many years.  In 2001, she began the master’s degree in theology at the John Paul II Institute and completed it in 2004.  Since then, she has been writing articles on the theology of marriage and family, bioethics and pro-life topics.  She is  now working only as a free-lance writer. An article she wrote on the Holy Family will be published by the Homiletic and Pastoral review this fall.


He has shown the strength of His Arm
April 12, 2012, 4:11 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

Unborn Christ with His arm outstretched

“But what is the meaning of the words (in the Magnificat) “He has shown the strength of His Arm”…Among the works of God, some are attributed to His hands and fingers, like the Heavens, “The Heavens are the works of thy hands” “I will behold the Heavens, the works of thy fingers.” Others are attributed to one of His fingers, “This is the finger of God,” like the wonders that He performed through Moses in Egypt. But the incomparable work of the Incarnation is attributed neither to the hands or fingers of God; it belongs to the arm of His divine might because it incomparably surpasses all the other works of His adorable majesty.”  The Admirable Heart of Mary by  St. John Eudes

So, Mother St. Paul reflects 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.

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 above)



From the first moment He resolved…
April 10, 2012, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Saints, Unborn Jesus

The Pregnancy of Mary

“All our tribulations were present to our merciful Saviour at the very first moment of His life and He resolved so firmly, ardently and steadfastly at that time to help us free ourselves from them and He so faithfully preserved this intention in His heart from the first to the last instant of His life, that all the most atrocious cruelties and tortures that wretched men, to whom Christ was so wonderfully good, caused Him to suffer while He was on earth, as well as all His prescience of the ingratitude, outrages and crimes with which we would repay His adorable mercy, were not capable of cooling even slightly the ardor and strength of His will to show mercy to mankind.”

The Admirable Heart of Mary by  St. John Eudes



“A Mystery similar to the one wrought in Mary’s womb”

Die Quinauer Madonna mit dem hl. Dorn von Eisenberg

“Now Jesus Christ, God and Man, enters into us and enacts a mystery similar to the one wrought in Mary’s womb….the Eucharist passes into our bodies and, uniting with us, prolongs, extends the Incarnation to each of us separately.

In becoming incarnate in the Virgin Mary, the Word had in view this incarnation in each one of us, this Communion with the individual soul; it was one of the ends for which He came into the world.

Communion is the perfect development, the full unfoldment of the Incarnation, as it is likewise the completion of the sublime sacrifice of Calvary, renewed each morning in the Mass….without Communion the Sacrifice would be incomplete. Thus the Body of Jesus Christ is united with our body, His Soul with our soul, and His Divinity hovers over both.”

St. Peter Julian Eymard Holy Communion



TEN BLESSINGS OF MARY AT THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD
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).



BIBLICAL PROPHETS AND SAINTS IN THE WOMB
January 24, 2012, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus

January 24 is the feast day of St. Francis de Sales. This week during the 39 anniversary of Roe vs Wade it would be good to reflect on God’s call from the womb.

There are many times in the Old and New Testament that Biblical figures were called by God or mentioned in the Bible while still in their mother’s womb. Here is a beautiful quote from St. Francis de Sales about this:

“God also appointed other favors for a small number of rare creatures who he would preserve from the peril of damnation, as is certain of S. John Baptist and very probable of Jeremias and some others, whom the Divine providence seized upon in their mother’s womb, and thereupon established them in the perpetuity of his grace, that they might remain firm in his love, though subject to checks and venial sins, which are contrary to the perfection of love though not to love itself…” Treatise on the Love of God : St. Francis de Sales, (1567-1622)

Here are the prophets that St. Francis was referring to:

Isaiah

“And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength)” (Isaiah 49:5)

Jeramiah

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

John the Baptist

“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)

Two other great men who were called from their mother’s womb but probably don’t quite fit St. Francis’ description:

Samson

“Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, ‘A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.’ But he said to me, `Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’” (Judges 13:6-7, see also Judges 16:17)

Paul

But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased…” (Galatians 1:15)

Jacob and Esau are also mentioned as wrestling in their mother’s womb

“Isaac entreated the LORD on behalf of his wife, since she was sterile. The LORD heard his entreaty, and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children in her womb jostled each other so much that she exclaimed, ‘If this is to be so, what good will it do me!’

She went to consult the LORD, and he answered her: ‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples are quarreling while still within you; But one shall surpass the other, and the older shall serve the younger.’

When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb.” Genesis 25: 22-24

And of course the most important unborn person in the Bible – Preborn Jesus.