UNBORN WORD of the day


HOW ARE WE TO HONOR UNBORN JESUS (AND ALL UNBORN BABIES MADE IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS)? – CONSIDER THE MAGI

The Vision of the Magi oil on panel, Rogier van der Weyden 1399/1400 – 1464

The 3 wise men honored Unborn Jesus from afar by seeking Him and searching for Him, passionately and diligently, and by rejoicing in anticipation (Mt 2:1-10).

“Why did the Magi set off from afar to go to Bethlehem? The answer has to do with the mystery of the “star” which they saw “in the East” and which they recognized as the star of the “King of the Jews”, that is to say, the sign of the birth of the Messiah (cf. Mt 2: 2).” Pope Benedict XVI, Friday, 19 August 2005

“What amazes us each time when we listen to these words of the Magi is that they prostrated themselves before a simple baby in his mother’s arms, not in the setting of a royal palace but, on the contrary, in the poverty of a stable in Bethlehem (cf. Mt 2: 11).” Pope Benedict XVI, Saturday, 6 January 2007

Like the Magi, let us recognize that Christ came into the world as an unborn baby and a child.  The Vatican Council in Gaudium et Spes points out  “For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man”.  We honor our unborn and child King when we teach respect for each unborn child and pregnant mother by our example. As they fell down and worshipped – we should approach these little ones and their mothers with awe and respect no matter where we find them. As they offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child, we should offer our love, support, and financial assistance as needed.



HOW ARE WE TO HONOR UNBORN JESUS (AND ALL UNBORN BABIES MADE IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS)? – CONSIDER ST. JOSEPH
July 10, 2012, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Adoption, How are we to honor Unborn Jesus, Incarnation, Papal Quotes

The Dream of St. Joseph by Francisco Rizi  Indianapolis Museum of Art

After the dream (Mt. 1:20-24) Joseph honored Unborn Jesus by welcoming Him and His mother into his home, by his obedience to the angel of the Lord, his doing God’s will, and especially by loving Unborn Jesus as his own Son (Mt 1:.24).

When Joseph woke from sleep ‑ we read in Matthew ‑ he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him’ (Mt 1:24). In these few words there is everything. The whole description of Joseph’s life and the full characteristic of his holiness: ‘He did’. Joseph, the one we know from the Gospel, is a man of action.” Pope John Paul II, General Audience, March 19, 1980

Today, I want to direct our gaze toward the figure of St. Joseph… The one who gives the most importance to the putative father of Jesus is the Evangelist Matthew, emphasizing that thanks to him, the Child was legally introduced into the lineage of David fulfilling the Scriptures, in which the Messiah was prophesied as the ’son of David’.”  Pope Benedict, Angelus address, December 18, 2005

“Joseph’s adoption of Jesus is effected in the two acts with which the account (Mt 1:24 25) closes, and which are in fact its most essential elements. ‘He took his wife…. And he called his name Jesus.”  Cardinal Danielou, The Infancy Narratives

During the nine months the accumulation of grace upon him must have been beyond our powers of calculation. The company of Mary, the atmosphere of Jesus, the continual presence of the Incarnate God, and the fact of his own life being nothing but a series of ministries to the unborn Word, must have lifted him far above all other saints, and perchance all angels too….Our Lord’s Birth, and the sight of His Face, must have been to him like another sanctification.” From Bethlehem by Father Faber

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.

It pleased God to bring the beauty of human adoption into the heart of the Incarnation mystery. St. Joseph is a model for all those in the pro-life movement. He took unborn Jesus and Mary into his heart and life. He took care of them, saved them from disgrace and even death, supported them and helped them find shelter. Father Faber talks about the grace Joseph received in this ministry – think of all of the graces you receive in your ministry to the unborn and their mothers.




HOW ARE WE TO HONOR UNBORN JESUS (AND ALL UNBORN BABIES MADE IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS)? – CONSIDER ELIZABETH AND ZECHARIAH

Mary in the House of Elizabeth , Robert Anning Bell 1863-1933

Elizabeth honored Unborn Jesus by recognizing Him and then blessing Him and His mother (Lk 1:42-43,45). Zechariah honored Unborn Jesus by blessing Him, testifying to Him and rejoicing in His mission of Salvation (Lk 1:67-79). Elizabeth & Zechariah together honored Unborn Jesus by welcoming Him and His mother into their home for three months (Lk 1:56).

 “…We know nothing of what went on during those three months, but we may presume that things continued as they began. It is not likely that Elizabeth said her ‘Ave’ only once, and only once spoke of the honour she considered it to have the Mother of God in her house…. ”

“…And we must not forget the head of the household, Zachary. He, at any rate after the birth of his son, knew the secret too, for he spoke in his song of praise of the “Orient from on High (which) hath visited us.” (St Luke i. 78.) He had been ‘unable to speak,’ but Mary with her Son had been sojourning in his house, with the result that his doubts had all disappeared, and that he under stood already something of the ‘joy and gladness’ which Gabriel had promised should be his…”

From Mater Christi : meditations on Our Lady (1920). Mother St. Paul

We like Elizabeth and Zechariah should welcome Unborn Jesus with joy and faith – opening our hearts to the graces he wishes to give us. Our attitude towards all mothers and their unborn babies should also be open and joyous – we should welcome them into our lives and help them in their needs.

Mary in the House of Elizabeth , Robert Anning Bell 1863-1933



HOW ARE WE TO HONOR UNBORN JESUS (AND ALL UNBORN BABIES MADE IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS)? – CONSIDER JOHN THE BAPTIST

From Salzburg Cathedral exhibit Mary Expectant with Child November 25, 2006 – January 7, 2007

Unborn John honored Unborn Jesus by expressing joy at His Presence (Lk 1:44).

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.’ ” Luke 1: 41-44.

“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.

“… He (John) 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.

We can honor Unborn Jesus by our recognition of Christ’s love for the unborn and our joy in His incarnation as an unborn baby. We can also honor Unborn Jesus when we share the pro-life message joyfully and give witness to the sanctity of each unborn child made in the image and likeness of our Unborn Lord.

St. John the Baptist (pointing to Unborn Jesus)



HOW ARE WE TO HONOR UNBORN JESUS (AND ALL UNBORN BABIES MADE IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS)? – CONSIDER MARY
July 3, 2012, 10:49 pm
Filed under: How are we to honor Unborn Jesus, Incarnation, Mary, Pro-life

 

Annunciation Mosaic from Redemptoris Mater Chapel (Vatican)

Mary honored Unborn Jesus by accepting wholeheartedly the Plan and invitation of God to be mother to the Messiah/Savior and by then loving Him (Lk 1:38).

“In all these days, my gaze has necessarily focused on this depiction of the Annunciation of Mary (see above). What fascinated me is this: the Archangel Gabriel holds a scroll in his hand, which I believe is the symbol of Scripture, of the Word of God. And Mary is kneeling within the scroll; that is, she lives her whole life in the Word of God. It is as though she were steeped in the Word. Thus, all her thoughts, her will and her actions are imbued with and formed by the Word.

Since she herself dwells in the Word, she can also become the new “Dwelling Place” of the Word in the world.”

Pope Benedict XVI Redemptoris Mater Chapel Saturday, 11 March 2006

“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.”

Cardinal Berulle (1575-1629) – writing about Mary’s attitude in the hours and days after the Annunciation.

We can imitate Mary in honoring Unborn Jesus by living his word and welcoming Him into our lives and by loving Him with our whole heart, mind and will. We also honor Unborn Jesus when we welcome unborn children into our world by our witness to their sacredness and by giving loving help to their mothers.



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).

 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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.”



St. John Fisher – a model for the Fortnight of Freedom
June 22, 2012, 11:42 am
Filed under: Prayer, Quotes from Great Christians, Saints

Three prayer cards for Fortnight for Freedom from USCCB.  To download 3 cards click here and here and here.

The Bishops of the U.S. are asking us to join them in prayer for our country in a campaign called the Fortnight of Freedom.

“The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayerstudycatechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.” From the USSCB Website.

We would like to encourage everyone to get involved. Pray, fast, call your representatives in Washington to let them know how you feel about this issue.

It is interesting to note that this fortnight of freedom began on  July 21 the vigil of the feast day for both St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher who  were martyred for their faith. They were martyred because they would not accept the decrees of Henry the Eighth who in order to marry Anne Boleyn made himself head of the Church of England. Neither of these men would accede to his decrees and both went to their death rather than compromise their faith. Like them we are slowly but surely facing an uphill battle for our faith today. They are models for our us.

Many people have heard about St. Thomas More – but Bishop, St. John Fisher is less well known. One of my favorite observations about St. John Fisher was made by  the inspirational Father Vincent McNabb in his biography about St. John Fisher, published in 1935. He writes:

“In reading the authentic records of how the Bishop (St. John Fisher) bore himself in his bishopric we are perhaps surprised to find him praised for qualities which might be expected of any good bishop. But as there are times of general moral depression when the average layman’s practice of the ten commandments demands heroic virtue, so there are circumstances when a bishop’s fidelity to the ordinary duties of his office argues the saint.”

It seems to us that many of the 10 commandments are at the forefront of our society’s most grave battles – moral battles about the dignity and value of human life and marriage. We can see that the 10 commandments were a divine gift intended to elevate human living and direct it towards God and virtue. So today, for believers to live according to the 10 commandments, in this time of moral crisis, is no small accomplishment. Let us encourage each other continually to meet this challenge of our time, seeking opportunities to lift up these and other noble moral principles which point towards the Culture of Life. And let us pray for our families and our children an join our Bishops in this Fortnight of Freedom.



A Heart on Fire by Fr. James Kubicki
June 16, 2012, 6:15 pm
Filed under: Prayer, Quotes from Great Christians, Sacred Heart

To learn more or order click here.

June 15 was the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We are featuring a quote from Father James Kubicki, S.J – National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.

“St. Augustine and other Fathers of the Church liked to say that Mary first received the Word into her Immaculate Heart and then conceived the Word in her womb. In this new person were joined two natures – human and divine. The loving union of God with humanity had begun in a new and wonderful way, making possible every person’s union with God. He took flesh so that he could give his flesh to save humanity and to unite his flesh with ours. The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) states, “By his incarnation, he, the Son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man” (LG, 22).

Cell by cell, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, now uniting himself to our nature and our flesh, began to develop in the womb of his mother. Within 21 days his first organ appeared. His tiny physical heart began to beat under the heart of his mother. Over nine months he grew and developed as every baby does until at last he was born….His entire life on earth was a revelation of the love of God…

Father James Kubicki, S.J.  has a wonderful new book entitled  A Heart on Fire – Rediscovering Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Father Kubicki is an extraordinary priest who is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and television – he is also a popular conference speaker, parish mission speaker and  retreat director. Father Kubicki has been a great friend to our apostolate too – giving us support and encouragement.

A Heart on Fire is a book which will help rekindle devotion to the Sacred Heart – arguably the most important devotion for  all Christians.  Father Kubicki makes the Sacred Heart devotion understandable to the modern mind without downplaying its traditional beauty and power. This is an important book because understanding the love of Christ and its central role in our faith is what each Christian is truly striving to achieve. We highly recommend this book.

Mary with Unborn Jesus



St. Anthony and the Christ Child
June 12, 2012, 5:34 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Quotes from Great Christians, Saints

El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos), Saint Anthony of Padua, c. 1586, oil on canvas.  Museo nacional del Prado, Madrid

There is a story that St. Anthony was seen holding the Christ Child in his arms. Many images and statues of St. Anthony depict him holding the Christ Child. One variation of these images is of St. Anthony holding a Bible with the Christ Child on it. The most unusual one is El Greco’s St. Anthony. Here are 2 other images in this tradition.

 Perhaps this is because St. Anthony was also known as a great preacher – and especially for his knowledge of scripture. Following are 2 quotes from St. Anthony’s sermons which pertain to the Christ Child.

“The fruit of the bee is the Son of the Virgin. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb [Lk 1.42], it says; and Canticles 2: His fruit was sweet to my palate [Cant 2.3]. This fruit is sweet in its beginning, middle and end. It was sweet in the womb, sweet in the crib, sweet in the temple, sweet in Egypt, sweet in his Baptism, sweet in the desert, sweet in word, sweet in miracles, sweet on the ass, sweet in the scourging, sweet on the Cross, sweet in the tomb, sweet in hell and sweet in heaven. O sweet Jesus, what is more sweet than you are? ‘Jesu- the very thought is sweet…sweeter than honey far.’ ”

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Anthony of Padua

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son: and his name shall be called Emmanuel. [Is 7.14]

“…that is, God-with-us. This God is made a little child for us, is born for us today. There are many reasons why Christ is called a little child; and for briefness’ sake here is just one: if you hurt a child, make him cry… but then show him a flower, a rose or something like that, and after showing it give it to him- then he will not remember the hurt, he will put away his indignation and run to embrace you. In the same way, if you offend Christ by mortal sin, or inflict any kind of injury on him, but then offer him the flower of contrition or the rose of tearful confession (“Tears are the soul’s blood”), then he will not remember your offences, he will take away your guilt and run to embrace and kiss you.

 The Nativity of the Lord,  St. Anthony of Padua



UNBORN CHRIST AND CORPUS CHRISTI: THREE PARALLELS
June 10, 2012, 4:59 pm
Filed under: Incarnation, Mary, The Eucharist, The Incarnation

Annunciation Benedictine, Art Collections St. Lambrecht, Germany 18th Century, unknown artist from Styria

There are many parallels between Christ Unborn and Christ Eucharistic. Here we present just three biblically focused parallels in honor of Corpus Christi Sunday (Corpus Christi means ‘Body of Christ’).

1. The first parallel is between the words the Incarnate Christ spoke to His Father immediately upon entering the world (see Heb. 10.5-10), particularly: “Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me…Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God…’” Compare this to the “words of consecration” spoken by our Lord at the passover Last Supper; “This is my body which is given for you…”, followed by the words of offering He spoke in the Garden of Gethsemane; “Father….not my will, but thine, be done.” The same human body prepared for Christ, would be offered up by Him on the cross after being truly and sacramentally presented during the Passover by Christ Himself.

2. Understanding that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, unfolds the second parallel for us; see Rev 11.19 -12.2. Also, recall that both the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant and Mary had both been ‘overshadowed’ by the Holy Spirit. The 3 month visit of (pregnant) Mary to the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah a few miles west of Jerusalem, is actually prefigured in the Old Testament when the original Ark of the Old Covenant (containing Manna from Heaven) is brought by King David to the home of Obededom, located a few miles west of Jerusalem for 3 months (Sam 6.1-13). David dances for joy before the Ark, unborn John the Baptist leaps for joy before pregnant Mary. David says, “How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?” Elizabeth says, “…why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Note: The Manna was the bread which came down from heaven, and Jesus referred to that Manna years later when He proclaimed Himself to be the Bread of Life (Jn 6.31-35).

3. The third parallel occurs in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph enter Bethlehem with the Unborn Christ Child, to fulfill prophecies concerning the birth of the Messiah. The name “Bethlehem” means “house of bread”. Mary carries within her “the bread of life” – and this Unborn Jesus who is “the Bread of Life”, will be born here for us. He is the “the true bread from heaven” (Jn 6.32) sent into the world for our nourishment and Salvation!



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 2ND WOMAN, THE 2ND MOTHER, THE 2ND EVE
May 13, 2012, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, Mary, Mother of the Lord

Apokalypse Maria-Ekklesia Neubirnau am Bodensee,Presbyterium,Deckenfresko von Gottfried Bernhard Goz,  1749/50

Gen 2.23:

Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman…”

Gen 3.14-15:

The Lord God said to the serpent….“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal.”

Gen 3.20:

The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

Jn 2.4:

And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”

Jn 19.26-27:

When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, He said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”  And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Rev 12.1-17:

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun…she was with child…And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child…she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron……and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God…And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle…The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman…But the earth came to the help of the woman… and swallowed the river…Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.



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