UNBORN WORD of the day


Mary’s 2nd Annunciation: “Woman Behold Your Son”
April 6, 2012, 7:33 am
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, John Paul II, Mary, The Incarnation

Painting of Virgin Mary, Croatia, Dalmatia, Dubrovnik, Rector’s Palace

The angel Gabriel’s words in Nazareth: “Hail, full of grace” (Lk 1,28) also cast light on the scene at Calvary. The Annunciation comes at the beginning, the Cross signals the fulfillment.

At the Annunciation, Mary gives human nature to the Son of God within her womb; at the foot of the Cross, she welcomes the whole of humanity within her heart in the person of John. She was Mother of God from the first moments of the Incarnation, and she became the Mother of humanity during the final moments of the life of her Son Jesus on earth.

She, who was without sin, on Calvary “experienced” within her own being the suffering of sin that her Son had taken upon himself to save humankind. At the foot of the Cross on which was dying the One whom she had conceived at the moment of her “yes” at the Annunciation, Mary received, as it were, a “second annunciation”: “Woman, behold, your son!” (Jn 19,26).

Message of the Holy Father John Paul II for the 18th World Youth Day (April 13, 2003)



“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



Place yourselves in the School of Mary this Holy Week
April 1, 2012, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Mary, Pope Benedict XVI

Mother of the Incarnate Word by Fr. William Hart McNichols

“So much can be gained by reflecting on the way Mary learned from Jesus!

From her very first “fiat”, through the long, ordinary years of the hidden life, as she brought up Jesus, or when at Cana in Galilee she asked for the first sign, or when finally on Calvary, by the Cross, she looked on Jesus, she “learned” him moment by moment.

Firstly in faith and then in her womb, she received the Body of Jesus and then gave birth to him. Day after day, enraptured, she adored him. She served him with solicitous love, singing the Magnificat in her heart.”

Address of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI , May 26, 2006



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).



The concerted attack on Conscience
February 2, 2012, 7:31 pm
Filed under: Pro-life, Religion

Stop the Birth Control Mandate Petition

My youngest daughter goes to a Catholic University on the east coast. I would not call this college a conservative Catholic institution. It is like many other Catholic institutions – some conservative and some liberal elements can be found there.

I also know quite a bit about health insurance  – so a couple of years ago I went through the health care plan that this college provides for its students. It took some digging – wading through the paperwork online etc. but I was happily surprised that the health plan they offered did not cover contraceptives. In fact I was overjoyed by this fact.

Recently, as  most of you have heard the Obama Administration (with the help of renegade Catholic Kathleen Sebilieus) has found a way to force Catholic institutions to cover contraceptives/many of which are also abortifacient – through the new health care legislation.

Our Bishops have asked us to pray and fast as well as to call our Legislators and other government officials to protest this attack on Catholics and the Catholic Church. Here is an article about this recent decision.

Catholic Bishop Blasts Obama Admin. for Contraception Mandate

This is just one more way that this administration is attacking religious institutions and people. Here are a couple of other decisions that have been made by this administration that directly attacks Christians.

Feb. 2011 – The Obama administration rescinded most of a federal regulations designed to protect those who refuse to provide care they find objectionable on moral or religious grounds.  Here is an article on this topic:

Pro-Life Groups Upset by Obama’s Weakening Conscience Rights

Another article on this decision at Life News. Obama Admin Weakens Protections for Pro-Life Medical Workers

September 2011 – “The Obama administration through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ceased funding for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) work with victims of sex slavery and trafficking. The USCCB had been granted this funding since 2006 and …A Washington Post investigation found that USCCB lost the grant competition despite having received higher scores of effectiveness than other grant competitors.” Why – because the USCCB did not refer those they helped to get abortion or contraception.

Here are 2 articles on this topic.

Obama Administration Puts Politics Before Trafficking Victims?

Anti-Catholic bias by Obama administration debated at House hearing

Finally I would recommend the following article that summarizes the attack by this adminstration on Catholics.

Obama turns his back on Catholics  by Michael Gerson



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.



Christ unborn – the first priest
January 18, 2012, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Papal Quotes, Quotes from Great Christians, Unborn Jesus

Iconic Monstrance, Our Lady of The Sign – Ark of Mercy at St. Stanislaus of Kostka Church, Chicago (Catholic New World/ Karen Callaway)

No sooner, in fact, “is the Word made flesh” (John, 1:14) than he shows Himself to the world vested with a priestly office, making to the Eternal Father an act of submission which will continue uninterruptedly as long as He lives: “When He cometh into the world he saith. . . ‘behold I come . . . to do Thy Will. (Heb. 10:5-7) This act He was to consummate admirably in the bloody Sacrifice of the Cross:  “It is in this will we are sanctified by the oblation of the Body of Jesus Christ once.” (Heb.10:10)  Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei #17

“Everyone is called to love God with their whole heart and soul and mind and strength and to love their neighbor out of love for God. But on the night, before he died, Jesus gave us two great gifts: the gift of himself in the Eucharist and the gift of the priesthood to continue his living presence in the Eucharist.

Without priests, we have no Jesus. Without priests, we have no absolution. Without priests, we cannot receive Holy Communion.

Just as God our Father prepared a worthy dwelling place for his Son in the immaculate womb of a virgin — so it is fitting that a priest prepares himself to take the place of Jesus, the Son of God, by freely choosing priestly celibacy. Marriage and procreation are miracles of God’s love by which men and women become his co-workers, to bring new life into the world. But Jesus has clearly spoken to something even greater than that, when he said that in heaven people neither marry nor are given in marriage but live like the angels; and that there are some who have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God.

Priestly celibacy is that gift which prepares for life in heaven. Jesus calls his priest to be his co-worker in the Church, to fill heaven with God’s children.”

Priestly celibacy: Sign of the charity of Christ  by Mother Teresa of Calcutta




What do I see in the Christmas Manger
December 26, 2011, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Christmas

Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst

WHAT DO I SEE IN THE CHRISTMAS MANGER?

When I kneel down and gaze upon Bethlehem’s Manger what do I see?

I see the Word of God“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jn 1:1  The Word is a Presence; a Revelatory Presence. We all listen, He speaks to me.

I see Life“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Jn 1:4 Life as ‘Source’; the Divine Life in union with human life – a New Creation offering Eternal Life.

I see Light“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.” Jn 1:5,9  A light ‘that enlightens’. And what speaks to the conscience and heart of a person more, and enlightens more, than the innocent mystery of a baby?

I see Power“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God…” Jn 1:12  John Paul II said that from the moment of the Incarnation, Creation “is permeated by the powers of the Redemption, powers which fill humanity and all creation” (DV #52).

I see humble Flesh“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” Jn 1:14  When we recall this mystery in the recitation of the Creed, we bow or kneel: “…and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” One with us.

I see the fullness of God“…full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” Jn 1:14  In this newborn baby we see the salvation of the world; a truth revealed and accomplished through grace, for our good, and to the glory of God!

I see Grace“And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace.” Jn 1:16  Grace like gentle life-giving rain, Grace like a river of living water, grace upon grace like an overflowing fountain; blessing human hearts with faith, hope and love.

All of this in the humble newborn baby lying here in His Manger; the fullness of the Incarnation – Divine redemptive powers issuing forth from His face, from His heart, from His tiny clenched fists as they open to the world!



Merry Christmas
December 25, 2011, 7:46 am
Filed under: Christmas, Saints

“…. if someone intends to build a house or a palace he must first consider whether it is to be a lodging for a vine dresser or peasant or if it is for a lord, since obviously he would use entirely different plans depending on the rank of the person who is to live there. Now the Eternal Father did just that when He built this world. He intended to create it for the Incarnation of His Son, the Eternal Word. The end or goal of His work was thus its beginning, for Divine Wisdom had foreseen from all eternity that His Word would assume our nature in coming to earth.”    St. Francis DeSales   Sermon for Christmas Midnight Mass

Morning Offering

O My God, please bless us as we contemplate the newborn Baby Jesus, all holy,  full of innocence, the Son of God. May we realize on this Christmas day, the absolute dignity of each human person who is “fearfully and wonderfully made” in Your  “image and likeness”.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The Great Nativity – Day 27
December 24, 2011, 12:12 am
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

Nativity by Master Francke

NINTH STATION

 As Mary and Joseph seek a place to stay they are perhaps surprised to find no place, except a manger. Regardless, the wondrous event occurs and God’s angels are present and shepherds are sent too, to behold the little Son of God, crying, blinking, arms and legs captured by gravity and flailing about, but finally completely at rest and at peace.

A MORNING OFFERING

O Lord, I am conscious of my many limitations and my helplessness. But in a way I am glad Lord because recognizing these makes me turn to You more often. Help me Lord in all things. I give my day to You as a little newborn might do.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The Great Nativity – Day 26
December 22, 2011, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

 

The Virgin and St. Joseph Refused Shelter in Bethlehem Jan Massys 1558

NINTH STATION

Jesus’ life is marked by uncertainty from the very moment of his birth. He is certainly accepted by the righteous, who echo Mary’s immediate and joyful “yes” (cf. Lk 1:38). But there is also, from the start, rejection on the part of a world which grows hostile and looks for the child in order “to destroy him” (Mt 2:13); a world which remains indifferent and unconcerned about the fulfilment of the mystery of this life entering the world: ‘there was no place for them in the inn’  (Lk 2:7). In this contrast between threats and insecurity on the one hand and the power of God’s gift on the other, there shines forth all the more clearly the glory which radiates from the house at Nazareth and from the manger at Bethlehem: this life which is born is salvation for all humanity (cf. Lk 2:11).”  John Paul II, Gospel of Life #33

“The stable at Bethlehem is the first place for solidarity with man: for one man’s solidarity with another and for all men’s with all men, especially with those for whom there is “no room at the inn” (cf. Lk 2:7), whose personal rights are refused recognition.” John Paul II , 24 December 1978

A MORNING OFFERING

O my Jesus, I offer You my day for the unborn who have been rejected by our world. There is no room for them at the inn today.  Like the unborn of our day, You and  Your mother were turned away when Your hour to be born had come. Thank You for sharing in their rejection.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The Great Nativity – Day 25
December 21, 2011, 11:13 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

NINTH STATION

“Patience is a twofold grace, that of waiting and that of suffering, both are a great aid to zeal. The Eternal Word’s zeal for the salvation of men had existed in all its perfection and all its fullness from all eternity, yet think how long He waited! When the conditions were changed and He had at length become incarnate, He still waited patiently for nine months,and after that He waited for thirty years! This was zeal, zeal in its perfection. Is my zeal tempered with patience?”    Mother St. Paul’s book Ortus Christi (published in 1921) .

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, grant me the grace of patience and zeal. Help me this Christmas to renew my intention to bring You to everyone I meet. May I look for ways to bring Your love to those in need. You came as a lovable child – may I learn to present your lovable face to others.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Sent by God to Bethlehem – Day 24
December 20, 2011, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Mother of Life – Nellie Edwards

 (click here to learn more about Nellie Edwards and her apostolate.)

EIGHTH STATION

“Now Mary’s Expectation was full of God, and therefore it was joyous. It had two intensities of joy in it: the intensity of created holiness thirsting for the sight of God; and the intensity of an earthly mother’s desire natural, simple, and human, but immensely sanctified to see the Face of her Babe, whom she knew to be God as well. ….Mary yearned for that earthly beatific Vision, the Face of the Incarnate God. She had doubtless intellectual visions, as mystics call them, of the beauty of the Sacred Humanity, before that night at Bethlehem. But these would rather increase the burning of her desire, than be a satisfaction to it…” Fr. Frederick W. Faber, D.D., Bethlehem

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, as Christmas approaches help me today to long to see your face. May everything I do today as I prepare for this wonderful feast be done with love. Help me choose to be cheerful even as I hurry through my day – cheerfulness that is rooted in the joy of the season.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Sent by God to Bethlehem – Day 23
December 19, 2011, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Advent, Evangelium Vitae, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Meister der Kahriye Cami Kirche -Mary and Joseph – The Census in Bethlehem

EIGHTH STATION

“Christmas is the feast of man. A human being is born. He is one of the millions and millions of people who have been born, are being born and will be born on earth. A human being, one item in the vast range of statistics. It as not without reason that Jesus came into the world when a census ‘was being held, when a Roman emperor wanted to know the number of subjects in his territory. A human being is an object to be counted, something considered under the aspect of quantity, one of many millions. Yet at the same time he is a single being, unique and unrepeatable. If we celebrate with such solemnity the birth of Jesus, it is to bear witness that every human being (is) somebody unique and unrepeatable.” Urbi et Orbi Message of His Holiness John Paul II Christmas 1978

A MORNING OFFERING

O my Jesus, thank you for coming into this world as a man, for choosing to belong to the human race. Thank you for showing us the true worth of each person. As we celebrate your birth, may our respect for each human life increase.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: Sent by God to Bethlehem – Day 22
December 18, 2011, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Artist . Brother Claude Lane, O.S.B Title The Dream of Joseph Location Mt. Angel Abbey, Oregon On one side Joseph is pictured as a traveler, his feet still in movement, and carrying a knapsack. The Angel is pictured on the other side.

EIGHTH STATION

God willed and Caesar decided a census would be a good idea. The timing was the absolute worst according to a human analysis, but Mary and Joseph were completely at peace as they realized that it was now very possible that Jesus would be borne in Bethlehem or on the way there. They accepted God’s will. They welcomed God’s intervention in their lives.

A MORNING OFFERING

Lord, as I begin this day I ask for Your help in accepting sudden or unforeseen events and in responding to them. Give me Your outlook on life O God. Help me to have Your peace and Your patience O Lord as I go through my day. God help me with every difficulty and decision today and every day.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The First Christian Family – Day 21
December 17, 2011, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

The Expectant Madonna with Saint Joseph, 15th century French, National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection

SEVENTH STATION

“The house at Nazareth was in very deed God’s Sanctuary, containing the Altar of Repose, where the Savior of the world was resting. Angels were in constant adoration before their King. The faithful consisted of Mary and Joseph, whose thought and conversation could be about nothing else but the Child Who was coming into the world.

And who shall measure the graces and blessings, which that Child was showering upon Mary and her faithful spouse, during those months of waiting and prayer and holy converse,while they planned and arranged with such care and minuteness, as parents are wont to do, every detail connected with the birth of the firstborn?” Mother St. Paul, Ortus Christi

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, help me to be open to the graces and blessings you want to shower on me this Advent season! Help me today to think often about your coming birth and to show a true Christmas spirit to those around me.



PRAYING THE WAY OF THE INCARNATION: The First Christian Family – Day 20
December 16, 2011, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Prayer, Unborn Jesus

Mary and Joseph carved by Jacques Bourgault

SEVENTH STATION

Here are 2 quotes form St. Thomas Aquinas about Christ’s  time in the womb.

“Mary and Joseph needed to be instructed concerning Christ’s birth before He was born, because it devolved on them to show reverence to the child conceived in the womb, and to serve Him even before He was born.”  Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Q. 36, Second Article, Reply to Obj. 2.

“But His first coming was unto the salvation of all, which is by faith that is of things not seen. And therefore it was fitting that His first coming should be hidden.” Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Q. 36, First Article, Reply to Obj. 3.

A MORNING OFFERING

O My Jesus, please instruct me on how to love my family, friends and those I meet today. Help me to see your hidden presence in those around me.