Hidden in the Womb

The Basilica of the Visitation

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb. –Luke 1:41

We all started off our lives in our mothers’ wombs. We were hidden from the eyes of men, but we were very much alive.

When St. John the Baptist was in St. Elizabeth’s womb, he realized that the Son of God had come to his house. In other words, St. John exercised his mission as a prophet even before he was born.

Christ Himself also exercised His mission before birth. At the moment the Lord Jesus was conceived, God first lived with a human soul. At that moment, Christ made an act of submission to the Father. The act is perfectly expressed in the words of the fortieth Psalm:

I waited, waited for the LORD, who bent down and heard my cry, drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp, set my feet upon rock, steadied my steps, and put a new song in my mouth, a hymn to our God.

Happy those whose trust is the LORD, who turn not to idolatry or to those who stray after falsehood…

Sacrifice and offering you do not want; but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocausts and sin-offerings you do not require; so I said, “Here I am; your commands for me are written in the scroll. To do your will is my delight; my God, your law is in my heart!”

Our lives begin at the moment of conception. Life begins to unfold in the womb. St. John’s mission in life was to point out the Lamb of God. He began to fulfill this mission even before he was born. The Lord Jesus’ mission was to offer Himself completely to the Father, to sacrifice Himself for the redemption of the world. Christ accomplished His self-offering perfectly even while He was still hidden in Mary’s womb. His 33 years on earth were simply a matter of living out what He had already resolved to do.

Continue reading “Hidden in the Womb”

Woman on the Ticket

When I heard that there was going to be a woman on the Republican ticket, I thought to myself: This has been done before. And I am not talking about Geraldine Ferraro…

At the time of St. Augustine, there was a heresy which held that it was impossible for Christ to have been born of something so undignified as a woman. The idea was that it was beneath the dignity of God to gestate in the womb. “God would not associate Himself with a woman in that way. He would not submit Himself to a woman. He must have appeared on earth without being born.” This was the idea.

St. Augustine acknowledged that God could have become man without being born of a woman. He could have appeared as a full-grown man. But, in fact, He was born of the Virgin Mary. This must therefore be significant; He must be saying something to us by being born of a woman.

St. Augustine did not hesitate to speak for Christ. This is how the proto-feminist preacher put it:

“It is as though he made them a little speech and said: ‘To show you that it is not any creature of God’s that is bad…I made them male and female. I don’t reject and condemn any creature that I made. Here I am, born a man, born of a woman…Let each sex take note of its proper honor, and each confess its iniquity, and each hope for salvation.”

Now, there obviously is a point at which the analogy between Sarah Palin and the Blessed Mother fails. Someday, perhaps, Sarah Palin will be a candidate not for vice-president, but for president. (Now we’re talking about a woman president…) On the other hand, there is no female Christ. St. Augustine taught that it would have been impossible for God to become a woman. I am not sure why he taught this, but I am not about to contradict the man who is quoted in the Catechism more than any other mortal.

Regardless of this, though–whether or not it is hypothetically possible for God to have become a woman–the fact of the matter is that He became a man. This is why only a man can be a priest, because the priest takes the place of Christ at the Holy Mass. But the Blessed Virgin Mary was on the ticket first—before St. Peter, St. Paul, Pope Benedict, yours truly, or Sarah Palin.  The good Lord Himself put a woman on the ticket first.