By Kathleen Curran Sweeney
We are immersed in a culture of images and the external
appearance of things. Too seldom are we asked to contemplate
the inner reality, the inner being of what we see.
In the following meditation, we are asked to reflect on
how Jesus Christ, for whom and in whom all the world is created,
took on both the external appearance and the inner reality of a
developing human person, from the moment he is conceived by
the Holy Spirit to the day of his birth. We are not accustomed
to seeing him thus, because this development is hidden within
the protective womb of Mary. But today’s technology allows us
to pull aside the veil surrounding this early development of the
child. Photography and ultrasound imagery allows us to see the
physical appearance of the child and the science of embryology
and fetology provides us with the intricate and amazing details of
the child’s development.
“The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my
mother he named my name.” (Isaiah 49:1)
The humility of the Son of God in submitting his
personhood to this development bestows an infinite dignity on
this bodily phenomenon. Every preborn child shares in this
dignity and is called to union with Christ, even to receiving into his
body the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ.
Christ’s external appearance is not always attractive to
the eye. There was the time in his life that, “He had no form or
comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we
should desire him.” (Isaiah 53: 2). Yet the inner reality of the
divine-human Person is such a brilliant beauty that our eyes are
not strong enough to behold it. In his condescension, he has
hidden himself in the simplicity of the Eucharistic Host.