• Sarah Raad


“The more you respond to His gentle pressure, the greater will be your freedom.” (Venerable Fulton Sheen).

Visitation (Rogier van der Weyden)

I have been thinking very much about the nine months that Christ – God the Son – spent inside the Blessed Virgin’s womb.

You see, I was very lucky to be blessed with four pregnancies in my life – three of which went full-term and resulted in the delivery of healthy babies – and I remember how those pregnancies felt.

With each pregnancy, time seemed to stand still and simultaneously speed ahead. I remember observing with fascination the changes in my body between one day and the next and googling the various developmental milestones of my unborn child, tracking them with my own body. One day the shirt would fit and the next it was too tight, yesterday I did not feel the baby move and from today onwards the movement is relentless and a necessary gauge of the baby’s health and happiness...

People speak about mothers having “baby-brain”. When we use this term, we mean that the mother is tired and distracted because of her unborn child, and this fatigue and distraction causes her to make silly mistakes because her mind is so focused on the miracle of life – and all its general associated discomforts – taking place inside her womb.

And I have thought often – during these last few days and weeks – of the “baby-brain” of the Blessed Virgin.

After all, Our Lady did not just have a baby growing inside her womb – she had GOD HIMSELF – Immaculately Conceived! And I wonder how much that Child transformed her soul as that Child was transforming her body…

For she was literally infused FULL of God during her conception and pregnancy – the Holy Spirit her spouse, the Father her Lord and the Son her Child – for where one member of the Trinity is so too are the others (though I have no way to explain this truth in mere human terms)…

Imagine Our Blessed Mother’s “baby brain”! Not only was there a child growing within her – changing her body physically and forever – but that child was GOD! She carried GOD INSIDE HER for nine whole months – PHYSICALLY and spiritually… After He was born, perhaps she could see the stretch marks on her belly or feel the ache in her back that was never the same again? Perhaps not? But there were surely changes… After all, she nursed Him with her own breasts and carried Him with her own arms, and that changes everything…

Spiritually she would never be the same after her FIAT, after her perfect acquiescence to the Holy Will of God. Imagine her perfect UNITY with God! Imagine how God changed her to suit Him after her PERFECT submission to His Holy Will…

Imagine how she was perceived by the wise! Saint Elizabeth saw it in her and we celebrate this vision in the second sacred mystery of the most holy Rosary, the Visitation… “At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!’” (Luke 1:39-56).

For Our Blessed Mother wrought change everywhere she went…

Venerable Fulton Sheen said, “Can you not see that if Christ willed Himself to be physically formed in her for nine months and be spiritually formed by her for 30 years it is to her that we must go to learn how we must have Christ formed in us?”

Sister Agnes of Jesus, who was the older sister of Saint Therese of Lisieux wrote to Saint Therese when the saint was only eleven years old and she said, “You must, darling, spare yourself nothing to make your soul a little heaven where the Child Jesus will want to dwell forever! Ah! May this gentle Child already be the King, the love of your heart. What is there on earth more delightful than Jesus? Jesus in His cradle. Jesus in Thérèse’s heart... sleeping among flowers! Adieu, darling. I love you. Your Agnes.”

And I reflect on this too… You see, Saint Therese made a place for the Infant Jesus in her heart as Our Blessed Mother made a place for Him in hers…

For as the Venerable Fulton Sheen said, “God walks into your soul with silent step. God comes to you more than you go to Him. Never will His coming be what you expect, and yet never will it disappoint. The more you respond to His gentle pressure, the greater will be your freedom.”

And so it is that I pray for the Grace to be like my Blessed Mother – open to the Holy Will of God – for I long for the greatness of the FREEDOM that this will bring!

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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