Leon J. Podles :: DIALOGUE

A Discussion on Faith and Culture

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Ex ore infantium

November 16th, 2012 · 3 Comments

In researching the section on bridal mysticism for my new book, I have been looking at von Zinzendorf, founder of the Moravian brethren. Some of his ideas are odd, but the Moravians celebrated as sacred all aspects of  sexual life.

Von Zinzendorf, reflecting on the passage in Luke which says that John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb when she heard the voice of the God-Bearer, Mary,

“believed that this indicated that the spiritual life can begin in utero. In the Moravian communities, pregnant women received special guidance and instruction from old women. The pregnant Sisters held regular devotions that included hymns about the Christ child in Mary’s womb and at Mary’s breast. The devotions were for the embryos and infants as well as the mothers.”


“once a year, on July 2, there was a special festival for the pregnant women, the young mothers, and the suckling children all together. The babbling of the children was considered part of the liturgy and a reminder that Christ called for his followers to have the faith of children.”

(Craig Atwood, “The Union of Masculine and Feminne in Zinzendorfian Piety”)

Perhaps churches could have a blessing of pregnant mothers on the feast of the Annunciation.

Tags: abortion

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 cm // Nov 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    St. Therese’s mother witnessed that Therese sang in the womb in response to her mother’s singing. One mystic saw that John the Baptist received his anointing as the first priest of the New Testament in his encounter with Christ in the womb.

  • 2 Father Michael Koenig // Nov 17, 2012 at 10:25 am

    That’s a great icon! With all the exposure I’ve had to Greek culture and faith, I’ve never seen that particular one.

    Thanks for the information on the Moravians. I like some of their ideas and also like the idea of blessing pregnant women on the Feast of the Annunciation. You’ve given me a good idea for my parish.

  • 3 Mary // Nov 18, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    My grandson is six years old now. When my daughter was pregnant I accompanied her to the regularly scheduled ultrasounds. When the baby was not moving in the womb , most likely
    asleep ,the Ultrasound Technician would use a buzzer pressed on the abdomen which would startle and cause him to react.
    After he arrived and was sitting in a high chair during a family dinner ( at about nine months of age I believe) , I had the occasion to make a buzzing sound for whatever reason during the conversation. His eyes widened and he immediately began to cry. both my daughter and myself recognized this was the same sound that he endured in utero. So imho, it is not at all far fetched to believe that an infant in the womb would listen to and react to the singing and spriritual realities going on outside of it’s comfortable in utero environment.
    Lest we ever forget, this is a developing human being with a soul necessitating the love of God and man and not just a random cluster of cells scientifically termed “fetal life”.

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