What a remarkable statement from a Catholic Bible, Your eyes could see my embryo. It is Psalm 139 which speaks of the omnipresence of God and God’s keen, detailed interest in each of its creatures, particularly those of His glory, all human persons. Psalm 139 begins with a litany of places where we are not beyond God’s presence: from the mountain to the depths of Sheol, to beyond the sea; we will find that God is always present to us. This presence of God is not limited to His mere physical appearance but includes His attention to the smallest detail of our lives and concerns.
We all begin as a single cell person, complete and unrepeatable from this start. Within the womb, a human person is generally described as an embryo or a fetus. There are more specific terms applied to describe the earliest form of an embryo, such as the single-cell stage referred to as the zygote, and later it grows through the blastocyst stage when the cell division is approaching cell differentiation. These and other stages are within the realm of being an embryo.
From about eight weeks onward, the nascent human person is referred to as having outgrown its embryo phase, having entered its fetal stage. The person will continue to grow as a fetus until birth when we recognize the person as in the infant stage.
A person in embryonic form is always a completed person, but has further to develop. It is similar to the five-year-old who is a completed person, but we anticipate more growth into other stages of life – as a teenager, as an adult, as a senior citizen, and in the aging, elderly stage.
It is imperative to remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, yesterday, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 It was Jesus before Annunciation, as a single cell zygote/embryo, and as a fetus. He was complete when He assumed humanity in the nascent single cell body. He was present then both physically as well as spiritually. Jesus spared nothing from His experience in human nature in His Passion and death. It is fair to say, but for the miraculous Incarnation in His assuming human nature, Jesus spared Himself nothing in human nature. It was His mission to redeem human nature, not just the adults, or only the children, or only the preborn. All, but for the Immaculate Conception and Jesus Himself, suffer from Original sin and have been conceived in sin.
Jesus took the form of an embryo, from single-cell onward. The embryo has no personal standing in law. The embryo is deemed as property whose ownership is being established mostly by way of case law. The first principle is that the parents own the embryo, but many parents abandoned persons in the embryonic form to the cryogenic company they worked with through the in vitro fertilization process. The cryogenic company in same cases have served as owners. Sometimes the terms of guardianship may have been applied, but the effect results in ownership stewardship. Are these decisions and actions over the person in the embryonic form any different than slavery? No, it is most certainly a form of slavery.
Jesus did not spurn the womb of a woman. Te Deum Prayer God sent His own Son, Jesus, in the same human nature as any sinner to be a sacrifice for sin and condemning sin in that human nature. Romans 8:3 Jesus accepted the sinful form of human nature. He assumed the nature and form of a human person from His single-cell Incarnation to His death on the Cross.
It is a natural development for a Catholic Bible to now honor the whole of Jesus’s sacrifice by recognizing the full condescension of His Incarnation along with His ignominious death. Jesus has affirmed God’s reach for redemption to all, including the smallest of all, those human persons in the form of the embryo.
Jesus, being in the form of God,
did not count equality with God
something to be grasped.
But He emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave
becoming as human beings are;
and being in every way
like a human being,
He was humbler yet,
even to accepting death,
death on a cross. Phil 2:6-8
What a mighty God we serve.
Psalm 139: 11-18 New Jerusalem Bible
I will say, ‘Let the darkness cover me,
and the night wrap itself around me,
even darkness to you is not dark,
and night is as clear as the day.
You created my inmost self,
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
For so many marvels I thank you;
a wonder am I,m and all your works are wonders.
You knew me through and through
my being held no secrets from you,
when I was being formed in secret,
textured in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes could see my embryo.
In your book all my days were inscribed,
every one that was fixed is there.
How hard for me to grasp your thoughts,
how many, God, there are!
If I count them, they are more than the grains of sand;
if I come to an end, I am still with you.
Peace of Jesus in the womb of Mary be with you.
© 2019 Patrick A. O’Donnell All Rights Reserved