Since the Word became flesh in assuming a true humanity, Christ's body wasfinite. Therefore the human face of Jesus can be portrayed; at the seventh ecumenicalcouncil (Nicaea II in 787) the Church recognized its representation in holy images to belegitimate.
At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus"we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see." Theindividual characteristics of Christ's body express the divine person of God's Son. He hasmade the features of his human body his own, to the point that they can be venerated whenportrayed in a holy image, for the believer "who venerates the icon is venerating in it theperson of the one depicted".
St. John the Baptist
is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent toprepare his way. "Prophet of the Most High", John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he isthe last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother's womb welcomes the comingof Christ, and rejoices in being "the friend of the bridegroom", whom he points out as "theLamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world". Going before Jesus "in the spirit andpower of Elijah", John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion,and through his martyrdom.
All generations will call me blessed
": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virginis intrinsic to Christian worship." The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with specialdevotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . Thisvery special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnateWord and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." Theliturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an"epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.4.
Patristic Commentary and Other Authorities
(Homilies on the Gospel of Luke 7.1):
Better men go o weaker men to give themsome advantage by their visits. Thus the Savior came to John to sanctify John's baptismJesus was in her womb, and he hastened to sanctify John, who was still in his own mother'swomb. but as soon as Mary spoke the word that the Son of God, in his mother's womb hadsupplied, "the infant leaped in joy." At that moment Jesus made his forerunner a prophet forthe first time.
St. Ephrem the Syrian
(Commentary on Tatian
s Diatesseron 1.30)
Moreover, that heexulted in the womb of his mother was not of himself, nor because of his five months, but sothat the divine gifts might show themselves in the barren one that was now carrying him. Itwas also so that the other womb, that of the Virgin, would know of the great gifts given toElizabeth, and that the two soils might believe in the seeds they had received through theword of Gabriel, cultivator of both grounds. Since John could not cry out in his exultation andrender witness to his Lord, his mother began to say, "You are blessed among women, andblessed is the fruit of your womb." Our Lord prepared his herald in a dead womb, to showthat he came after a dead Adam. He vivified Elizabeth's womb first, and then vivified the soulof Adam through his body.
Maximus of Turin
): Not yet born, already John prophesies, and while still in theenclosure of his mother's womb confesses the coming of Christ with movements of joy-since