“The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name.” (Isaiah 49:1)
John the Baptist is one of only a few Saints for whom we celebrate a birthday in the general calendar of the Church. Yet he did not wait for birth to begin his prophetic ministry. Already from Elizabeth’s womb John recognized Jesus in the womb of Mary. John was a prophet before he even had a voice to proclaim Jesus.
John the Baptist’s prenatal ministry is a strong pro-life statement for us. Psalm 139 speaks this beautifully, as if from John’s perspective: “Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb...My soul also you knew full well…when I was made in secret.” The angel of the Lord prophesied to Zechariah: “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15). How could we ever doubt the humanity of a child who is filled with the Holy Spirit, under the protection of God (cf. Psalm 71:6), and entrusted with a prophetic mission as part of God’s plan from the moment of his conception?
Each and every child is part of God’s plan. Each of us has dignity and worth from conception. If vocation begins in the womb, so does life.