Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Because of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Guest post by Allison Salerno
Tomorrow, nine months before Christmas, our Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation—the moment when God became Incarnate in the womb of an unmarried, virgin teenager. So important is this start to our Lord's life that the only time we Catholics bow when we recite the Nicene Creed is when we say "by the power of the Holy Spirit, [Jesus] was born of the Virgin Mary and became man."

Did Mary fully understand what she was agreeing to? Did she consider the risks? Did she imagine her pain at the eventual crucifixion of this baby? Did she foresee how her gift of yes would give humanity the possibility of eternal life? Pope St. Leo the Great, in his eloquent letter, details the consequences of Mary's fiat:

Lowliness is assumed by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.

Once, March 25 was a Holy Day of Obligation and the day was called the Feast of the Incarnation. The newer, vaguer name, with the removal of any obligation, diminishes its importance. Still, across the globe, Catholics are reclaiming the day.

In 1993 El Salvador became the first nation to make March 25 a secular holiday to commemorate the unborn. Other Latin American countries have followed suit, including Peru, Ecuador and Argentina. In 2001 the Dominican Republic approved the celebration, saying it is "appropriate and necessary to assign a day to the unborn child, for the purpose of encouraging reflection on the important role of a pregnant woman in the destiny of humanity, and the value of the human life she carries in her womb."

In an effort to highlight the significance of the Incarnation, since 2002 the Knights of Columbus have been calling March 25 " The Day of Prayer for the Unborn Child," to encourage Catholics to pray for an end to abortion. In Virginia last year, Sarah Harkins designed and made this lovely pro-life rosary.)

Conception is a hidden miracle. Abortion is a hidden evil.

If your local Knights of Columbus chapter is not sponsoring prayers for unborn children, pray the rosary in the morning for the safety of innocents now being nurtured in their mothers' wombs. Pray too, as Pope John Paul II asked: for all of us to find ways to support women in crisis pregnancies; provide counseling services, open our hearts and homes to "unwanted” and abandoned children, young people in difficulty, to the handicapped, and to those who have no one to care for them."

It's the least we can do for our Blessed Mother.