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.

  • Mary P.

    I heard a great suggestion this past Sunday while I was visiting my mother. The priest asked the congregation to imagine a child conceived on the Feast of the Assumption, just as Christ was conceived. We were to name "our child." This baby represented a child in danger of being aborted. We were to pray for this child, by the name we had given it, and pray for his or her parents, every day until Christmas. At that time, this priest (who promised to remind everyone to pray throughout this "pregnancy") was going to hold a baby shower to benefit the local pregnancy crisis center. I love it! "My baby" will be named Grace.

  • Sarah Harkins

    Thank you for mentioning my rosaries, Allison :) Great post! I've heard the greatest of Mary's virtues was her humility. In her humility, she was able to answer "Thy will be done." even though she didn't fully understand all that His will entailed for her life.

  • Daftpunkett

    this post really put the Feast of the Annunciation in perspective for me. growing up in a rather lax parish, this feast day was never really mentioned or celebrated. I don't really have any memory of its importance. You definitely gave some great suggestions to celebrate tomorrow. I also have to say that this really hit home since I'm twelve weeks pregnant. In the work place there is so little value for motherhood and the experience of being pregnant. It truly is an experience of accepting God's will and the suffering that accompanies it. When I get worked up about the logistics of raising a family (money, space, health insurance) I often turn it back to what Mary had to go through, humiliation, instability, danger, risk of being stoned to death. I realized the other day that most of my worries are so unfounded and are probably created from the the "you have to spend money to be a good mother". Thank you again, tomorrow will totally be a wonderful day of celebration!

  • newguy40

    Beautiful post, Allison. Although not a day of obligation I feel strongly drawn to attend mass tomorrow to celebrate this wonderful solemnity that really has such huge import to all of us.How important it is for us to say Yes to God when He asks us to act. How ready we need to be… how prepared for when He asks us something that challenges us. And, He will ask!Cheers!

  • Allison

    @Mary P. The practice you refer to I have seen mentioned as "spiritual adoption." You know, for some reason, I had not made that connection today. Thank you for your insights.

  • Moses

    I heard a priest said that when we said Amen when receiving the Eucharist, it is like we saying the words of the Virgin Mary, that is, "Be it done to me according to thy word." Or in another way…Let Your will be done in me.Moses