“She was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18).
Reflection: Today we celebrate the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, chosen by God to be his own mother. In our day, we need Mary’s presence and example more than ever, because so many mothers are afraid to be mothers, and so many opinion-makers in our society have forgotten what motherhood really means.
Prayer: Mary, pray for all who are pregnant and afraid, especially those tempted to abort their child. Pray that they find new hope and strength to say “Yes” to God’s plan as you did. Amen.
When the Lord gave the command to take away the stone so that He could call Lazarus to walk out of his own grave, Lazarus’ sister Martha expressed a concern: “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Notice how we worry about small things when God is about to do great things. He works through us to end abortion, but we worry that we will lose friends; pastors worry that they will anger parishioners; politicians worry that they will lose votes; we all worry that there will be a stench. It’s time to stop limiting the power of God. As Mother Teresa said, let’s give God permission, so that He can work mightily through us to end abortion and bring about a Culture of Life.
Today is All Souls Day, when we commend to God all those who have died. I invite you to commend to God especially the souls of all babies who have been aborted. In his encyclical “The Gospel of Life” Pope John Paul II says this to the parents of aborted children: “To the Father and to his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child”. We exercise “sure hope” because we know that St. Paul wrote that God wants all to be saved. Baptism is the ordinary way to be born into God’s grace. But for those killed without baptism, we can still have sure hope. This weekend and always, let us entrust them to the Lord, who does not forget anyone that He creates, even when we do.
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One of the shortest and most powerful prayers we say, taught and used by Jesus Himself, is “Thy Will be done.” Union with the will of God is the heart of salvation and the essence of holiness. It is also the soul of the Culture of Life, where we do not pretend that human life is subject to our will. Rather, we welcome human life because it is God’s will to create and to entrust the lives of others to our care.
Not only accepting, but eagerly yearning for the will of God, causes us to serve the weak, and to work to see that human law reflects God’s will by protecting the vulnerable. Saying “thy will be done” also helps us avoid the temptation to throw life away when it is afflicted with illness.
In a few days we will celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like every Feast, it is a celebration of Jesus Christ. This feast shows us that because of her unique role as his mother, Mary received from Jesus a full share, body and soul, in his victory over death. The feast is a reminder that in Christ, we all will share resurrection of the body.
Mary has it now, because in the human family, which God decided to join, there can be no closer bond than mother and child. They belong together; their destinies are intertwined.
That is one of the central messages of the pro-life movement. To love and care for a mother necessarily means protecting, loving, and caring for her child. Mothers can never benefit from the destruction of their children.
One day, the Lord Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain, and was transfigured before their eyes. His clothes became as bright as the sun, Moses and Elijah were seen speaking with him about his upcoming passion, and the Father’s voice was heard declaring that he was his Son.
All this was a sign to those apostles that they should not be troubled by the events that would unfold. The betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus were to fulfill the Father’s plan for our salvation.
The Transfiguration is also a sign to us. Circumstances can make us forget that every human life is part of the Father’s plan, and that the glory of God is to be seen in every person, no matter how burdensome, unplanned, or ill that person may be.
In the first chapter of Luke, we read, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!’”
This is a marvelous encounter of two unborn children, one of whom was the Lord and the other the one who would announce Him to the world. Both of them had been specially announced and named by angels who appeared to their parents. Clearly, God gives us a calling before our birth, and is the One who prepares us for that calling. He has a relationship with children in the womb, and became one Himself. Why, then, should we be afraid to defend them and speak up for them?
The Fourth Commandment is “Honor thy father and mother.” The Lord worked through our parents to bring us into being; He asked for their collaboration, for their generosity, in bringing about a plan that He had decided on from all eternity – that we should exist to love and serve Him. This commandment points to the dignity of human procreation. It also points to the profound privilege and responsibility that parents have in being open to life and in being ready to protect the lives that God entrusts to their care. Those who claim a right to abortion are violating the fourth commandment. No parent is the owner of his or her children. God alone owns and rules human life, and He entrusts to parents the awesome gift of welcoming that life with joy.