incarnation

The Annunciation The Sanctity of Life in the Womb

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord is the The Incarnation of Jesus!

This is the most momentous day in the history of mankind!  God becomes man and dwells among us!  Yes! Dwells among us, in the womb of a virgin named Mary.  This is the day that the Lord has made!  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  This day makes Christmas possible!  Without the Incarnation Christmas isn’t!  Without the Incarnation Easter isn’t!

This feast day lends us wonderful opportunities to enrich our declaration that life begins at conception.  We spend much time ‘reinventing the wheel’, trying to teach this truth, when God with the cooperation of Mary has provided us with infinite opportunity to declare the truth.  We have succeeded in helping the world to secularize Christmas!  All the trimmings of Christmas have all but obliterated its meaning. For the majority of people Christmas is the trimmings and what is lost is the message of the sanctity of life expressed in the birth of Jesus.  The holiness of life gets trumped by emotions, good in themselves, but remaining very much surface deep.

Always, through its history the Church has had to revisit how it teaches, how it evangelizes, how it passes on the truth.  Now is the time to ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us in the celebration of this momentous event in its history.  Our world is crying out for the Incarnation! It is crying out for the acceptance that the womb is hallowed ground where God and man are at work!  How can we bring this Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord into centrality in our Church year!?  We are in a very different time in Church history than when the feast of Christmas was introduced into our Church calendar. The Day that God became man should not be a moveable feast!  To move this day around on the calendar is inadvertently cheapening the sanctity of life from conception to birth.   There would be no Lent if God did not become man and dwell amongst us!  He dwelt among us from the moment of his conception!  Yet we make the day that God became man into a moveable feast!  Life in the womb from the moment of conception is very cheap now!  There are contraceptives in school washrooms.  Girls of twelve years of age can decide to have an abortion. Woman in many parts of the world are forced to have abortions.

God made the event of his incarnation! Lent is man made and has grown from its roots of only 4 days, to about 3 weeks, then to the length it is now. It is a necessary part of the Church year.  The calendar of the Church Year is also man made and can meet the challenge of being renewed.

Always the Holy Spirit is calling the Church to new insights into the truths of our faith as each age presents new challenges and misconceptions.   All of us have been conceived.  Jesus went through every stage of development in his mother’s womb as each of us did.  He grew as a human from the moment that Mary said “Yes!”  He kicked, he sucked his thumb, he moved, each part of his anatomy developed – took shape. I would venture to say that many, many Catholics, many, many Christians of all ilks never think of this.  The rate of abortions and contraceptive consumption amongst Catholics would say that this is true. And God has given us the incarnation of his Son to be the ‘light’ in a very dark world.  Mary had to keep saying ‘Yes’ for nine long months from the first ‘yes’. Many thousands of people find it impossible to say “Yes” for nine months!  And yet they can emote when a baby is born!  We are a sadly confused people –  a weak people in need of facing the reality of Christmas.  It meant nine long months of pregnancy.  It meant a human being growing from tiny cells through every stage of development until birth.

God blessed, ratified human existence by honouring conception and a nine month gestation period.  It is sacred.  It is holy! The womb is holy ground!  The ‘sign’ that God gave is that a “young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, for God is with us.”  (Is. 10:10)  Let us exploit this sign for the good of mankind.  We say in the Acclamation of the Annunciation of the Lord: “The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we saw his glory” {Jn 1).  His glory was seen by Elizabeth and her son when Mary visited her.  Elizabeth recognized that Mary was carrying the Lord, God, in her womb.

“Nothing is impossible with God” (Lk 1:37}, and like Mary we are his servants, so let us ask him how he would like us to visit his people, so that they will come to realize the sanctity of life in the womb from the moment of conception. We do not move Christmas – so why move the Annunciation.  This is not a Feast to be moved but a Feast to move us!