Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord

Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Annunciation (1655)
 Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord, one of the greatest feasts on the Catholic liturgical calendar. (In some countries today is a holy day of obligation.) Today we celebrate the awesome and stupendous mystery of the Incarnation of the Eternal Son of God in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the sake of our salvation from sin. This great mystery, the fact that God freely chose to become one of us, is the foundation of our Christian faith. A mystery indeed worth pondering. In his infinite wisdom, God does not usually manifest his power in our history through "shock and awe," but rather He acts in silence and hiddenness. Here are two quotes from Pope Francis, reflecting on the mystery of the Annunciation and of Mary's divine maternity:

“The Lord has always taken care of the mystery and has covered the mystery. He did not advertise the mystery. A mystery that advertises itself is not Christian, it is not the mystery of God: it is a fake mystery! And this is what happened to Our Lady here, when she receives her Son: the mystery of Her virginal maternity is concealed. It is concealed for Her whole life! This shadow of God, in our life, helps us to discover our mystery, our mystery of the meeting with the Lord, our mystery of the path of life with the Lord.”

"The Mother of the Redeemer goes before us and continually strengthens us in faith, in our vocation and in our mission. By her example of humility and openness to God’s will she helps us to transmit our faith in a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to all, without reservation. In this way our mission will be fruitful, because it is modeled on the motherhood of Mary. To her let us entrust our journey of faith, the desires of our heart, our needs and the needs of the whole world, especially of those who hunger and thirst for justice and peace, and for God."

May we strive, with the help of God's grace, to imitate Mary's humility and obedience to God's Will, which leads to true freedom.

Speaking of freedom, today the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing the case brought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood against the Obama administration's HHS mandate, which forces business leaders to provide their employees with health insurance coverage that includes abortifacients, artificial contraception and sterilization procedures under penalty of gigantic fines. I am proud to stand with David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, and with the owners of Conestoga Wood in their refusal to comply with this unjust and immoral law. Business owners must have the freedom to act in accordance with the natural moral law when making healthcare decisions for their employees. Refusing to provide abortion-inducing drugs, artificial contraceptives, and sterilizations will not endanger anyone's health. Forcing businesses to provide these items under the mantle of "health insurance" represents a direct attack on the natural law and on the human right to act in accordance with that law. Furthermore, the HHS mandate violates our Constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and freedom to refuse to purchase unwanted or unnecessary products.

So much is at stake here. Let us pray to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of these United States, that the Supreme Court will render a just decision on behalf of the plaintiffs--a decision that will uphold God's law, our Constitution, and our inalienable rights.

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