God Is Pro-Choice
Tomorrow is April 8th. It is the 39th anniversary of Hank Aaron eclipsing Babe Ruth’s home run record, the 750th anniversary of the discovery of the incorrupt tongue of St. Anthony of Padua and it is also the Feast of the Annunciation – one of my absolute favorite feast days even though there are no gifts exchanged, eggs to hunt or cabbages boiled.
The Feast of the Annunciation of course, commemorates the visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary. It is usually celebrated on March 25th for obvious reasons but is moved to the first day after the Easter Octave when it falls during the week before or after Easter.
This is a pivotal moment in salvation history that is all to often overlooked. Mary is presented with a choice from God. Her response will determine whether all future generations are saved or not. (Not that she is actually presented with that little “by the way” mind you.) Mary made her choice and her choice saved mankind.
And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38
Beginning with Adam and Eve, God has never forced us to do anything. He graces us with free will and provides us with the ultimate incentive for the appropriate use of it.
Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son. How many of us would have said, “Yes”? I can think of a few days when my sons were growing up that it might have been better than 50/50 but I otherwise cannot honestly say that I could have done it. It should also be noted that Isaac assented as well. He was of an age that he could have taken out his father once he saw what was happening. So in a foreshadowing of the sacrifice on Calvary, the son Isaac carries the wood that his father Abraham will use for the sacrifice and in doing so, Abraham becomes the father of a nation and our father in faith. If Abraham says, “No… that’s it… I’m done” so are we.
Dozens of generations later, God again gives mankind a choice. This time he does not go to the head of a tribe. He does not seek a king or high priest. He seeks a young, single, humble girl. He gives her an unplanned pregnancy and a choice.
Our road to salvation is paved with the choices we make. We choose whether or not to fulfill our Mass obligations. We choose whether or not to follow the guidance of His Church. We choose whether or not to be faithful to our marriage covenants, responsible to our children and charitable to our neighbors. And while the future salvation of mankind may not completely rest in the balance, our personal salvation does. Every choice we make moves us closer or farther from God.
If you can get to Mass on Monday (not an obligation), great. Regardless, please make it a day of thanksgiving to Mary for the choice she made, a day when we renew our own commitment to be always mindful of the choices God hopes we’ll make and a day of prayer for those who struggle to make the right choices – especially when it concerns the lives of the unborn.
Happy Feast of the Annunciation!