Sunday, 21 December 2008

The Fourth Sunday of Advent and the World's Need of a Mother

I've been thinking for a few weeks now about the need for two Marian feasts to be made Holydays of Obligation in England and Wales. This is not a political statement - well, maybe it is, but we have the most anti-life government in anyone's living memory. Not only that, the President-Elect of the United States is apparently the most pro-abortion politician that has ever run for the presidency. The abortion rate shows no sign of slowing down - anywhere. Those who are pro-life, whether Christian, Jew or Moslem, seem powerless to bring about change, in spite of the fact that the anti-abortion arguments keep getting better and better.
We need something to make people realise that we are not giving up the fight and we need to make gestures that will be understood as statements of belief and intent. We need to "draw a line in the sand" if you like. We need to say, "this is what we believe and this is what we teach and preach". I believe that two feasts of Our Lady should be made Holydays of Obligation as a statement to all Catholics and to everyone else. These feasts are, the Immaculate Conception and The Annunciation. I don't think I need to say why.
If Catholics knew that these two feasts were linked with the sanctity of unborn life, I believe they would be encouraged to stand up for life against the preachers of death. It seems obvious to me (and I'm sure to others) that the feast of The Immaculate Conception should be a solemnity of obligation. The Feast of the Annunciation, which has a long history in Catholic England ("Lady Day") should also be a day of prayer and reparation focusing especially on the gift of life. Walsingham could become, even more than it already is, a shrine that openly and loudly proclaims the sanctity of human life.
I'm sure some people will think this is too much or that it is pious drivel, but it seems to me that we need Our Lady more and more today - and the world needs her. The Catholic Church should be leading others into a deeper understanding of her importance and a greater appreciation of her role. We need something-or someone- to unite us in a special way in the cause of life. Personally I can think of no better way to combine prayer and action than by raising up these two Marian feasts.

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