Monday, March 31, 2008

On the (Transferred) Feast of the Annunciation

Today Roman Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation (since March 25th fell during Holy Week it was "trumped" by Easter preparation). The priest even said that one of his fellow priests calls the Annunciation the feast of the Incarnation (life begins at conception!). :) During the prayers of the faithful, I wanted to add an intention for all expectant mothers--that Our Dear Lady would give them a safe, happy, and healthy pregnancy and delivery. But most of the other intentions were for those who have died, those who are dying, those who may be dying, those who are sick, those who mourn for the dead. These prayers certainly aren't bad or frivolous. Indeed, death is an evil that entered the world with original sin. We are right to pray for comfort for those who mourn and strength for those who are dying. But in the beginning it was not so (Gen 2:17). I've never lost someone very close to me, but I will--everyone will. It is sad and painful to part with anyone the way death parts people. But death is not the end. It struck me during the prayers of the faithful that Christians especially, in the face of all the pain and suffering caused by death, are called to be heralds of the Gospel of Life--to proclaim that Christ conquered death! We are called to oppose this culture of death, directly and firmly. We need to argue against the ideologies that tell us to avoid death at all costs, to stay "forever young" (that is, physically young. There is nothing wrong with being young at heart (as Frank Sinatra said so aptly in the song.)!). We still have to pass through death, but because of Christ's sacrifice, we pass through death into Greater Life. In George MacDonald's book, The Golden Key, Mossy has a conversation with the Old Man of the Sea:
"You have tasted of death now," said the Old Man. "Is it good?" "It is good," said Mossy. "It is better than life." "No," said the Old Man, "it is only more life."
It is more life because of Christ. And what about all the life we have already?! I know of at least 10 babies who have been born or will be born just this year. If I counted, I'll bet I could come up with at least 100 babies that I know (personally) who have been born in the last 5 years. That's a lot of children. Lots of beautiful children.. Which brings me to another thought. T and I are expecting. No (no), we're not pregnant. Not physically. But we are pregnant with the love God has given us, pregnant with the desire for new life. We are full of expectation and hope for the gift of a child. Our hearts swell at the chance to be parents. Why don't more people feel that way about life? We are blessed with happy families and many (many!) wonderful friends who are just as excited as we are about procreation, but what about the world? What happened to the sense of wonder and awe at the gift of new life. I've heard of villages who would throw a celebration if a baby cow was born. How about an immortal human soul being created? Anyway, enough ranting. Praise God for His gift of sweet life and lovely love. Happy feast of the Annunciation!

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