March 25.  The Annunciation.  Justineshared some of her insights into the Annunciation with the youth at one of their sessions.   “Mary, a young girl, betrothed to be married, had her life completely turned upside down by the invitation she received through the angel Gabriel to be the mother of the Messiah. She rightly questioned the angel, asking how this could be possible, but her ‘yes’ to God was unconditional.   From that moment on she devoted her life to her Son.   

This was an unplanned pregnancy and at that time it would have been as problematical as it has been for many other young women until our day, as according to custom she could have been killed. Joseph also responded positively to God’s request in a dream, and accepted and treasured Mary as his wife and Jesus as his son. Unwed mothers in different cultures have had very difficult experiences, as was recently reported in Ireland where they and their babies were badly mistreated in institutions, because of the judgmental attitudes of the Church, the community and their families.”  Justine led a discussion amongst the youth asking, ”Is abortion too commonly chosen as a solution, and should other support for pregnant girls, women and their families be more available?  What about the rights of the unborn?  

Scripture.Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.” From Luke 1:26-382.

Pope Francis: The Church has been present for centuries throughout the world.  All things human are our concern wherever the councils of nations come together to establish the rights and duties of man, we are honoured to take our place among them. This journey of fraternity also has a Mother, whose name is Mary.  Having received universal motherhood at the foot of the cross she cares not only for Jesus but also for the rest of her children. She wants to give birth to a new world, where all of us are brothers and sisters.  FT 278.n At her side is St Joseph her husband who cared with tender devotion for the Holy Family as they too were exiles in Egypt.  LS 241  

St Francis and Mary.   St Francis chose Mary as the patroness and Queen of the Friars because of his great love for her, described as “inexpressible, for it was she who made the Lord of majesty our brother.”   Francis often reflected on her courage in accepting the challenges she had to face by responding, “Your will be done,” when asked as a young virgin to become the mother of the Son of God and accompanying him to his final Crucifixion.  Francis composed a litany of her special qualities and exhorted his friars always to possess a true and living devotion to her.

The Little Flowers of St Francis contains some accounts. Brother Peter witnessed how Brother Conrad implored the Virgin Mary to obtain from her Blessed Son that he might experience some of the sweetness which Simeon experienced on the day of the Purification when he held Jesus in his arms.  The Virgin Mary responded and as Queen of Heaven appeared in great splendour with her Blessed Son in her arms and approaching Brother Conrad placed the Holy Child in his arms.  He received him most reverently and clasped him to his breast, his heart overflowing and burning with divine love and consolation.

Reflect, share, act, pray. How can we and our family invite Mary into our families to help us support the right to life from birth until natural death for humans as well as support conservation projects in the wild?  Such causes often receive very little support.