Today we celebrate the International Day for the Unborn Child, which originally began in Argentina in 1998. The date – March 25 – is also the day that the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to ask her to become the mother of Jesus Christ. The moment that Mary gave her assent to God’s plan, uttering her fiat, is truly the moment that God became man.
Though Christ entered the world in a more visible way at the moment of His birth in Bethlehem, He had, in fact, already been present on earth for nine months. The incarnate God, having taken on the form of a tiny human embryo, humbly submitted Himself to the hidden process of biological development through which every human being passes, thus sanctifying the life of every child and every life from the moment of conception.
According to the inhuman philosophies of our present age, an unborn child can be aborted at any moment during the nine months of development – in New York, till the moment of delivery – and no crime or injustice would be committed. Those far-too-numerous people who call themselves “Christians,” and yet who support legal abortion, would do well to consider that had Christ become incarnate in our own age, He would not have been protected by our laws.
Since that first celebration of the International Day of the Unborn Child, the event has become a global phenomenon, in part thanks to Pope St. John Paul II’s enthusiastic support. In a letter to the organizers of the first ever, the saintly pope wrote: “With our sight on the now approaching Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, I express my best wishes that the celebration of ‘The Day of the Unborn Child’ will favor a positive choice in favor of life and the development of a culture in this direction which will assure the promotion of human dignity in every situation.”
My hope is that every person will use the International Day for the Unborn Child as an opportunity to raise greater awareness about the dignity of human life, to pray for an end to the violent crime against nascent life, for healing of those who have procured an abortion or encouraged or participated in one, for every life, without exception, to be cherished and loved, for all who tirelessly work to defend and serve life, and for our nation to become a genuine Culture of Life.
Please join me as well in praying this prayer on this International Day of the Unborn Child.
Dear Lord Jesus in the womb
of Blessed Virgin Mary,
before your birth You filled
the unborn Baptist
with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
Inspire us to see You
in every unborn child.
Grant us the perseverance
to defend vulnerable human life
from abortion, abandonment,
experimentation, and all violations.
Fill us with reverence for the moment
of your Incarnation in Nazareth
when the Word became flesh.