This feast day cannot really be separated from Christmas. We are now 9 months away Christmas Day. This Feast of 25th March honours the Miraculous Conception of Jesus within the body of Mary. It also honours Mary’s free acceptance of her role as the Mother of God. We rejoice with Mary and congratulate her.
Mothers have an extraordinary ability, more accurately a grace, to be able to evoke, encourage, console and challenge. We know this from our own experience. When things are running against us, whether it’s disappointment, frustration, worry, we tend to share them with our mothers. They seem to be able to help us put things in perspective and enable us to see things in a larger context.
In our faith tradition, Mary has a very prominent and powerful role. We think of the shrines throughout the world, Lourdes, Fatima and many many more. Here in Ireland, we have Our Lady’s Shrine just a few miles down the road in Knock.Today, we are frightened by the way in which the whole world seems to be grinding to a halt. This was the world that was so busy, life was bustling in huge population centres and today these places have grown silent and empty. While we abide by the restrictions which health services and government propose there is something more available to people of faith. Today we consecrate Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and pray to her as a mother who is on this Feast Day available to God’s plan and is listening to the human cry of our people here in Ireland and across the world.
There are times when we do everything within our power in a particular situation but realise our limitations. This is one such occasion. The whole world is affected by this pandemic. Death, disillusionment, disruption and worry have gripped our imagination.
Yet our faith tells us that this is God’s world and we believe that we are members of God’s family. He cares for us and hears our cry for help at this time. On this special feast of the Annunciation we consecrate our country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and ask her to intervene and protect us by containing and finding a cure for Covid-19.