During his homily on the Feast of the Annunciation, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel stressed that the Mother of God is the Protrectress of all mothers and warned that if abortions continue to take place in Romania ‘we will perish as a nation’.
‘If we, the Romanian people, continue with (performing) abortions, which sum up to millions from 1960 until present, we will perish as a nation. We are in a demographic decline,’ His Beatitude said Monday.
The Patriarch of Romania presided over the Divine Liturgy celebrated on the Annunciation of the Theotokos at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest.
Concelebrant for the Divine Liturgy was His Beatitude’s patriarchal auxiliary bishop Varlaam of Ploiesti, chief secretary of the Holy Synod.
March for Life
In his homily, the Patriarch referred to the March for Life, which ‘has become very popular’, being organized at the beginning of March for a few years.
‘Last Saturday we were very happy to see the March for Life taking place. The people taking part in this pro-life manifestation that shows support to pregnant women are mostly young people, but also old people.’
‘First of all the March for Life has a spiritual aspect, since abortion in Church canon law is called infanticide, but also has a social aspect, since fewer and fewer children are born,’ he said March 25.
The Theotokos helps pro-life activists
Patriarch Daniel spoke about the help offered by the Mother of God to all those who give birth to children and bring them up.
‘The Mother of God is a Protectress of women who give birth to children, who become mothers, a Protectress of the children’s parents, and a Protectress of childless families who adopt and bring up children.’
Every child is a potential Saint, the Patriarch noted. Children are ‘not only citizens of their earthly homeland, but also of the heavenly homeland.’
The Patriarch offered the example of Saint Gregory Palamas, celebrated on the Second Sunday of Great Lent, who is considered ‘the theologian of uncreated and unfading light and glory in the Kingdom of Heaven.’
‘Few know that this Saint was born in a well-believing family, and therefore the Church included not only him among the Saints, but also his father, mother and two sisters.’
‘So, from a three-child family, all three children became Saints, as well as their parents who gave birth to them.’
‘What a great blessing it is to give birth to humans, who through their pure living become Saints who intercede for us, for the entire Church, in the Kingdom of God and unto the glory of the Most Holy Trinity,’ His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel added.
The role played by the Theotokos in the economy of salvation
The Patriarch offered his reflections on the gospel reading from Luke 1:24-38, where Virgin Mary was announced by Gabriel the Archangel that she would become the Mother of the Son of God.
Mary’s answer, ‘I am the Lord’s servant’, means that the Holy Mother understood ‘her calling to become the Mother of the Son of God,’ the patriarch explained.
In the moment she said ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’, His Beatitude added, began the conception of our Saviour Jesus Christ, because Mary freely gave her consent.
Here we can observe how God respects man: ‘God does not want man to be a mere impersonal instrument, but wants him to be His co-worker in the work to save the world.’
In this context, the Patriarch noted that ‘God is almighty, but does not force anyone to live Him.’
‘He invites all, He proposes to them, but does not impose or force them. He knocks on the door and waits, and if the one who hears the calling opens the door, He enters, but does not break down doors, He does not force the will of anyone, He does not impose His salvation plan, but proposes it,’ Patriarch Daniel said.
With her behaviour in front of the Archangel, Virgin Mary showed that ‘she is humble, obedient and courageous at the same time.’
‘The Mother of God is the icon of the Church that receives, listens to and preaches Christ, showing Him as the Saviour of the world.’
‘In this great mystery we observe God’s merciful love. We notice how God works in favour to our salvation and invites us all to answer to His calling.’
From the Archangel’s salutation to the Theotokos, the Church ‘has learnt to address ‘Rejoice’ in a multitude of hymns, during nine feast days dedicated to the Mother of God throughout the ecclesiastical year.’
The Patriarch ended his speech by urging everyone to entreat the Mother of God, addressing her the ‘Rejoice’ salutation, especially by reading the Akathist Hymn.
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene