We can rush to the side of those who, like Mary, are uncertain and afraid about their pregnancies

We can rush to the side of those who, like Mary, are uncertain and afraid about their pregnancies (Birmingham Museums Trust/Unsplash )

Mary had no idea she was special, that she had been chosen, until the angel Gabriel appeared to her with the surprising news that she would conceive and bear a son. Understandably, as Scripture tells us, “Mary was greatly troubled at his words.”

Her initial fear and uncertainty in the face of her unexpected pregnancy stemmed from the fact that she was a virgin, but it was not so much the circumstance of the conception she was worried about. She couldn’t imagine what people would think, how she would be treated, how the rest of her life would be impacted.

Her fears were not so different from every mother facing an unexpected pregnancy. It’s my hope, in this Advent season, that these mothers will prayerfully consider Mary and like her, find the courage to say yes to life.

After dropping this bombshell, Gabriel asks Mary to “Be not afraid.” That’s a tall order, but the archangel assured her that God had a plan and that with her cooperation, it would unfold for the good of the whole world.

Her “yes” to life – despite the obvious difficulties – led to the incarnation and birth of Jesus Christ. As members of the Church hear this story each Advent, they rush spiritually to the side of Mary, eagerly awaiting, with her, the birth of the Savior.

This story points the way to how believers can rush physically to the side of those in the community who, like Mary, are uncertain and afraid about their pregnancies. 

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We can accompany them through their pregnancy with support and encouragement, help them to say the "Yes" that leads to life, and experience with them the fact that every birth reflects the joy of the birth of Christ.

This is possible when the Church raises awareness of alternatives to abortion, and that there are many people ready to provide those alternatives. Through the preaching and teaching that the Church carries out among its own members, and through announcing this message to the wider community, the Church saves lives and enables parents to live their calling.

This can be done by cooperation with the many pregnancy resource centers which, across the nation, are daily providing counseling, encouragement, medical and legal services, and other material and spiritual assistance, to those who otherwise might have an abortion. 

Tweet This: We can accompany them through their pregnancy with support and encouragement, help them to say the "Yes" that leads to life.

Churches should publicize the "Option Line" which is a toll-free number (1-800-712-HELP) and a website (PregnancyCenters.org and in Spanish EstasEmbarazada.com) that leads people to the pregnancy centers nearest to where they live. Likewise, PregnancyDecisionLine.org is a resource churches can promote to help people online who are abortion minded to find the counseling needed to change their mind.

Churches also need to mobilize their own resources, calling upon medical and legal professionals within the congregation, as well as parishioners who may want to give of their time to be a friend to pregnant mothers or open their homes to give them a place to stay. 

In this way the Church can become the place of "first resort" for someone who is pregnant and afraid. It should be the Church, not the abortion mill, to which she first comes to knock on the door. 

To promote awareness and assistance, furthermore, many parishes have "Baby Showers" and "Spiritual Adoption Programs" of various formats, whereby the parishioners follow the development of a baby in the womb for nine months and then, at the conclusion, gather resources to give to local pregnancy centers to help mothers and fathers in need.

The birth of every child reflects the birth of Christ. Let there be joy in both. Let Advent and Christmas inspire us to rush to the side of all pregnant moms and say, "Be not afraid!"

Editor's note: This is a Pregnancy Help News original article. Janet Morana is the executive director of Priests for Life and the co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. She is the author of Recall Abortion; Shockwaves: Abortion’s Wider Circle of Victims and Everything You Need to Know About Abortion – For Teens. Heartbeat International manages Option Line and Pregnancy Help News.


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