Hello everyone. One week left in Lent until Holy Week. How is it that time always seems to fly? I vividly remember Ash Wednesday like it was just yesterday. This spiritual “detour through the desert” is almost finished. Then we begin the glories of Easter. But wait, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Before we celebrate joy of the Resurrection Morn, we mourn our sins beneath the Cross of Our Lord.
On this Fourth Saturday of Lent, let us, using the words of the Stabat Mater Dolorosa, continue to contemplate the sorrowful face of our Blessed Mother.
“For the sins of His own nation
saw Him hang in desolation
till His spirit forth He sent.”
– Stabat Mater Dolorosa stanza 8
I chose this particular stanza of the Stabat Mater in a spirit of patriotism enkindled by yesterday’s Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom. My family and I– as Catholic Americans – were honored to visibly stand united with the USCCB at this event. This message for our moment in history is extremely urgent. Like in the times of Jesus, the secular government, by issuing edicts and mandates contrary to our Faith, endeavors to trample upon our consciences. A prime example can be found in the recent HHS mandate, which forces – without recourse to a conscience clause – all private and religious institutions to provide insurance which covers contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion inducing drugs for their employees and students without co-pay. As Americans, we have the choice to either use our freedom of speech – while we still have it – to collectively fight this evil, or we can stand back and collectively capitulate to it.
One thing which I find especially interesting about this particular stanza is how the language implies that just as the Blessed Mother bore witness to Christ’s Crucifixion, so too – as members of sinful nations – do we bear witness. There are several types of sins – original and actual, mortal and venial, sins of omission and sins of commission. There are also private and collective sins. Private sins are pretty much self-explanatory. They are the sins which we as individuals commit. There are also collective sins. These sins are often sins of omission committed by the general populace, such as turning a blind eye on the evils of the contraceptive mentality or the human-sacrifice of abortion. We know that Christ came and died for allof our sins, but even He says that there are still some sins which cry out to God for vengeance. Such are the collective sins committed by an indifferent populace.
Unless we wish to see “Him hang in desolation,” let us together use the freedoms guaranteed to us by the First Amendment to combat this new HHS Mandate. Let us not be indifferent to the “silent scream” of the unborn. Let us pray and stand up for religious freedom.