It’s March 25th… ARSH Day! But, a liturgical pickle. The Feast of the Annunciation is deferred this year. What to do?

March 25th is the fixed date of the great Feast of the Annunciation… BUT since March 25th falls inside Holy Week this year, Holy Mother Church defers the Great Feast to the first day outside of Eastertide, which is Monday, April 8th this year. Why? Well, to be frank, so that we are not deprived of celebrating the literal pivot point of history: When Our Lady, in full freedom, said, “Yes” to God, and The Second Person of the Triune Godhead incarnated in her womb. A fascinating question in speculative theology is what God would have done had Our Lady not given her Fiat. This is NOT an heretical question. In fact, to argue that she HAD to say “yes”, and thus had no exercise of free will in the matter is the heresy. The fact that she was given the choice, and had the agency to choose, is the entire point. Her free choice to say “yes” undid the free choice of Eve to disobey God’s command. But BOTH women were free of Original Sin when presented with their respective choices. Eve was created from the side of Adam free from Original Sin, and yet fell. Our Lady was conceived without the stain of Original Sin by virtue of Our Lord’s Passion and death on the Cross reaching backwards through time to prevent her, and ONLY her after The Fall, to be conceived without the stain of Original Sin, but Our Lady was still FREE to choose. She was also, it must be remembered, FULL of Grace. Love MUST be free, by definition. Love and coercion cannot coexist. So, had Our Lady said “no”, would God have written off humanity and annihilated the world simply on the rationale that if the woman intended to be His highest created being refused to cooperate and thus the Trinity would end “the human project” and delight in the quintillions of angels, OR would He have found another way? This is a completely speculative question, the answer to which God only knows, and none of us need spend excessive amounts of time worrying about. All we need to know is that she said, “Fiat” and that as a result of her “Yes” we are redeemed by the Passion, death and Resurrection of Christ and can be saved, and she is therefore the Co-redemptrix by her freely-chosen Fiat.

Even when this Annunciation-in-Holy-Week dynamic happens, the Christian world used to always hold March 25th as the first day of the New Year. My essay on this in the context of explaining the florid historical Latin acronym “ARSH” that I use on all of my dates is thus an annual tradition on March 25th, not a little bit because I still regularly get emails asking what ARSH stands for, even though there is a dedicated link to the essay in the Menu Bar, as well as the FAQs page. Also, because I have noticed over the years that the ARSH acronym absolutely drives malevolent actors completely, one might even say diabolically, crazy. As in full-blown spittle-flecked nutty. So, I watch and note VERY carefully who rages and throws fits about my use of ARSH, because only someone who is seriously morally deranged and a servant of evil could possibly be offended by the words, “In the Year of the Reparation of Human Salvation” in historical Latin acronym usage (see examples below). Only an enemy of Christ, witting or unwitting, could possibly have a problem, much less be driven to rage, by something so incomprehensibly beautiful as the Incarnation of The Lord, of which no human words could ever be sufficient in praise. If there were something more florid than ARSH, I would use it.

So, here is the essay, which is, according to some, rock-solid proof of my spectacular, deranged evil, even though we defer the celebration of the Feast until after Eastertide. You be the judge. And remember, the ARSH party this year is Monday, April 8th. –AB ’24

The abbreviated date prefix ARSH stands for:


This means, “in the Year of the Reparation of Human Salvation”.

There are several forms of this wonderfully and beautifully Christian prefix to dates.  The most common, which we are all familiar with, is “A.D.”, which of course stands for “Anno Domini”, which means, “the Year of The Lord”.  BUT, there are actually FIVE more forms which one sees in documents, books, plaques and inscriptions:

A.S. = Anno Salutae = “The Year of Salvation”

A.N.S. = Anno Nostrae Salutis = “The Year of Our Salvation”

A.S.H. = Anno Salutis Humanae = “The Year of Human Salvation”

A.R.S. = Anno Reparatae Salutis = “The Year of Salvation Accomplished/Reparated”

And finally, the most florid and most glorious:

A.R.S.H. = Anno Reparatae Salutis Humanae = “The Year of the Reparation of Human Salvation”

This “moment zero” from which all dates are counted is, of course, the Annunciation, when Our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, became incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary at her words, “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum,” that is, “Be it done to me according to thy word.” This is why up until not too terribly long ago in Christendom, March 25, NOT January 1, marked the beginning of a new year, and was when the date rolled over.  Hence, March 24, ARSH 1514 was followed the next day by March 25, ARSH 1515.

This event is so massively incomprehensible in its infinite love for mankind that we bend the knee TWICE at Mass when it is mentioned:  the first instance is when the Creed is recited.  All should kneel at the words, “Et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto ex María Vírgine: Et homo factus est,” that is in English, “And became incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary: and was made man.”

The second instance is at the Last Gospel, the first fourteen verses of St. John’s Gospel, which is recited at the end of almost every Mass, all genuflect at the words, “Et Verbum caro factum est,” which is, “And the Word was made flesh.”

And so, years and years ago, in fact, when I was sixteen years old and got my first checking account, I started always putting “A.D.” beside the date when I wrote checks, just as a little way of working a witness to the Incarnation into daily life.  Later, when I launched, I asked my website developer to write into the code that all timestamps would include “A.D.”  THEN, over  a decade ago, after visiting Rome on pilgrimage, the abbreviation ARSH was suggested to me as the “ultimate” date prefix.  I was sold, because with me, it’s “go big or go home”.  And there are no words adequate to declare the awesome loving miracle of God incarnating as Man so that we might be saved.

I find it a strange compliment that 1958 sedevacantists and Trad Inc. partisans most especially, seem to think that the pinnacle and proof of my evil and stupidity is my little revival of the use of a beautiful Latin abbreviation for the pivot point of Salvation History when the Blessed Virgin Mary by her freely-chosen “Fiat” became the Mother of God and Co-redemptrix, by which all of mankind, including atheists, Communists, Jews and musloids, all measure time.

It’s… odd.

Here are some pics of ARSH used in various places:

Cover page of a 17th century doctoral dissertation in Canon Law from Salzburg, Austria. Not ridiculous.

An inscription from Naples, Italy.  Not ridiculous.

From a Hungarian text. Not ridiculous.
From a French text, in fact explaining Latin abbreviations. Not ridiculous.
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