Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, March 25
Are We Able to Surrender Our Own Sense of Self So That God’s Will May Be Fulfilled Through Us, Imitating the Humble Nature of Our Blessed Mother and Her Unquestioning Trust in God?
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” – words which we read in today’s Gospel, words which speak of Mary’s humble obedience and faithful assent to the will of God.
Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of our Lord, when the Eternal Word took flesh upon Himself through the power of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t take long to figure out why this Feast would be occurring in March, when one considers that, nine months from today, we would be celebrating the Birth of our Savior on Christmas Day.
The Annunciation event, itself, is one of the most important of the New Testament stories, for it is, from a human interest perspective, a very moving story. A young woman’s life and faith are turned upside down by her unquestioning willingness to become a partner in God’s plan of salvation. And, for centuries, artists have been capturing this moment in all kinds of settings – in both paintings and sculptures!
The Solemnity of the Annunciation goes back to most probably the fifth century, and its central focus is the Incarnation – God has taken upon Himself our flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, thereby becoming Incarnate, becoming one with us in all ways except sin.
From all eternity, God had decided that the Eternal Word, His Divine Son and the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, should become human. Now, as we read in today’s Gospel, this decision is fully realized through Mary’s fiat, her humble acquiescence and submission to the will of God, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
The God-Man embraces all of humanity – indeed, all of creation – to bring it to God in one great act of Love. And because human beings had and continue to reject God, Jesus was to be born into this world and would accept a life of suffering and an agonizing death. For as we read in Saint John’s Gospel the words of Jesus, Himself, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
And in this act of Sacrificial Love, in this act of both Jesus and Mary fulfilling God’s plan for our salvation, you and I, and all of mankind, have become forever reconciled to our Eternal Father.
For, in this act of reconciliation, we begin to realize, in a very unique and personal way, our relationship of love, a relationship of our total dependence upon God which became fractured so long ago, due to the sin of our first parents.
For as we read today from the Letter to the Hebrews, “By this ‘will,’ we have been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
In the process of effecting this consecration, our redemption, God chose Mary to fulfill a vital part in God’s plan for each and every one of us. From all eternity, God destined her to be the Mother who would give flesh to the Eternal Word; and, as a result, she plays a very important role in the redemption of the world.
We could say that God’s acts of creation and redemption are intimately joined to Mary’s willingness and unquestioning cooperation with God’s plan of salvation!
As Mary became God’s instrument in the Incarnation, her virginal womb became the empty space within which God’s plan was to be ultimately realized. She is the Virgin-Mother who gives flesh to God’s Son, the God-Man who will fulfill the Messianic prophecies in a way that the prophet Isaiah could never have imagined, “…the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel…”
In essence, Mary became the new Eve, the Mother of all the living, who carries Jesus within herself, her womb becoming the ark of the New Covenant and the cause of our perpetual joy. And in our Responsorial Psalm, we become witnesses to Mary’s unquestioning faith echoed in the words of today’s psalmist, “To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”
Our faith teaches us, and today’s Solemnity reminds us that Mary is the most beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father, the chosen Mother of the Divine Son, and the virginal Spouse of the Holy Spirit. If the Father could turn to this most beloved Daughter of His, asking her to give flesh to His Son, how could we do no less in approaching Mary for our needs – asking her to intercede for us before the awesome Throne of her Divine Son, before whom she stands constantly in loving adoration?
Mary is held up by the Church as a model for all humanity in her holiness and her purity, in her willingness to accept and trust in God’s plan for herself in her life. And you and I are called to imitate these same qualities which we find in Mary – her humility, her meekness, her unquestioning faith and trust in God’s providential care, and in her deep love for both God and neighbor.
We are each called to recognize and respond to God’s call in our own lives, just as Mary did, to fulfill our own vocation in life, so that God’s will may be fulfilled through us – so that we, too, may become partners with God in the mission which He is asking of us, a mission prepared for us since before the beginning of time.
Mary’s response to the Archangel Gabriel is the response required of all faithful Christians to God’s plan for each of us in our own individual walk of faith here on this side of the eternal. If we could reach that conviction of faith, that trust which Mary, our Blessed Mother, had in God – and the virtuous life which she lived – we would find within ourselves that indwelling of peace which her Divine Son desires to give to each of us.
And we would also find the glorious serenity that places all of our cares and sorrows of this world into the hands of God, truly trusting in the One who is Love, just as Mary did!
In Mary’s life, we find the example of unquestioning trust; and we find the example of a serene and quiet holiness for each of us to follow. Hers’ was a life of simple humility and loving service to her God through the fiat which she gave – so that God’s will might be fulfilled through her, so that she, as our Spiritual Mother, would bring into the world and give to each of us our Savior and our Redeemer.
In the secular environment in which we live, are you and I able to respond like Mary – turning away from our own will, surrendering our own sense of ego and self-interests so that God’s will might be fulfilled through us? Are we able to say, “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will”?
Today we celebrate Mary’s fiat – one which has given us the Savior of the world – a fiat which not only opened the door and brought us our salvation, but also a fiat which embraced the will of God resulting in the miraculous wonder of New Life!
In this Solemnity of the Incarnation of our Lord, may our hearts always be opened to the sacredness of new life from the very moment of conception. Today, we celebrate the Most Sacred of all human lives ever to be conceived!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel…” (Isaiah 7:14)
- “To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!” (Psalm 40:9)
- “Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38ab)
- “By this ‘will,’ we have been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
- “Please give us life again, that your people may rejoice in you. Show us, LORD, your love; grant us your salvation…Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss. Truth will spring from the earth; justice will look down from heaven.” (Psalm 85:7-8, 11-12)
- “Yours is princely power from the day of your birth. In holy splendor before the daystar, like the dew I begot you.” (Psalm 110:3)
- “The LORD swore an oath to David, a pledge never to be broken: ‘Your own offspring…shall sit forever on your throne.’” (Psalm 132:11, 12c)
- “Now with you is Wisdom, who knows your works and was present when you made the world; Who understands what is pleasing in your eyes and what is conformable with your commands.” (Wisdom 9:9)
- “What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, subjecting all things under his feet.” (Hebrews 2:6b-8a)
- “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Prayer for the Day
V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.The Angelus (17th century prayer)
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with you;
blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to Your Word.
Hail Mary, etc.
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, etc.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech You, O Lord,
Your grace into our hearts,
that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Your Son,
was made known by the message of an angel,
may, by His Passion and Cross,
be brought to the glory of His Resurrection,
through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.