26 March 2012

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Because the 25th fell on Passion Sunday, today marks the celebration of the Annunciation-- the great turning point in human history, when God became man.

This great feast of the Virgin celebrates her profound humility and her exalted status as the Mother of God. 

From Divine Intimacy, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen:

[T]he Angel communicates to her his great message: God wishes her to become the Mother of the Redeemer.  Mary had always lived under the continual direction of the Holy Spirit and under His inspiration had made a vow a virginity; therefore, she was convinced that she should remain a virgin and that this was God's will.  But now God lets her know that He has chosen her to be the Mother of His Son, and she, humble handmaid that she is, is ready to adhere to the divine plan.  However, she does not yet understand how she can be at the same time a mother and a virgin, and she questions the Angel on this point: "How shall this be done?"  The Angel explains: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee."  Her maternity will be the direct work of the Holy Spirit and will respect her virginity.


The Angel's explanation does not prevent many future events and circumstances from remaining hidden and obscure to Mary.  She finds herself face to face with a mystery, a mystery which she knows intuitively to be rich in suffering; for she has learned from the Sacred Scriptures that the Redeemer will be a man of sorrows, sacrificed for the salvation of mankind.  Therefore, the ineffable joy of the divine maternity is presented to her wrapped in a mystery of sorrow: to be willing to be the Mother of the Son of God means consenting to be the Mother of one condemned to death.  Yet Mary accepts everything in her fiat: in the joy, as well as in the sorrow of the mystery, she has but one simple answer: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord."  By this acceptance, the Blessed Virgin becomes intimately associated with the life of suffering of her Son Jesus, and, therefore, with His work of Redemption, thus becoming the spiritual Mother of the human race.  This is the divine plan for her, and Mary accepts it wholly, without reserve, precisely because her will is wholly united to the will of God.

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