Today is the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – the day, which for centuries, Holy Church considered the first day of the legal year.
For today, we bow down in awe before the event upon which our Christian faith is founded.
Today, we celebrate the very moment that our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, in all humility, was conceived in the womb of a humble virgin.
And in celebrating this Unfathomable Mystery, we celebrate the miraculous power of the Holy Trinity, God in His Three Persons.
We also celebrate, of course, the humility and unblemished beauty of the human person chosen to be the receptacle of this miracle – the Blessed Virgin Mary.
And through this choosing of her, we are brought to the foundation of our relationship with our God.
And in honour of this great event, initiating the mystery of our redemption, Holy Church, in her wisdom, prepares us most fittingly. For, the previous day is the feast of the Archangel Gabriel, announcing to us that everything was about to change, for our God was come to save us.
And we see this miraculous event depicted in many images, whereby the Angel Gabriel holds a white lily, symbolising Mary’s virginity.
Above her, we see the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove.
This moment can be seen in the context of creation itself, whereby ‘the Spirit of God moved over the waters.’ (Genesis 1:2).
It was then that the creative Will of God the Father issued forth, becoming active through the Word, the Logos. And the Spirit breathed life into creation.
With the Annunciation, we find the very same thing. The creative Will of the Father is manifested into being through the Word. This is brought about by the action of the Spirit, breathing life into the pure waters within the Virgin’s womb.
The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. Unto eternity, our human nature is united with the Godhead.
There is nothing more profound.
Yet, whilst incredibly profound, the Annunciation also depicts great humility. Mary is seen completely taken aback, humbled before the Angel of the Most High.
And our God, Who endowed us with autonomy, freedom of choice, awaits Mary’s consent. Nothing can be demanded of her.
So it is, with God’s respect of human free will.
For without our consent, God cannot act through us. He cannot be mediated into the world. We must be open to His will.
This is the beauty of our relationship with God and respectively with our neighbour. Each person is free to give, to love.
And Mary, although somewhat frightened, was wholeheartedly open to the Father. Her heart was willing to give, without compromise.
For through her immaculate nature, she wants nothing other than to be in accord with His Will, His Love. Therefore, she said ‘Yes’, in this most profound and perfect act of obedience.
It is to this she calls us, inviting us to imitate Her.
In response to the Angel’s salutation:
‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee’,
She replied ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy word.’
And so it came to be.
The most beautiful creature, full of grace, unblemished by Original Sin, offered her Fiat, her consent.
It was a pure gift, bestowed from a pure heart.
Divine Will and human will perfectly embraced and the Godhead flowed and breathed life into Her immaculate womb.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.
This unfathomable mystery, necessary for the redemption of humankind, was inaugurated.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
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