Annunciation of the Lord
The feast of the Annunciation, now recognized as a solemnity, was first celebrated in the fourth or fifth century. Its central focus is the Incarnation: God has become one of us. From all eternity God had decided that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity should become human. Now, as Luke 1:26-38 tells us, the decision is being realized. The God-Man embraces all humanity, indeed all creation, to bring it to God in one great act of love. Because human beings have rejected God, Jesus will accept a life of suffering and an agonizing death: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13).
Mary has an important role to play in God's plan. From all eternity God destined her to be the mother of Jesus and closely related to him in the creation and redemption of the world. We could say that God's decrees of creation and redemption are joined in the decree of Incarnation. Because Mary is God's instrument in the Incarnation, she has a role to play with Jesus in creation and redemption. It is a God-given role. It is God's grace from beginning to end. Mary becomes the eminent figure she is only by God's grace. She is the empty space where God could act. Everything she is she owes to the Trinity.
She is the virgin-mother who fulfills Isaiah 7:14 in a way that Isaiah could not have imagined. She is united with her son in carrying out the will of God (Psalm 40:8-9; Hebrews 10:7-9; Luke 1:38).
Together with Jesus, the privileged and graced Mary is the link between heaven and earth. She is the human being who best, after Jesus, exemplifies the possibilities of human existence. She received into her lowliness the infinite love of God. She shows how an ordinary human being can reflect God in the ordinary circumstances of life. She exemplifies what the Church and every member of the Church is meant to become. She is the ultimate product of the creative and redemptive power of God. She manifests what the Incarnation is meant to accomplish for all of us.
Sometimes spiritual writers are accused of putting Mary on a pedestal and thereby discouraging ordinary humans from imitating her. Perhaps such an observation is misguided. God did put Mary on a pedestal and has put all human beings on a pedestal. We have scarcely begun to realize the magnificence of divine grace, the wonder of God's freely given love. The marvel of Mary—even in the midst of her very ordinary life—is God's shout to us to wake up to the marvelous creatures that we all are by divine design.
"Enriched from the first instant of her conception with the splendor of an entirely unique holiness, the virgin of Nazareth is hailed by the heralding angel, by divine command, as 'full of grace' (cf. Luke 1:28). To the heavenly messenger she replies: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word' (Luke 1:38). Thus the daughter of Adam, Mary, consenting to the word of God, became the Mother of Jesus. Committing herself wholeheartedly and impeded by no sin to God's saving will, she devoted herself totally, as a handmaid of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son, under and with him, serving the mystery of redemption, by the grace of Almighty God" (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 56).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God's dwelling-place.
Lord grant me the grace
I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord.
The Word of God
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord. I think I might say "Thank You Lord" for always being there for me. I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Meditation: Luke 1:26-38
The Annunciation of the Lord
Do not be afraid, Mary. (Luke 1:30)
How hard it must have been for Mary to accept the angel's words! First, he told her that her marriage plans were going to change dramatically. Then, when she heard that she would conceive a child "by the Spirit," she must have worried that Joseph might leave her. And if she were left pregnant with no husband, that likely meant rejection by her townsfolk and a life of shame and hardship.
God sure knows how to lay a heavy burden on a person, doesn't he? Mary was left troubled, confused, and afraid. So why was she able to say yes to the angel's invitation? Because Mary was full of grace.
Grace is a gift that God has freely given to all of us. There are many kinds of grace. For example, God gives us the grace of salvation, the grace to believe, and the grace to die to ourselves. God gave Mary an "enabling grace," which moved her to say, "May it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).
This grace of God acts like the fuel we use to make a car go. It is God's power at work in us, both to choose and to work "for his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13). Now, even with all the grace that God had given her, Mary still needed to take hold of it and apply it to her life—just as a car filled with gas won't go anywhere unless we turn it on, put it in gear, and begin to drive.
The angel assured Mary that nothing is "impossible for God" (Luke 1:37). Our Father can do whatever he wants, whenever and wherever he wants. But for some reason, he prefers to do his work in and through us. So as we celebrate this great day when Mary submitted to God's will, let's make the same decision. Let's make sure we are open to the possibility that God may want to change some of our plans. Let's all say, "I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word."
"Holy Mary, we honor you for the way you gave up your plans and submitted yourself to God completely. Teach us to do the same."
Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10; Psalm 40:7-11; Hebrews 10:4-10
Allow me to translate today's 5minutos:
"God spoke to us in a plain and definite manner through His Word, that lived among us. Christ not only said His word, the Gospel, but He is the Word. Everything to Him was the living word and good news. That way, in his Son-Word, God has nothing else to tell us, even though it is true that we can understand more and better every day what Christ-Word has said to us, because it does not wear out. Mary heard this Word and "ate it", she guarded it in her belly, in her heart, and in her mind. Nobody like Her knew how to carry the Word of God. Then she gave light of it and gave it to us. The last word we pick up from Mary is this: Do what He tells you to do. Be ready for His word, and never will you lack the wine. He speaks to you divine words, words of liberation. If you do not want to be slaves, listen to His words, the ones that speak on the interior and the ones you hear in prayer and in the whole life. And when the Father presented us His Son, He repeated: "This is My Son, listen to Him". Why is it that we make ourselves to be begged? Not even with this good "recommendation" of the Father do we listen to His Son. And of it depends our lives. If we listen, we will not lack the living water, nor the bread of life, nor the wine of joy, nor the oil of health, nor the wind of liberty, nor the fire of love. If we listen, we can overcome our fears, doubts and temptations. If we listen, we will find the way that leads us to truth, and find strength to walk. If we listen, He will remain in us and we will be, like His Mother, temples of the Trinity (Jn 14:23). "
I wrote a song this weekend, well I let the Holy Spirit write, and it was all about saying Yes to the Lord. And there is no better fulfillment of this Yes than that of our Mother Mary who said Yes to God. Think about it. When she said Yes, she believed. Sometimes we say "yes" but just to say it and then suffer in doubt. Her Yes was all about faith, for when she said Yes, it came to be, and what came to be was life. Hmm. Do you believe? "Uhh, Believe what?" That an angel has come or will come upon you...and ask you to believe? "Uhh, believe what?" That He has become flesh and will become flesh again. "Uhh, I don't get it." He lived, right? "Uhh, I guess?". But His life has been written about by several different authors, then why do you not believe? Because it is about God? "Uhh, I don't know". What do you know? What do we know about the past and the future? Kind of vague huh? "Uhh, I guess so". That is exactly why we have faith, in the past and the future, and even more importantly, right now. When our Mother Mary (yes she is Our Mother if Jesus is our everything, even brother), when our Mother said Yes, that's when it happened. What happened? The reality of faith, faith became real and Jesus was conceived (became human in the flesh), first comes obedience, humility, all things necessary for faith to come in. What is the opposite of faith? First let's take an acronym I just found for FAITH.
Interesting, so the opposite would be, "for all I do Not Trust in Him", right? Will you trust your life in Him? Will you turn over all your sins and surrender to Him? Because when I wrote that song, it spoke about being a YES to everything in life, in those moments of anger, impatience, temptations, bad thoughts, bad deeds, you have still a choice, surrender it all to Him or not, it is a Yes or a No, always. No better sign will be given as to what has been given, a Virgin gave birth to a Son who's name means "God is With Us" and they named Him Jesus which means "He Saves", so the God Who is With us, He Saves". Do you trust in Him? Come on now, don't be scared, surrender all what you think is good for what is truly Good and Holy. The world will not want to let you surrender that easy, but we heard what an Angel said to us today "...nothing will be impossible for God". Jesus suffered much for the faith, in the garden, the night He was to be betrayed, but He too said the words of our Mother Mary, "let it be done according to thy will". He perhaps wanted to live another 33 years of sharing, healing, and loving on earth, but God said otherwise. This is the sacrifice God wants from you, not just in Lent but every moment of our lives- out with the old and in with the new
Holy Mass Offered for the Annunciation/Incarnation
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The Feast of the Annunciation is one of the most important in the Church calendar. First, it celebrates the actual Incarnation of Our Savior -- the Word made flesh in the womb of His mother, Mary. Second, it is a principal Marian feast. Two other feasts honoring Our Lord's mother, the Assumption (August 15), and the Immaculate Conception (December 8), are celebrated as Holy Days of Obligation in the United States. read more....