Tag Archives: Annunciation

The Annunciation: the beginning of salvation

Today is the beginning of our salvation,

The revelation of the eternal mystery!

The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin.

As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.

Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, O Full of Grace,

The Lord is with You!

(Troparion, Tone 4)

Annunciation Icon 2013.jpg

Indeed, today is the beginning of salvation history. As St Luke’s gospel (1:26-38) reveals, and as other languages portray the Incarnation, we’ve received “good tidings.” From the moment the angel’s message was received positively by Mary cosmic history has never been the same. March 25 is the solemnity of the Annunciation to the Mary that she’s be the Mother of God (the most Holy Theotokos). And it’s Holy Week followed by Eastertide, the Church will observe this solemn occasion on April 8. Nevertheless, a word or two need to be said about the Annunciation.

Liturgical history tells us that there exists a 2nd century painting of the Annunciation in the catacomb of Priscilla. And more widely celebrated since the 4th century, the Christian community has observed the Annunciation as  a solemn day of grace.

Ecclesiastical history bears witness to the Council of Toledo in 656 mentioning the Feast in Spain and then at the Council in Trullo in 692 indicating the Church there having a celebration of the Annunciation even though it was Lent. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council spoke about the Marian principle of the Church as being fundamental to the life of the Church (see the conclusion of Lumen Gentium), even more important that the Petrine principles because what we believe to be true about the Incarnation. 

On the Annunciation, the Knights of Columbus pray for the unborn children and the work of being pro Life.

The feast testifies that God fulfills His promise to send a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15): “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.” What the prophets and teachers of the Law believed and taught the people of Israel, was given by Gabriel’s announcement; and in the Christian dispensation the Fathers of the Church have taught that what is called “her seed” to refer to Jesus. Here is an unmistakable theological view that Jesus is the new Adam, the new tree of life, the new Law, the new Lawgiver, the new face of God.

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The Annunciation of the Lord

Annunciation FAlbani.jpgThe mystery of the annunciation to Mary is not just a
mystery of silence. It is above and beyond all that a mystery of grace. 

feel compelled to ask ourselves: Why did Christ really want to be born of a
virgin? It was certainly possible for him to have been born of a normal
marriage. That would not have affected his divine Sonship, which was not
dependent on his virgin birth and could equally well have been combined with
another kind of birth. There is no question here of a downgrading of marriage
or of the marriage relationship; nor is it a question of better safeguarding
the divine Sonship. Why then?

We find the answer when we open the Old Testament
and see that the mystery of Mary is prepared for at every important stage in
salvation history. It begins with Sarah, the mother of Isaac, who had been
barren, but when she was well on in years and had lost the power of giving life,
became, by the power of God, the mother of Isaac and so of the chosen people. 

process continues with Anna, the mother of Samuel, who was likewise barren, but
eventually gave birth; with the mother of Samson, or again with Elizabeth, the
mother of John the Baptizer. The meaning of all these events is the same: that
salvation comes, not from human beings and their powers, but solely from
God–from an act of his grace.

Joseph Ratzinger
Co-Workers of the Truth Meditations
for Every Day of the Year
(1992), 99-100.

Annunciation of the Lord

Annunication MBroederlam.jpgMary would never see the world in the same way again because she had conceived beneath her heart, The Word, the Son of God made flesh within her. The Word from the mind of God now in her being…She would now have to see everything through the eyes of that Word and everything would change. “Nothing would again be causal and small, but everything with light invested,” (J. Duffy, “The Annunciation”). Christ, the Light of the World.

That’s what happens when we come to know Christ, to possess Christ, to bring Christ into our very being, flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood. When our heart beats with Christ’s heart we see the whole world differently. We look into the womb of every mother and see the image of the Son of God.
John Joseph Cardinal O’Connor
8th Archbishop of New York, 1984-2000

Annunciation of the Lord

Annunciation Fra Angelico 1451-2.jpg

What happened
here in Nazareth, far from the gaze of the world, was a singular act of God, a
powerful intervention in history, through which a child was conceived who was
to bring salvation to the whole world. The wonder of the Incarnation continues
to challenge us to open up our understanding to the limitless possibilities of
God’s transforming power, of his love for us, his desire to be united with us
Here the eternally begotten Son of God became man, and so made it possible for
us, his brothers and sisters, to share in his divine sonship. That downward
movement of self-emptying love made possible the upward movement of exaltation

in which we too are raised to share in the life of God himself (cf. Phil

The Spirit who “came upon Mary” (cf. Lk 1:35) is the same
Spirit who hovered over the waters at the dawn of Creation (cf. Gen 1:2). We
are reminded that the Incarnation was a new creative act. When our Lord Jesus
Christ was conceived in Mary’s virginal womb through the power of the Holy
Spirit, God united himself with our created humanity, entering into a permanent
new relationship with us and ushering in a new Creation
. The narrative of the
Annunciation illustrates God’s extraordinary courtesy
(cf. Mother Julian of
Norwich, Revelations 77-79). He does not impose himself, he does not simply
pre-determine the part that Mary will play in his plan for our salvation: he
first seeks her consent. In the original Creation there was clearly no question
of God seeking the consent of his creatures, but in this new Creation he does so
Mary stands in the place of all humanity. She speaks for us all when she
responds to the angel’s invitation. Saint Bernard describes how the whole court
of heaven was waiting with eager anticipation for her word of consent that
consummated the nuptial union between God and humanity. The attention of all
the choirs of angels was riveted on this spot, where a dialogue took place that
would launch a new and definitive chapter in world history. Mary said,
“Let it be done to me according to your word.” And the Word of God
became flesh.

When we reflect on this joyful mystery, it gives us hope, the
sure hope that God will continue to reach into our history, to act with
creative power so as to achieve goals which by human reckoning seem impossible.
It challenges us to open ourselves to the transforming action of the Creator
Spirit who makes us new, makes us one with him, and fills us with his life. It
invites us, with exquisite courtesy, to consent to his dwelling within us, to
welcome the Word of God into our hearts, enabling us to respond to him in love
and to reach out in love
towards one another.

Pope Benedict XVI

14 May 2009

of the Annunciation, Israel

As a way of deepening the Mystery of the Incarnation, here is  “Beyond the Clash of Absolutes: Abortion” taken from Carl A. Anderson’s 2010 book, Beyond A House Divided.

At the message of the Angel

Hail, Mary, full of grace. The is with thee.


Hail, thou star of ocean!

Portal of the sky!

Ever Virgin Mother

Of the Lord most high!


Oh, by Gabriel’s Ave,

AnnunciazioneJPG.jpgUttered long ago,

Eva’s name reversing,

‘Stablish peace below.


Break the captive’s fetters;

Light on blindness pour;

All our ills expelling,

Every bliss implore.


Show thyself a mother;

Offer Him our sighs,

Who for us incarnate

Did not thee despise.


Virgin of all virgins!

To thy shelter take us;

Gentlest of the gentle!

Chaste and gentle make us.


Still as on we journey,

Help our weak endeavor;

Till with thee and Jesus

We rejoice for ever.


Through the highest heaven,

To the Almighty Three,

Father, Son, and Spirit,

One same glory be. Amen.


At his general audience on march 24, 2004, Pope John Paul II said the following about today’s feast of the Annunciation of the Lord:


This feast, which this year falls in the middle of Lent, on one hand refers us to the beginnings of salvation, and on the other invites us to turn our gaze to the paschal mystery. We look at Christ crucified who has redeemed humanity, fulfilling to the end the will of the Father. On Calvary, in his last moments of life, Jesus entrusted us to Mary as Mother and to her he has commended us as children.


Associated to the mystery of the Incarnation, Our Lady is co-participant in the mystery of redemption. Her fiat, which we recall tomorrow, echoes that of the incarnate Word. In profound symphony with Christ’s and the Virgin’s fiat, each one of us is called to unite his own “yes” to the mysterious plans of Providence. In fact, only from full adherence to the Divine Will do that joy and true peace spring which we all ardently desire also for our times.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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