Tag Archives: Annunciation

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. 


We
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. 

The
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
2:6-11).

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

Basilica
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.

The Incarmation was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence

From a letter by Saint Leo the Great

 

Lowliness is assumed by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that is incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.

 


Annunciation detail.jpgHe who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took to himself in order to restore it. For in the Savior there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our sins. He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.

 

Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth. He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death. He who is true God is also true man. There is not falsehood in this unity as long as the lowliness of man and the preeminence of God coexist in mutual relationship.

 

As God does not change by his condescension, so man is not swallowed up by being exalted. Each nature exercises its own activity, in communion with the other. The Word does what is proper to the Word, the flesh fulfills what is proper to the flesh. One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Father’s glory, so the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.

 

One and the same person -this must be said over and over again–is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man. He is God in virtue of the fact that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He is man in virtue of the fact that “the Word was made flesh, and dwells among us.”

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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