Monday, March 26, 2007

Annunciation of the Lord

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (usually on March 25, but because it fell on a Sunday it is transferred to today) which celebrates the event of God becoming man. This is the day- nine months prior to the birth of Christ - that Jesus was conceived of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the day to which St. John is referring in his Gospel when he writes, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (1:14). The Word, Jesus Christ, became flesh when Mary said “yes” (“fiat”) to the announcement of the angel Gabriel that she would give birth to the Savior of the world. This is the day that celebrates Salvation entering the world.

The Magnificat provides a beautiful reflection for today’s feast:

“The Annunciation heralds the beginning of our salvation. By Mary’s obedient ‘Fiat’, the earth has become heaven. ‘In Jesus, God has placed, in the midst of barren, despairing mankind, a new beginning, which is not a product of human history but a gift from above’ (Pope Benedict XVI). With Mary’s Yes, the possibility for us to be truly human – to be God’s – becomes a reality in her flesh and remains as a fact that transforms each of us. All that our heart cries out for became flesh in Mary’s womb. When we repeat the words of the angel by praying the Hail Mary, the Word of God germinates in our soul. Christianity is this never-ending event of encounter with God made present in the maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary”.

God could have chosen to enter the world in any way he wanted. He chose to become one of us through a woman, Mary. He immaculately conceived her who is “blessed among women” (Lk 1:42), keeping her free from any traces of original sin. Mary was “full of grace” (Lk 1:28) from the first moment of her conception and throughout her life so that she would be the perfect and pure tabernacle of our Lord. Just as sin entered the world through a woman, so Salvation enters the world through a woman.

Mary said ‘yes’ to God’s Plan at the Annunciation and her whole life. It was through her yes that Hope came into the world. It was through her yes that Love came into world. It was because Mary said yes that Heaven came to Earth in the person of Jesus Christ. God came to us through Mary; now we go to Him through Mary. True Catholic spirituality, then, is "to Jesus through Mary".

When we reflect on Mary’s yes to God’s enormous Plan for her, we are encouraged and inspired, not just because it brings Jesus to us, but also because it gives us a great example of obedience. God has a Plan for each one of us. Granted, it would be nice to have an angel come and reveal his Plan to us! But, if this simple and humble teenage girl can say yes to becoming the mother of the Savior of the World, then we can say yes to God to whatever He is calling us. When we imitate Mary’s yes, we ourselves bring Jesus into the world – within our families, among our friends, co-workers, and peers. When we are obedient to God’s Plan in our own lives, the Word continues to become flesh and dwell among us.


At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Kat said...


Why is today not a Holy Day of Obligation? Given that today is the day that Jesus was made man I would think it ought to be.

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous women for Mary said...

I like your posting very much. So many places in the Old Testament speak to the theme that women are men's ruination, and when they acted out of the natural order of male heiracrchy, caused evil and sin to befall others. It seems like God corrected some this opinion by giving Christ to us as flesh through this humble woman. Women have forever been elevated to a place of honor with God's gift and Mary's acceptance. I also like that Pope John Paul continued to elevate our worth through his writings and would love to see some of those posted.

At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Seed

A successful Christian business man was growing old and knew it was time
to choose a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to
do something different. He called all the young executives in his
company together.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have
decided to choose one of you. "The young executives were shocked, but
the boss continued."I am going to give each one of you a SEED today -
one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come
back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I
have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one
I choose will be the next CEO"

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received
a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story.

She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.
Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.
After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk
about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept
checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five
weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their
plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by--still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had
killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had
nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He just
kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company
brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that
he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest
about what happened. Jim felt sick at his stomach, it was going to be
the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was
right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was
amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were
beautiful--in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor
and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young
executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants,
trees, and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will
be appointed the next CEO!" All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the
back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director
to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows
I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his
seed - Jim told him the story

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and
then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive!

His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his
seed. How could he be the new CEO the others said?

Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a
seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back
to me today.

But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible
for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and
plants and flowers.

When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another
seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and
honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one
who will be the new Chief Executive!"


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