“Paolo de Matteis – The Annunciation” by Paolo de Matteis (Wiki Commons)
Today is the Feast of the Annunciation. For those unfamiliar, from Wikipedia:
The Feast of the Annunciation, contemporarily the Solemnity of the Annunciation, commemorates the visit of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, during which he informed her that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is celebrated on 25 March each year.
The Annunciation is observed in the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental, Eastern Catholic churches, along with the Anglican Communion, of which my church belongs.
“Annunciation” by Murillo (Wikimedia Commons)
At Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church, the entry for today on the Liturgical Calendar says:
Not only one of the most important, but also one of the most touching events described in the gospels is Luke’s account of the visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary and of Mary’s response. The angel’s salutation, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” was certainly startling. The angel’s announcement must have been frightening and deeply perplexing. “You will conceive and bear a son” He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High”and will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” It is not difficult to imagine trembling in her voice when Mary asked, “How can this be?”
When the angel had finished his explanation, Mary freely agreed to submit to God’s will in the matter, saying, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” So we, who are the church in this age, are called upon to respond obediently and confidently to God’s will for us. One is reminded of Isaiah’s response when he was called upon to do the Lord’s work in his generation, “Here am I, send me.” It is also interesting and comforting to note that neither Mary nor Isaiah was forced into submission, but rather, “in the fullness of time” each responded willingly, gracefully, and positively, having little idea of what lay ahead.
When you call us to do great things, O Lord, give us strength and courage to say, “Yes.” Amen.
Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Amen, amen, and again, amen!
Reflection for the day: Lord, may I always say “Let it be with me” to your will.