The Annunciation of the Lord
Luke the Evangelist tells us that in the
sixth month after the
conception of Saint John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the
angel Gabriel was sent from
the Virgin Mary,
at Nazareth, a small town in the mountains of Galilee.
Mary was of the
of David, and was espoused to
Joseph, of the same royal family.
She had, however, not yet entered the household of
spouse, but was still in
her mother's house, working,
perhaps, over her dowry. And the angel having taken the figure and the form of man, came into the house and said
"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee."
heard the greeting words did not speak;
she was troubled in spirit, since she knew not the angel, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of the salutation. And the
angel continued and said:
"Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt
conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He
shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give
unto Him the throne of David His father - and He shall reign in the house of Jacob
forever. And of His kingdom there shall be no end."
understood that there was question of the coming
Redeemer. But, why should she be elected from amongst women for the splendid dignity of being the
having vowed her
to God? (Saint
Augustine). Therefore, not doubting the word, but
she said: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?"
The angel, to
anxiety and to assure
she had vowed to
God, would be spared,
answered: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and
the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy One which
shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
In token of the truth of his word he made known to her the conception of Saint John,
the miraculous pregnancy of her relative now old and sterile: "And
behold, thy cousin Elizabeth; she also has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the
sixth month with her that is called barren: because no word shall be impossible with God." Mary may not yet have fully understood the meaning of the
heavenly message and how the
maternity might be reconciled with her vow of virginity, but clinging to the first words of the
angel and trusting to the
Omnipotence of God
she said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word."
The Annunciation is the beginning of
nature. Through His
is a member of the human race. About to
establish a new generation of "children of God", the Redeemer does not arrive in the way of earthly generations: the
power of the Holy Spirit enters the
chaste womb of the Virgin,
forming the humanity
fathers (Saints Jerome, Cyril,
Augustine) say that the
consent of Mary was essential to the Redemption. It was the will of God, Saint Thomas says, that the
redemption of mankind
should depend upon the consent of the Virgin Mary. This does not mean that
His plans was bound by the
will of a
and that man
would not have been redeemed, if Mary had not consented. It only means that the
Mary was foreseen from all eternity, and therefore was received as essential into the
design of God.
The Annunciation - by Pedro Berruguete, from the
Monastery of Miraflores, Burgos . . . .
In this depiction of the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel announces the Will of God
to Mary, whose purity is symbolized by the white lilies, and whose prior knowledge
of the Messiah is symbolized by the Holy Book at the right containing the words of
the inspired writers of Genesis and Isaiah, of which she had intimate prior knowledge.
The Holy Spirit is depicted above Gabriel, awaiting Mary's 'fiat'.
I greet you, Ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of
God, Throne of Grace, miracle of Almighty Power! I greet you, Sanctuary of the Most Holy
Trinity and Queen of the Universe, Mother of Mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother, attracted by your beauty and sweetness, and by your tender compassion,
I confidently turn to you, miserable as I am, and beg of you to obtain for me from your
dear Son the favor I request in this novena:
(mention your request).
Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the
grace to imitate closely those virtues which you practiced so faithfully, especially
humility, purity and obedience. Above all, I beg you to be my Mother and Protectress, to
receive me into the number of your devoted children, and to guide me from your high throne
Do not reject my petitions, Mother of Mercy! Have pity on me, and do not abandon me during
life or at the moment of my death.