Annunciation of the Lord
This week, we celebrate the Annunciation of the Lord to honor the moment that Gabriel visited the Blessed Virgin Mary:
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” -Luke 1:26-33, NAB
Normally, this feast day falls on March 25th – exactly nine months prior to Christmas on December 25th, but this year (2013), it fell during Holy Week and was moved to Monday, April 8th instead.
With this feast, we are celebrating the moment the world found out that Jesus was coming. It began with Mary, a young woman betrothed to Joseph, and she was being given a difficult challenge. Imagine facing a first century world as a pregnant virgin; it took a lot of courage to accept the task.
What was her response? The rest of Luke 1 tells the story:
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God… for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. -Luke 1:34-38, NAB
Mary asked how it was physically possible, but when the angel told her that God would make it happen, she did not hesitate to accept it. Mary was completely open to God’s will for her life. God called, and she answered. It is as simple as that.
Do we have that same courage? When God asks us to do seemingly impossible things, do we accept it without question? The Blessed Mother allowed God to work in her life, including a number of miracles, and we need to be open to the same. God wants to do some amazing things through us; we simply need to be the conduit to make it happen.
In the Hail Mary, we remember the verse from Luke 1 when Mary faithfully accepts God’s will for her life; therefore, when we recite this beautiful prayer, let it be a reminder to courageously accept God’s will for our own lives. We might be amazed at what will happen next.