Daily Saints

അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) March 25th – Annunciation of the Lord

അനുദിന വിശുദ്ധർ (Saint of the Day) March 25th – Annunciation of the Lord

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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, full of grace! 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.”

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. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; 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 1:26​-38)

March 25 is the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord in the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar. The mystery of Mary’s cooperation in God’s plan has inspired some of the most profound reflection in the Christian tradition. As well it should.

Our first reading from the messianic Prophet Isaiah places the event within the fulfillment of God’s plan and the answer to His promise to Israel. Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us!” (Isaiah 7).

The encounter between Mary and the Angel also opens up the meaning of our own lives, as well as shedding light on our call to participate in God’s loving plan. In the midst of all of the challenges we face as Catholic Christians in a Culture which has forgotten God, we are invited to celebrate God’s loving plan – and to remember the great liberating promise of the Gospel is intended for all men and women.We are the bearers of Good News in an age of bad news.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ. (CCC#487​) Years ago I wrote a reflective book entitled The Prayer of Mary: Living the Surrendered Life

Its intended audience were Christians of other communities who, in the sad aftermath of the hundreds of years of divisions in Western Christianity, have often lost the great treasure of the witness of Mary – as mother, model of the faith and symbol of the Church. The Catholic Catechism summarizes this mystery in these words:

At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: “the Church indeed. . . by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse.” (CCC#507​)

The little Virgin of Nazareth teaches us how to live our Christian life.When the Angel of the Lord appeared, bearing the message and calling her to a special mission, she said “YES.” We must say “Yes” as well and believe that “nothing is impossible with God.”

Let’s consider her response to the message: “I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be to me according to your Word.” It is in these words that we can discover the heart of every Christian vocation.

Gregory of Nyssa once wrote:

What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul that has been made pure. The Lord does not come in bodily form, for ´we no longer know Christ according to the flesh´, but He dwells in us spiritually and the Father takes up His abode with Him, the Gospel tells us. In this way the child Jesus is born in each of us.

When Mary spoke those few words, human history was forever changed. They came from a deep spiritual reservoir within the heart of a young Jewish girl who was in love with the God of her Fathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A woman of deep, living faith. A woman of prayer.

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