March 25 – Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Promise Made Flesh
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel, “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, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
As we look forward towards Easter, we are brought back to the beginning and celebrate the conception of our Lord. Nine months later, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We recall the innocence of Mary, His Mother, as Gabriel tells her the Lord is with her. Mary is only a young girl of 12 or 13, and she was set apart for God’s plan. She too was conceived without original sin and remained sinless; a holy, pure temple to carry our Lord. Mary would have understood that Gabriel was speaking of the promised Covenant, but she would not have truly understood all of the pain and suffering she and her Son would endure so that Promise could be fulfilled. Gabriel also offers a sign to Mary that all that he said would be fulfilled – that her cousin Elizabeth was also going to have a son in her old age because nothing is impossible for God. Words of such power and promise, given to the one whom the Father chose from among all women in the past, present and future.
We are all called by the Lord for some specific duty in furthering His Kingdom. Some are called to priesthood, some to be religious brothers and sisters, some to be married or single – we all play a role in the Body of Christ. Not all of us have the honor of being visited by Gabriel, but we know through the guidance of the Holy Spirit that He is calling all of us for something great in our lives. Even if we don’t feel like we have knowledge or understanding of what we are being called to do, God will provide everything for us. God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called! Mary, too, didn’t understand all that she was being called to do, yet she fully accepted her role in God’s Plan of Salvation and told the angel, let it be done to me.
Lent in Action:
Discern what God is calling you to do and ask the Holy Spirit to qualify you for that calling.
Say a Hail Mary. Holy God, please help me to follow the example that Mary provided, in having complete faith in you and allowing your will to be done through me. I ask this in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.