Feast of the Annunciation

By: Fr. Edward Ahn, AVI On this Solemnity of the Annunciation, in which we celebrate the Conception moment when God became human in the womb of a Jewish teenage girl – perhaps we can imagine Jesus saying to Mary on this anniversary during his earthly life, “Mom, happy Mother’s Day today”. And when you are the Mother of God, your maternity is so singular that you deserve your own Mother’s Day: the Solemnity of the Annunciation, every year! I don’t think it’s far fetched to say that God wants everyone to recognize how special his own Mother is! This Singular episode (Luke 1:26-38) has 2 sides of the same coin, the “Annunciation” and the “Incarnation”: the Annuciation is in reference to Mary, while the Incarnation is in reference to Jesus. Just as Jesus wills to be intimately associated with Mary in all things (She’s the only eyewitness, spanning his entire earthly life from Conception, Death, Resurrection, Ascension into heaven), so too, in the Annunciation/Incarnation episode of Redemption of mankind. In “the Divine Praises”, we proclaim Mary as “Virgin and Mother”. As if this singular grace – being simultaneously Virgin and Mother, which defies the human laws of nature and reproduction – weren’t awe-inspiring enough, Mary is not just any mother, but the “Mother of God” (cfr “Hail Mary” prayer; Divine Praises). If we are not continuously filled with wonder by these 2 Truths, we need to ask God to enkindle within us a greater attentiveness to the implications of reality and a greater amazement! In the Church’s wisdom, there’s a reason why we are continually reminded of the Mystery of the Incarnation (“Incarnation”, referring to God who becomes man) in the Church’s liturgy (every Eucharistic prayer of every Mass referencing her as “Mother of God”; the Creed; the repetition of this episode of the Gospel in the Liturgy of the Word throughout the year; the different Marian feasts) and universal devotional prayers (the “Hail Mary” prayer; the Angelus; etc): it’s because it’s monumentally important! Among the many singular graces Mary receives at the Annunciation, one of them is the unique privilege of knowing the precise moment when she conceives a child and becomes Mother! We don’t celebrate conception moments of other people, because we don’t know the precise moment/day it happens. But we do celebrate the anniversary of God’s conception as the tiniest of babies, in the womb of Mary, on this day! The Annunciation is an episode of singular graces bestowed upon the “Handmaid of the Lord” – but it truly represents a day of rejoicing that is meant for everyone, not just for Mary. The Annunciation is God’s wedding proposal to mankind, through Mary: “Mary, will you give me a human nature through your human nature?” In conceiving God, there is a Spousal “one-flesh union” that occurs: of Jesus who receives his humanity from Mary, and Mary who receives and carries the genetic makeup of Jesus within her body for all eternity as his Mother. For in the Incarnation, the Son of God becomes man. In Jesus, there is the synthesis of the Marriage between God and man – within Himself, He is true God and true man, having 2 natures – the Divine and the human. The 2 natures in one Person – we refer to this as the “Hypostatic Union” in Jesus. So a day of rejoicing for everyone: because the Annunciation/Incarnation represents God’s way of saying that He will to enter into a marriage union with mankind, in the fullest expression of “one-flesh union”, in the Hypostatic Union in Jesus. And it all happens at the Conception moment: when Mary conceives Jesus by the Holy Spirit, through her “Fiat” consent to God’s marriage proposal. On this day, let us rejoice, and honor the Great Mother of God, to whom we owe cause for great rejoicing. May we recite the ancient words inspired by the Angel Gabriel in Luke 1, the “Hail Mary” prayer today with renewed appreciation and understanding, commemorating today’s Solemnity. The picture above is the spot of the Annunciation, in Nazareth in Galilee: “Verbum caro hic factum est”: “Here the Word became flesh”. Happy Mother’s Day to Our Lady!   ________________________________________________________________________________________     Fr. Edward Ahn is a Priest of the Apostles of the Interior Life.  You can find out more about them at http://www.apostlesusa.org/