Friday, March 25, 2011

The Annunciation - Solemnity of the Incarnation

Annunciation by Andrea del Sarto, 1513
When we think of the Incarnation, the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (Jn 1:14) we mostly think of Christmas and the baby Jesus.  But nine months before Christmas, on March 25th, a life began at conception.  Today the Church celebrates the very moment of the conception of the Son of God, when the Word--in fact--became flesh and dwelt among us in His mother's womb:  Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,and you shall name him Jesus (Lk 1:31).    This reality was recognized by St. Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist:  "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. (Lk 1:43-44)

Is there no greater Pro-Life feast?
The incarnation of the Word was not only the work of the Father, Son and Spirit – the first consenting, the second descending, the third overshadowing – but it was also the work of the will and the faith of the Virgin. Without the three divine persons this design could not have been set in motion; but likewise the plan could not have been carried into effect without the consent and faith of the all-pure Virgin. Only after teaching and persuading her does God make her his Mother and receive from her the flesh which she consciously wills to offer him. Just as he was conceived by his own free choice, so in the same way she became his Mother voluntarily and with her free consent.
(St. Nicholas Cabasilas' Homily on the Annunciation 4-5)

Let us pray.
Shape us in the likeness of the divine nature of our Redeemer,
  whom we believe to be true God and true man,
since it was your will, Lord God,
  that he, your Word, should take to himself our human nature
  in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
He lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
  God for ever and ever.

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