Friday, 1 December 2017

The Annunciation

The Annunciation

The mysteries  of the Most Holy Rosary begin with the Annunciation. This is the moment when the Archangel Gabriel comes to Blessed Virgin Mary, proclaims her to be ‘Highly Favoured’, and invites her to bear a Son, and this will be the Son of God.

But I think that in some sense the Annunciation is the end point, not the beginning. We know that Mary was preserved from Original Sin at the moment of her conception in the womb of her holy mother, St Anne. This Immaculate Conception was important for many reasons, but one of them was so that at the Annunciation, Our Lady would listen to the words of the Angel with wonder and simplicity. And this ends with the Incarnation, with God becoming man.

Original Sin is that part of us which puts our own concerns and desires against the good of others, and the rights of God. It is the tendency to selfishness and pride which sits at the heart of all human beings. I think Our Lady was free from Original Sin, so that when the Angel appeared to her, she did not freak out in fear (yes that is a massive angel, and yes, he is speaking to you), nor did she react in a self-centred way (Son of God, you say, that’s going to make me pretty important!). Instead Mary responded with a simple, wide-eyed wonderment - “But how can this be, since I am a Virgin?” And when that little problem was smoothed out (by the action of the Holy Spirit), then Our Lady’s answer was “yes”.

Except that in a way it was more than that. Mary said “Let it be done unto me according to Your word.” What Our Lady is consenting to is the action of God in her life. He has asked, she has consented. This, perhaps, is the way that we can understand this mystery better. We are not conceived without Original Sin, and (generally) we do not have angels appearing to us, making God’s will manifest in our lives. But we can cultivate the same heart and Spirit of Our Lady. We can stand ready and waiting for the Lord, so that when we know what He wants, we can have the reply always on our lips - “Let it be done unto me according to Your word.”

This is an inner disposition of our soul. This means that we learn to be open to God, so that when He calls upon us, we will readily spring to His service. In this way, it will be our own annunciation too.


Originally from the Back of the Bulletins of St Mary of Glastonbury and St Michael Shepton Mallet

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