25 Mar – Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
The annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Gabriel the archangel that she was to be the Mother of God (Luke 1), the Word being made flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The feast probably originated about the time of the Council of Ephesus (c. 431), and is first mentioned in the Sacramentary of Pope Gelasius (d. 496).
The Annunciation has been a key topic in Christian art in general, as well as in Roman Catholic Marian art, particularly during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It is represented in art by many masters, among them Fra Angelico, Hubert Van Eyck, Ghirlandajo, Holbein the Elder, Lippi, Pinturicchio, and Del Sarto.
This feast is celebrated on Mar 25, nine months before the feast of the Nativity of Jesus (Christmas) on Dec 25.
The Annunciation is also mentioned twice in the Quran, the holy book for the Muslims.
- Patron Saint Index, Wikipedia
“God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.”
Today, the Church celebrates The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, commemorating the Archangel Gabriel’s announcement to the Virgin Mary that she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus Christ.
The feast day is observed every March 25, a tradition that dates back to the seventh century, when the date for celebrating Christmas was universalized throughout the Church. I found it of interest to note that today’s Solemnity occurs exactly nine months before December 25, the day we commemorate Jesus’ birth.
I’ve often wondered what it must have been like for Mary to be visited by an angel and told that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God’s son. Would a young adolescent say, “Impossible! Is this a joke?” or would she have jumped for joy and exclaimed, “Absolutely! Yes, Yes!”
We know Mary told the angel, “But how can this come about since I am a virgin”. The angel also revealed something even more bewildering – that the Holy Spirit would descend upon her. Mary pondered all that was told to her in her heart. In obedience, despite not comprehending all that was said, she gave the Lord her “Yes.”
Has God called upon you? It may not be as dramatic as trumpets sounding and angels descending. God calls us in many unexpected ways — through people around us, something that we read, a desire placed in our hearts, through our priest’s homily or even a song.
At the end of 2022, I couldn’t have been happier to end the year. It was a tough slog for me. This year marks my 3rd year of studies. By God’s grace, I have managed to do fairly well these past 2 years, but not without sacrifices. Recently, in the madness of writing paper after paper, I found myself asking God that forbidden question, “Why? What am I doing this for?” I picture myself at the end of the journey, with nothing more than a paper qualification to show for. These are the ‘What for?’ and ‘Whys?’ of doubt.
Did Mary ask “Why?” Instead, she said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord.”
Unlike Mary, I have not only been disobedient to God’s call, but also not as brave. But brothers and sisters, God calls us to be brave, to take courage, to be strong, to stand firm. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
During this last week few weeks of Lent, I want to strengthen my faith and cast away these nagging doubts and be faithful to His call. As God cries out to me with a mighty voice. He doesn’t turn his back on me nor watch as I fall. Instead, if I just pay attention and listen to my heart, He calls out to me and offers me a map for my journey. Let me be a handmaid of the Lord.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)
Prayer: Lord, give me a heart that is strong, brave and courageous to heed your calling. May I be humble and obedient like Mother, when she said “I am the handmaid of the Lord”. Here I am, Lord. I have come to do your will. May my life be worthy of my calling as a son/daughter of God.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for counting me worthy to be called upon. Thank you for being there for me during times when I feel like I am sinking. Thank you for showing me the way, for giving me strength and determination.
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