Thursday, March 25, 2010

O, Happy Day

...when a Jewish girl said "Yes" to God, and gave the world our Savior!

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. How many times my mind and heart have dwelled on this eternal scene: the pure young maiden visited by the Father's angelic messenger, asking her to become the Mother of the Messiah.

Mary did not understand how His plan would unfold. Yet she surrended completely and wholeheartedly herself — body, mind, heart, and soul — to the will of the Father. With complete faith, she replied, "I am the handmaiden of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38). And this response forever changed all past, present, and future mankind.

As you can see, the radiant example and response of our Lady are the inspiration for this blog title as I strive to make them the theme of my life. By her "yes", her "fiat", Mary brought life to the whole world in a bigger way than she ever imagined. I know that my "yes" to God, He can and will use me, too, to bring life to the world in a bigger way than I ever imagined.

The profound mystery and beauty of the Annunciation has evoked many reflective words from Saints and Church Fathers:

"In the town of the Annunciation, our thoughts naturally turn to Mary, 'full of grace', the mother of the Holy Family and our Mother. Nazareth reminds us of our need to acknowledge and respect the God-given dignity and proper role of women, as well as their particular charisms and talents. Whether as mothers in families, as a vital presence in the work force and the institutions of society, or in the particular vocation of following our Lord by the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience, women have an indispensable role in creating that 'human ecology' (cf. Centesimus Annus, 39) which our world, and this land, so urgently needs..."

"He chose the mother he had created; he created the mother he had chosen."

-St. Augustine

"The 'yes' spoken on the day of the Annunciation reaches full maturity on the day of the Cross, when the time comes for Mary to receive and beget as her children all those who becomes disciples, pouring out upon them the saving love of her Son."

-Pope John Paul II

And my favorites, from Pope John Paul's Apostolic Letter On the Dignity of Women. He mentions the Annunciation no less than 11 times in this letter!

"Mary means, in a sense, a going beyond the limit spoken of in the Book of Genesis (3: 16) and a return to that 'beginning' in which one finds the 'woman' as she was intended to be in creation, and therefore in the eternal mind of God: in the bosom of the Most Holy Trinity. Mary is 'the new beginning' of the dignity and vocation of women, of each and every woman.

Mary's words at the Annunciation — 'Let it be to me according to your word' — signify the woman's readiness for the gift of self and her readiness to accept a new life.

This 'prophetic' character of women in their femininity finds its highest expression in the Virgin Mother of God. She emphasizes, in the fullest and most direct way, the intimate linking of the order of love — which enters the world of human persons through a Woman — with the Holy Spirit.

We see that through Mary — through her maternal 'fiat', ('Let it be done to me') — God begins a New Covenant with humanity."

For more on this Solemnity, visit the Annunciation page at Catholic Culture.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Claire, this is beautiful! I really love how respect of Mary changes the church's perspective towards women in such a huge way.


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