Thursday, March 24, 2011

History's most significant moment

Tomorrow, March 25, the Church inserts into the penitential season of Lent, a solemn feast by which we recall the very moment when Jesus became one of us in the womb of the Blessed Mother. The feast of the Annunciation celebrates Mary's complete surrender to the will of God! Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, reflected on the mystery in a homily he gave in Rome in 2006. Here is an excerpt:

In celebrating the Incarnation of the Son, therefore, we cannot fail to honour his Mother. The Angel's proclamation was addressed to her; she accepted it, and when she responded from the depths of her heart: "Here I am... let it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1: 38), at that moment the eternal Word began to exist as a human being in time. From generation to generation, the wonder evoked by this ineffable mystery never ceases. St Augustine imagines a dialogue between himself and the Angel of the Annunciation, in which he asks: "Tell me, O Angel, why did this happen in Mary?". The answer, says the Messenger, is contained in the very words of the greeting: "Hail, full of grace" (cf. Sermo 291: 6).

In fact, the Angel, "appearing to her", does not call her by her earthly name, Mary, but by her divine name, as she has always been seen and characterized by God: "Full of grace - gratia plena", which in the original Greek is 6,P"D4JTµXv0, "full of grace", and the grace is none other than the love of God; thus, in the end, we can translate this word: "beloved" of God (cf. Lk 1: 28). Origen observes that no such title had ever been given to a human being, and that it is unparalleled in all of Sacred Scripture (cf. In Lucam 6: 7).

As we continue to move through the Lenten season, let us look at our own hearts; we who are infinitely loved by God. "Dear Lord, whatever is your will for my life, let it be done unto ME, according to your Word."

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