Feast of the Annunciation

March 25

The feast of the Annunciation celebrates when the Blessed Virgin Mary learns that she is to become the Mother of God.  At this time, Mary is a young teenage girl, espoused to Joseph.   It is in the town of Nazareth that the angel Gabriel appears to her.  This we learn from the Gospel of Luke.  We also learn that Mary is “troubled” at the sight and greeting of the angel.  For what the angel is asking of Mary is astounding and one of the greatest mysteries of our faith.  God wishes for Mary to become the mother of Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah.  Mary is not troubled at the notion of becoming the mother of Jesus, she is troubled at the particulars of just how she is to become His mother.

Theologians tell us that even though Mary was married to Joseph, she had taken a vow of virginity as a gift of herself to God.  Mary’s question to the angel about the manner of conception makes this clear.  Gabriel puts Mary’s mind at ease when he tells her that she will be overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit and conceive the child.  In other words, Mary will conceive this child in a most singular and miraculous manner.  After hearing this, Mary takes a moment to consider all that has been said.  It is in this moment that the faith of Mary in God shines through.  Mary accepts what the angel has told her, she believes with her whole being that God can accomplish such things, and in this moment she believes in her heart through her great faith in God.  It is also at this moment that the whole of creation pauses in silence; what will her response be?  As we know from St. Luke’s gospel, Mary says yes…” let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).  As a young teenage girl Mary, utters in all humility the words that literally bring salvation onto the world.

We too can learn from Mary and her experience.  Through Mary’s humble and selfless act, we can learn to be open to the will of God in our lives.  Let us all pause and listen to God and discern what His will is for us in our lives.  Like Mary, let us all respond to God in faith and humility.

Fatima Conference