Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Virtues of the Annunciation

Ave, gratia plena, Dominus tecum

In today’s feast, the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church celebrates the Incarnation of Our Savior. Recorded in Luke’s Gospel, is the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Mary: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (Lk 1:28). The Word is made flesh in the womb of His mother, Mary.

Inspired by this narrative of St. Luke, let us enter into the dispositions of Mary. She is recollected in solitude when the angel approaches and says to her the words repeated in every Hail Mary. Mary’s reaction to this angelic visitor is one of humility. She is ‘troubled’, that is, astonished at such an unusual greeting addressed to her.

fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum

Then Mary gives her ‘fiat’: "Let it be done to me according to thy word" (Lk 1:38). This is the only proper response to God’s will.

The Angelus is a devotion that commemorates the Annunciation. This beautiful prayer is traditionally said three times a day: in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. In the past, this corresponded to the sound of a bell. The prayer consists of three Hail Mary’s and verses that come from the Gospel narrative. The prayer gets its name from the first word of the verse: “The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary”.

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord:
Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary . . .

And the Word was made Flesh:
And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary . . .

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

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