Reflection on Solemnity of the Annunciation

Observed on March 25, 2021

reflection incarnation
Fra Bartolomeo- Incarnation of Christ - Wikimedia Commons

Father Jose Antonio Senovilla offers Exaudi’s readers this reflection on the Celebration of the Annunciation, to be observed on March 25, 2021.

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There are different kinds of people, and different times and moments, including key moments involving key individuals. Today we are reflecting on a key moment on which the whole of human history pivoted. It could all have turned out differently but, thank God, it happened as it did. It was the moment in which God asked a creature the most important question, which would affect the before and after of mankind. On the answer of an unknown young girl, in a remote corner of the world, depended the life of all human beings of all times. A heavenly messenger asked Mary of Nazareth the question that in essence was: “Do you accept to be the Mother of the Messiah, the Son of God?”

It’s unthinkable that Mary would have said no because we now know Her and all that happened after; however, we cannot but rejoice and thank Her eternally for having said “yes.” Her “Fiat,” “let it be done unto me according to your word,” became humanity’s answer to its Creator. We were all there and there, we could all be saved. Therein lies our Hope.

That moment was already announced in chapter 3 of Genesis, after the great disaster that brought evil and its consequences into the world. God respects man, also when he is bent on not being helped and is mistaken. However, God solves situations by bringing good out of the greatest evils. And God made His decision: “I will send my Son, who will become Man in the womb of a Virgin, and He will save them.

For that marvel to become a reality the free and fully conscious decision of the creature was necessary — of the woman called to be the Mother of the Son of God made Man. And the Angel appeared to Her. At first, she was frightened, but quickly regained her peace realizing where that light and voice came from; she listened attentively, asked simply, and trusted fully, saying her “yes.” And the Son of God came down to earth and became one of us, and the whole of Heaven sighed with relief. And the earth trembled. The announced hour had arrived and with her “yes,” Mary, the maiden of Nazareth, saved us from disaster. Every day millions of hearts remember that moment at noon. And, as evening fell, the Word was made flesh in Mary’s most pure womb. Redemption was on the way, in nine months’ time, the Child would be born in Bethlehem.

When God calls us, each of us must say” yes.” God has a plan for each and all and He makes it known. We must be prepared. We will understand if we truly wish to understand. Perhaps an Angel won’t come (since God became man, He usually speaks through other men), but He will make it known to us. It’s best to say to Him now: “Tell me what you want from me and I will say ‘yes.’” That’s what Mary did repeatedly, even before Gabriel’s apparition. She sought God’s will with all her heart, not her own but God’s plans. She sought and she found, and she was up to His plan. So she was happy and able to sing that most beautiful song — the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). This is why we are talking about her now. That is why we trust her more every day. She doesn’t fail; she didn’t fail at that fundamental moment, and she will never fail.

Saint Joseph followed Mary’s way: he sought, he trusted, and sought again, he listened and set out immediately, as soon as he received a message (Matthew2:13). That’s why Jesus and Mary were safe. God the Father knew who He was choosing to take care of His Son made a Child and the Child’s Mother. So Saint Joseph will also help us to find the way, to say “yes,” and to continue to be faithful to that “yes” until the end of our life — faithful like him, faithful with the faithful Virgin.

We said earlier that, since God became man, He usually speaks to men through other men. Once, in Moscow, a lady asked me if I would accompany her to a church. At first, I thought she was asking me to teach her Christian doctrine; however, her request was far more basic” she was asking me to accompany her physically to go into a church because she didn’t feel worthy to do so. I was moved. She knew nothing, but in her heart, she venerated God profoundly. What a lesson!

We all need help, more help, and more profound help for the more important issues of life. It is key to know the mission God has given each one in this world. The Virgin had been chosen to be the Mother of the Saviour. All of us also have a unique and important role to play in the task of this world’s salvation. Concretely, in what does it consist, how can I understand it well, where will I find the strength to say “yes” to launch myself in the adventure. This is the key to our life. Who will help us?

The Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, will help us, He is the one in charge most directly. This is how we attempt to understand it in the unfathomable mystery of the Trinity, of our sanctification. We can invoke Him and ask Him for help. There are many prayers to the Holy Spirit asking for light. Many of us pray this very nice and profound prayer, which we learned from Saint Josemaria Escriva: Come, Oh Holy Spirit! Illumine my understanding, to know your commands; to strengthen my heart against the snares of the enemy, to inflame my will . . . ’ve heard your voice and I don’t want to harden myself and resist You, saying: later …  tomorrow … Nunc coepi! Now! — as tomorrow might not be mine. Oh Spirit of truth and wisdom, Spirit of understanding and counsel, Spirit of joy and peace! I will what You will, I love because You love, I will what You will, I love when You so will . . .

Mary, full of the Holy Spirit, already had us in her heart at the moment of her Fiat in the Annunciation. She understood that the Son she would conceive in her womb was coming to save us. At that point, She began to be our Mother, although She received the title from her Son, at the foot of the Cross.

Saint Joseph will also help us. He took care of Jesus and Mary as no one did or could do ever. He was God’s chosen one to care for them, and now he can take good care of us. It’s his mission from Heaven. Like Jesus, he did everything well. He sought and lived faithfully the very difficult mission God entrusted to him, and in doing so, he found untold happiness. He fell in love with Mary and respected her with his whole heart, she who was the most blessed among women. He took care of the Child and his Mother as no one could, in most difficult circumstances, which could ever be faced. He did not stay in his apparent failures (the Child was lost and found only on the third day!), seeing in that also the Will of the Most High. He worked well and joyfully and had the humility to teach the Son of God how to work. His heart was most pure, full of genuine love. He died in Jesus’ arms, cared for by Mary. Saint Joseph is a Saint on another echelon. He can help us to faithfully follow God’s will until death.

Our Guardian Angel also has a role to play in this endeavor. He knows us very well, he has been charged by God to look after us and he is very effective. He has always been by our side and can defend us from any danger if we so will. He can help us to win any battle. As Tobias, we can ask him to show us the way that God has prepared for us.

These are all aids from Heaven. But on earth, we can also find those who can help us. Members of our family, teachers, friends . . . A priest who knows and understands us, who prays for us. A friend who can help us to go deepen our Christian life, and to whom we can open our heart, express our doubts  . . . As in the Gospel, as in the Acts of the Apostles . . . the same way.

All this will help us on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Son of God, to thank with deeds and truly Mary’s “yes,” which was the beginning of the fulfillment of the divine promises of Redemption. All this will help us to collaborate with Mary in the exciting task of salvation for which the Son of God came into the world, on a day like today, the blessed fruit of her womb, Jesus.