March 25, 2020
A happy and most joyful feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary! On this day, a first-class feast for the Church, we commemorate the divine message which the angel Gabriel brought to Our Lady in Nazareth and the wondrous moment of the Incarnation, when the Son of God became the Son of Mary. Our Lady’s response is one which we should carry in our hearts every day: Ecce ancílla Dómini, fiat mihi secúndum verbum tuum. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.” Her words are included in the great Angelus prayer, which the Church recites daily morning, noon and night (6am, 12pm, 6pm) to recall constantly to our hearts and minds the glorious events of this day. You can find the text of the Angelus at the bottom of this post.
An interesting aspect of Our Lady’s response and her actions directly following the Annunciation is the immediacy with which she responded. The conversation between her and St. Gabriel was remarkably short, and however overwhelming the task of being the Mother of God might have appeared, she needed no time to think it over. She saw God’s will and she did it without hesitancy. And, moreover, learning from the angel that her cousin Elizabeth was with child, she went “with haste” into the hill country to visit and assist her. May Our Lady grant us her alacrity in doing God’s will and drive far from us the sin of sloth that can creep up on us so subtly at times. May we draw strength from her example and energy for the accomplishment of our duties and resolutions. Let us never tire of doing good, as St. Paul says in his letter to the Galatians (6:9).
Here at the Missive we pray today especially for our own work. The word “missive” comes from the Latin word “to send,” as we see in the first words of today’s Gospel: Missus est ángelus Gábriel a Deo in civitátem Galilaéae… We celebrated the feast of St. Gabriel yesterday, as is most fitting. In his particular role as God’s messenger he brought many dispatches to humankind throughout salvation history, such as when he visited the prophet Daniel to tell him when the Savior would come, or when he brought Zechariah the news that his wife Elizabeth would bear St. John the Baptist. But the most glorious message of them all was the one he brought Our Lady on this day. It was the greatest and most blessed missive ever sent, and we pray that, through the intercession of the Mother of God and of His messenger St. Gabriel, our own humble “missives” will always bring you joy, strength and hope.
Don’t forget that if you cannot attend Mass today, there are live and recorded Masses available in abundance at LiveMass! May God bless you on this great feast day! +
O God, Who didst will that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an Angel, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliant people, that we who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee.
– the Collect for the Feast of the Annunciation
℣. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
℟. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
℣. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
℟. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
℣. And the Word was made flesh.
℟. And dwelt amongst us.
℣. 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.