Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Annuntiatio Christi

"Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end."

The Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, is probably one of the most important dates in the Church calendar. It celebrates the actual Incarnation of Our Savior made flesh in the womb of His mother, Mary. The Annunciation is the beginning of Jesus entering into His human nature. Through His mother He becomes a member of the human race.The religious calender is divided up in a way that celebrates the annunciation exactly 9 months before the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. It also comes in the middle of lent, showing how God operates out of time. Our human instinct is to look at things in chronological order, whereas, God doesn't work like that so our calender is made up around no certain timeline, it all overlaps and repeats.

Mary's response to the angel, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word," is a statement of humble faith, and a model for how we are to respond when God calls us to do what seems impossible. We should follow God with blind obedience, and commit all of ourselves to Him. When he presents us with grueling tasks and suffering, we are to embrace those, as graces from God! The more suffering one endures, the closer one is with God.

As hard as it may be, everything that we endure, suffer, enjoy, feel, etc. must be offered up to God in sacrifice. I do not mean for us to run out looking for suffering, or to become a "victim" of suffering (to dwell in self pity, and only see how you were/or weren't persecuted). That is an issue that I think is one of society's biggest problems. The victimization of people. People tend to make themselves victims because it is "an easy way out," or out of pure self-centered laziness. In doing so, they become prideful, and won't come face-to-face with the reality of the situation or the trials that God has set out for us. They put that all on someone else. We each have a cross to bear. All of which make us grow closer to God.

Which brings me to another point. (I've been thinking about this for a while now.) When we endure suffering, we must remember that this suffering that we uphold may not only be for our own sake, or our own growth, but possibly for the growth of others. That in its very self is an act of selfishness. See how easy it is to fall back into the pit of sin?! When we endure suffering for our own sake, we believe God is bestowing that upon ourselves. It could very well be that we are enduring this for others, or to help others in a way we as humans can't clearly see all of the time. That is why I said (earlier) that we should follow and uphold God's will with blind obedience! For we do not know the plans that He has in store, or in what way they may affect us or others around us.

We should all embrace the suffering, trials and crosses that God gives us with open arms. To find peace and joy in this suffering. Even though it's extremely hard to do this no doubt. Yet, that is what God calls each of us to do. Each trial we should humbly and blindly take up as an act of not only faith, but love for God. Mary's response to the angel is a perfect example of how we should act in accordance to God's will. This response is called Mary's fiat, meaning "let it be done." Our motto too should be, "Let it it be done according to God's will." So that we may be able to devote all our life to God. In the same way that our Virgin Mother offered herself up fully and blindly to God's plan, and the salvation of the world.

Let us pray to God for the strength and courage to approach our daily sufferings with open arms, and to offer it before Him out of obedience and love. May we see His love and graces given to us each day, and may we receive them with joy and thanksgiving. Amen.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has looked with favor upon His lowly servant,
For henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For The mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
He Has mercy on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,and exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things;and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has come to the help of His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His family forever. Amen.