Today we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. Nine months from now we’ll commemorate Jesus’s birth. Today we commemorate the conception of Jesus. We also celebrate Mary’s “yes” to the Angel Gabriel, despite her confusion and uncertainty of the angel’s prediction that she would bare a child that would be called the son of the Most High. Together with Jesus, Mary is the link between heaven and earth. She is the human being who best, after Jesus, exemplifies the possibilities of human existence. She shows how an ordinary human being can reflect God in the ordinary circumstances of life. She exemplifies what the Church and every member of the Church is meant to become. She is the ultimate product of the creative and redemptive power of God. She manifests what the Incarnation is meant to accomplish for all of us. Today’s feast reminds us of the wonder of God’s freely given love and God’s design for each of us.
The biblical account of the Annunciation is in the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke, 26-56. Here is recorded the “angelic salutation” of Gabriel to Mary, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee” (Lk 1:28), and Mary’s response to God’s will, “Let it be done to me according to thy word”.
This “angelic salutation” is the origin of the “Hail Mary” prayer of the Rosary and the Angelus (the second part of the prayer comes from the words of salutation of Elizabeth to Mary at the Visitation).