Beautiful History of the Annunciation of the Lord

Today, 25 March, the Catholic Liturgy celebrates the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, when the Angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary the Incarnation of the Word.

Newsroom (25/03/2022 13:00, Gaudium Press) The Annunciation of the Lord is so named because on that occasion, an Angel announced to Our Lady the coming of the Son of God. The Incarnation of the Son of God was preceded by an announcement made by an Angel for the following reasons:

1) So that the order of reparation corresponded to the order of prevarication: Just as the devil tempted the woman to lead her to doubt, then to go from doubt to consent, and finally to go from consent to fall, the Angel’s announcement to the Virgin was to stimulate her faith and lead Her instead from faith to consent, and then from consent to the Conception of the Son of God.

2) Because of the ministry of the Angel – for the Angel was the minister and slave of the Most High – and the Blessed Virgin having been chosen to be the Mother of God, it was most fitting that the minister should serve the lady, and it was proper that the Annunciation should be made to the Blessed Virgin by the ministry of an Angel.

3) To make reparation for the fall of the angels: If the Incarnation was not only intended to repair the fall of man, but also to repair the ruin of the angels, then Angels should not be excluded from it. As the woman is not excluded from the knowledge of the mystery of the Incarnation and Resurrection, so too should be the knowledge of the angelic messenger. That is why God announced both mysteries to women through an Angel: the Incarnation to the Virgin Mary, and the Resurrection to Mary Magdalene.

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Our Lady’s vow of chastity and her marriage to St. Joseph

The Blessed Virgin remained from the age of three to fourteen years in the Temple with other virgins, and took a vow of chastity until God should direct Her otherwise. As is fully related in the story of the Nativity, Joseph took Her as his wife after receiving a divine revelation and the confirmation when his staff blossomed a pure lily, proving God’s choice of Joseph as the spouse of the Mother of God. To make arrangements for their marriage, Joseph went to Bethlehem, where he had been born, while Mary returned to her parents’ home in Nazareth. The name ‘Nazareth’ means flower or blossom. St. Bernard comments: “the Flower wished to be born of a flower, in a flower, and in the season of flowers”.

It was in Nazareth, therefore, that the Angel appeared to Her and greeted Her saying: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed among women“. St Bernard explains, “the example of St. Gabriel and the movement of St. John [the Baptist] in his mother’s womb, invite us also to greet Mary for our benefit.”

Why did Our Lady have to marry?

According to St. Bernard, “it was necessary for Mary to marry Joseph so that in this way the mystery was hidden from the demons, since her spouse Joseph affirmed her virginity, and because the Virgin’s modesty and reputation were safeguarded.”

Moreover, Our Lord Jesus Christ desired that His Mother should marry:

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1. To allow dishonour to be erased in women of every condition, whether single, married, or widowed, a threefold condition through which the Virgin Herself passed.

2. That She might receive assistance from her husband.

3. To prove the importance of marriage.

4. To establish for the Son the genealogy of the husband. (EPC)

Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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