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THE ANNUNCIATION

THE ANNUNCIATION

When we discovered this article written by Fr. Skelly in the March 1953 Miraculous Medal magazine, we had to share it with you. Not only does the subject matter tie perfectly to the Feasts we celebrate this month, Fr. Skelly does a beautiful job linking the two Annunciations. Have a blessed Feast of St. Joseph (March 19) and Feast of the Annunciation (March 25).


THE ANNUNCIATION
By Fr. Joseph A. Skelly, CM

“The Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth.”

He came, God’s shining ambassador, to a lowly dwelling, filling it with the glory of his presence. He came to a kneeling child, “a virgin espoused to a man whose name was called Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.”

In the darkness of the Babylonian captivity, Gabriel had appeared to the Jewish prophet Daniel, to explain the seventy weeks of years that must elapse before the birth of the Redeemer.

Now this same heavenly messenger is come again, bearing from God the most tremendous message ever communicated to a creature: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

Even God in His infinite power waited upon those trembling, virginal lips, for the words that were destined to storm the ramparts of heaven. For, as St. Thomas Aquinas has written, it was God’s Will that the redemption of mankind should hang upon the consent of the Virgin Mary.

“Fear not, Mary,” the angel reassured the shrinking maid, “for thou hast found grace with God.”

Very gently Gabriel unfolds his message, setting out the divine plan for the salvation of the race: “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 of His kingdom there shall be no end.”

Yet Mary, this lowly child, this meek girl who has given all her tender years to God, will not yet utter the momentous word of assent. She has vowed to God forever her chaste young body. “And Mary said to the angel: ‘How shall this be done, because I know not man?’

“And the angel answering, said to her: ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God … Because no word shall be impossible with God.'”

And Mary, in that bright and blessed moment giving her will unreservedly to her heavenly Father and Spouse, made answer: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word.”

At the moment of the Annunciation, according to Catholic tradition, Mary, though espoused to Joseph, was still in her mother’s dwelling. Conscious of the ineffable dignity that had been conferred upon her, and with the joy in her heart bursting forth in the inspired music of the Magnificat, she journeyed over the hills to the home of her cousin Elizabeth, who soon would become the mother of John the Precursor.

It was only after three months that Mary “returned to her own house.” It was then that the good Joseph, her spouse, was troubled because “she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost.”

Once more the divine messenger, the angel of the Lord, flashes down from heaven, to appear in sleep before the good carpenter. “Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For He shall save His people from their sins.”

And Joseph, “rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him.”

Thus began the epic of divine love, the Redemption. Thus began that tender relationship, in the humble home at Nazareth, which has been the marvel of all ages, the pattern for all Christian homes.

It is not strange that we keep the two feasts of the Annunciation and of St. Joseph less than a week apart. For Joseph’s whole, gentle, laborious life was consecrated to Mary and Jesus. When the Angel Gabriel “departed from her,” he left Joseph in his stead.


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