MARY, OUR MOTHER

Sunday, March 25, 2007



At today's Angelus, the Holy Father spoke about the Incarnation of Christ through the Annunciation to Mary:


Focusing his comments on the Annunciation, the Pope began by telling those present that "The Annunciation, found in the beginning of the Gospel of Luke, was a humble, hidden event. Nobody saw it and nobody knew about it except Mary."

Nevertheless, he emphasized, the Annunciation "is at the same time a decisive event in human history."

With this event, the Word of God became incarnate and a "new era of history began." The Holy Father drew a parallel between Mary's "Yes" to the Angel and Jesus' "Yes" to His Father's Will, saying, "The 'Yes' of Mary is a perfect reflection of the Christ's 'Yes' when He enters the world."

This "Yes" can be found in the Letter to the Hebrew's interpretation of Psalm 39, he continued, where it is written that, "I come, O God, to do Thy Will." Because of this, "The Annunciation is also a Christological Feast Day, because it celebrates a central mystery of Christ: His Incarnation."

According to the Pope, "Mary's response to the Angel is undertaken by the Church, which is called to make Christ present throughout history." Additionally, the "Yes" of the Saints, "especially the martyrs," renews the "Yes" of Jesus and Mary. This is why the Church chooses March 24th to "celebrate the Day of Prayer and Penance for Martyr Missionaries."

The Martyr Missionaries, he continued, "are the 'hope of the world' because they testify that Christ's love is stronger than violence and hate." Christian martyrs do not seek to be killed, "but they are ready to give their lives to remain faithful to the Gospel."

The Pope concluded his Angelus address by asking the faithful to contemplate "the Madonna who, on Calvary, is a sign of the 'Yes' given in Nazareth." He then prayed for her intercession, "so that the Church may be faithful to its mission and give the world courageous testimony of the love of God."

Below is an excerpt from Saint Bernard of Clairvaux:


Annunciation and Mary's Fiat--

St Bernard

The Whole World

Awaits Mary's Response

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Bernard,Catholic Church, Love, Doctor of the Church

This excerpt from a homily In Praise of the Virgin Mother by St. Bernard (Hom. 4, 8-9: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 4 [1966], 53-54) is used in the Roman Office of Readings on December 20, in the fourth week of Advent, but it is also a great reading for the Solemnity (Feast) of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25. Bernard dramatically celebrates Mary's Fiat, or statement of consent in response to the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel, behold the handmaiden of the Lord; "let it me done to me according to your word."

You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.


The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.


Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.


Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.


Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.

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