Sunday, March 25, 2007

Imagine Our Lady's Joy at the Annunciation
(March 25)

Imagine the joy in the Heart of Mother Mary, as She is told that She was chosen to be the Mother of the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior and Redeemer of the world! Imagine what bliss to know that the Lord of all things was dwelling in Her womb! Our Lady always wanted to be the 'Handmaid of the Lord' (Luke 1:35) in His holy house (temple), but now She is told that She will be that Temple, housing the Lord of lords, the King of kings!

Imagine the smile that came upon Our Lady's lips as She accepting this role and dignity of being the Mother of the Redeemer! We could look at numerous paintings and sculptures of this moment of joy, but let the Holy Spirit stir your imagination and contemplate that beautiful smile on the holy face of Mother Mary. We could do this by devoutly praying and meditating on the first decade of the Franciscan Crown: "The Immaculate Virgin Mary joyfully conceived Jesus by the Holy Ghost."

Imagine Our Lady, alone in that small, simple room at Nazareth. As Her usual custom, She was praying to God the Father to send the Promised One, who would save His chosen people; and that She would love to serve as a handmaid. the woman who would be chosen to be His Mother. With Her eyes closed, suddenly She feels a presence near Her. Startled, as She opens Her eyes, She sees an Angel, who is smiling at Her. But this is no ordinary Angel, it is the Archangel Gabriel, who has been sent by Almighty God with the most important message since the beginning of the world!

"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." (Luke 1:28)

Imagine how sweet and full of respect those words of salutation were! Imagine what humble thoughts are racing through Our Lady's mind as She listens and questions this holy apparition! "How can this be, since I know not man," (Luke 1:34) She exclaims, Her Heart pounding with excitement.

"The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee." (Luke 1:35)

Imagine Our Lady's dignity as She responds like a Queen, full of joy, the joy of all ages. Mary gives Her Fiat: "Be it done unto me according to thy word." (Luke 1:38) Immediately Christ becomes present in her womb, as three drops of Her Immaculate blood leave Most Pure Heart, descending into Her womb, where instantly the Holy Spirit conceives the Body, Blood and Soul of Christ Jesus, and hypostatically joins the divinity; True God and True Man!

Imagine and contemplate that the God whom the universe cannot contain is housed in that tabernacle of flesh, Mother Mary's tiny womb! This is the chosen time, longed for by the Holy Angels; the chosen people Israel; and by the Blessed Trinity Itself! Now the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us! (John 1:14)

Imagine the bliss Mary experienced as She received this tremendous honor. She was now True Mother of God, and the Holy One beneath Her Heart is the Lord of heaven and earth, Son of God and Redeemer; True light of the world! Let us share in Our Lady's bliss, especially when we receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, exclaiming with Her: "Now He is here, right here within me. And He is my Jesus, to love and cherish. O God, what joy and bliss is mine!"

Deacon John