Solemnity of the Annunciation
sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called
Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of
David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Hail,
you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled
at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel
said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You
will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name
Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The
Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign
over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this
be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The
Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will
overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and
she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is
impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be
to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
letter by Saint Leo the Great, Pope
mystery of man's reconciliation with God
assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the
debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was
joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that
we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus
Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.
He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature
of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we
mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took
to himself in order to restore it.
For in the Saviour there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced
and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because
he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our
He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our
humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though
invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things
he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of
compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God
had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.
Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the
throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Fatherís glory.
He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.
He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he
became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our
grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in
time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the
nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to
be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the
laws of death.
He who is true God is also true man. There is no falsehood in this unity
as long as the lowliness of man and the pre-eminence of God coexist in
As God does not change by his condescension, so man is not swallowed up
by being exalted. Each nature exercises its own activity, in communion
with the other. The Word does what is proper to the Word, the flesh
fulfils what is proper to the flesh.
One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to
injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Fatherís glory, so
the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.
One and the same person - this must be said over and over again - is
truly the Son of God and truly the son of man. He is God in virtue of
the fact that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God. He is man in virtue of the fact that
the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
greet you, Ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of God, Throne of Grace, miracle of
Almighty Power! I greet you, Sanctuary of the Most Holy Trinity and Queen of
the Universe, Mother of Mercy and refuge of sinners!
Most loving Mother,
attracted by your beauty and sweetness, and by your tender compassion, I
confidently turn to you, miserable as I am, and beg of you to obtain for me
from your dear Son the favor I request in this novena:
(Mention your request).
Obtain for me also, Queen
of heaven, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the grace to
imitate closely those virtues which you practiced so faithfully, especially
humility, purity and obedience. Above all, I beg you to be my Mother and
Protectress, to receive me into the number of your devoted children, and to
guide me from your high throne of glory.
Do not neglect my
petitions, Mother of Mercy! Have pity on me, and do not abandon me during
life or at the moment of my death. Amen.
(by Thomas Merton)
When the dim light, at Lauds, comes strike
Bellsong falls out of Heaven with a sound of glass.
Prayers fly in the mind like larks,
Thoughts hide in the height like hawks:
And while the country churches tell their blessings to the
Her slow words move,
(Like summer winds the wheat) her innocent love:
Desires glitter in her mind
Like morning stars:
Until her name is suddenly spoken
Like a meteor falling.
She can no longer hear shrill day
Sing in the east,
Nor see the lovely woods begin to toss their manes.
The rivers have begun to sing.
The little clouds shine in the sky like girls:
She has no eyes to see their faces.
Speech of an angel shines in the waters of
Rides like a sunburst on the hillsides of her heart.
And is brought home like harvests,
Hid in her house, and stored
Like the sweet summer's riches in our peaceful barns.
But in the world of March outside her
The farmers and the planters
Fear to begin their sowing, and its lengthy labor,
Where, on the brown, bare furrows,
The winter wind still croons as dumb as pain.