Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 20
The Annunciation of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary
“A Feast in the Fast”
It’s unfortunate that Mary is either over-religionized or over-ignored in the Church. However, in the early Church, preachers and theologians saw prophecies of Mary everywhere in the Old Testament. Why? Because if Jesus was miraculously born from a Virgin, then this miracle has great significance just like the miracles of the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. So, why wouldn’t God have revealed this Virgin-birth prophecy everywhere in the Old Testament like he did with Jesus’ other life events? Thus, today’s Isaiah prophecy is fulfilled in Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 1:22-23). Today, is the Feast of the Annunciation (old-timey English for “announcement”). This feast always falls on March 25th because it’s nine months before December 25th, the Incarnation aka Christmas. It celebrates the archangel Gabriel’s glorious announcement to the Virgin Mary that she would miraculously conceive and give birth to the Incarnate Son of God (Lk 1:26-38). The marriage of this feast day and our Lenten fast inspires two points. First, Lent is about saying “no” to sin. However, the Annunciation is about saying “yes” to God, in the same way that Mary said “yes” to God and bore the Son of God (Lk 1:38). What better way to spiritually grow than to say both “no” to sin, and “yes” to God on this Annunciation during Lent! Second, notice the two names given to Mary’s son: Jesus (Lk 1:31), which means God saves us; and Immanuel, which means God with us (Is 7:14, c.f.: Mt 1:23). Thus, saying “yes” to God, is really inviting God to redeem us from our sins and be with us forever. So, may this Feast in our Fast inspire us to say “yes” to God so that we can be redeemed from our sins daily, and ultimately live with Christ forever.
We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts, that we who have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.