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Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord: Mary's Yes Invites Our Response

When Mary spoke those few words, human history was forever changed

"What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul that has been made pure. The Lord does not come in bodily form, for ´we no longer know Christ according to the flesh´, but He dwells in us spiritually and the Father takes up His abode with Him, the Gospel tells us. In this way the child Jesus is born in each of us." (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

The Angel appeared to Mary

The Angel appeared to Mary


CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - March 25 is the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord in the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar. This year, the Solemnity falls during Lent. Canon # 1251 of the Code of Canon Law reads "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday."

So, we do not fast - we feast on Friday. Why? Because the Solemnity takes precedence. It invites us into mystery. The mystery of Mary's cooperation in God's plan. Also, our cooperation in God's plan. In the midst of all of the challenges we face as Catholic Christians in a Culture which has forgotten God, we celebrate God's loving plan and the remember the heart of the Christian message, conversion through Jesus Christ. 

The great event of the Annunciation reveals the path to salvation and to cultural recovery. The little Virgin of Nazareth teaches us how to live our real lives in a real world! When the Angel of the Lord appeared, bearing the message and calling her to a special mission, she said "YES."  We must say "Yes" as well and believe that "nothing is impossible with God."  Let's consider her response to the message: "I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be to me according to your Word."  It is in these words that we discover the heart of the Christian vocation.  "What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul that has been made pure. The Lord does not come in bodily form, for ´we no longer know Christ according to the flesh´, but He dwells in us spiritually and the Father takes up His abode with Him, the Gospel tells us. In this way the child Jesus is born in each of us." Gregory of Nyssa When Mary spoke those words, human history was forever changed. They came from a deep spiritual reservoir within the heart of a young Jewish girl who was in love with the God of her fathers - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Mary´s "Yes" is called the Fiat:  in Latin, "Let it be done." Mary´s Fiat was spoken from a heart filled with love for God. In a Biblical context, "heart" is a word that means much more than the fleshy organ at the center of our chest cavity. It refers to our center, the core of each of us, the place where our deepest identity is rooted, and from which our fundamental choices about life are made. Mary´s words proceeded from a humble heart. This young woman was not full of herself, not self-protective, not cynical, she was emptied, in order to be filled. She was therefore able to completely surrender herself in love, to Love.  Her initial assent to the Angel Gabriel´s announcement reveals the very meaning of another Biblical word, "holy". holiness is not about looking pious.  It is about being selfless. Mary was holy, and she shows us the way to become holy, too.

In the original languages, the words in Holy Scripture which are translated into the English word "holy" mean set apart or consecrated, entirely dedicated to God´s service, given over to God and His worship.  If we want to be holy, we need to explore the meaning of these words and make them our own. We are also called to be set apart for the living God. We are to make a place for Him within ourselves and within the world. We are to bear His message through a lifestyle that radiates His love. It is only by being set apart and consecrated that our own personal histories can be truly transformed.  This happens through conversion, or "metanoia", which, in Greek, means "to change." Our hope for change, for becoming holy, is to open our lives to the One who is the source of all goodness and holiness, Jesus Christ. We are called to respond to His invitation, to say "Yes" to a relationship with Him.

This is what Mary´s Fiat is all about. In saying Yes to God, as Mary did, we are able to discover the path to conversion, to holiness, to authentic spirituality. Our call to embrace the Fiat and to make it our own is not a formula for easy spiritual growth, nor is it the first in a series of steps that lead to solving the problems of life. The spiritual life is a path, a Way, and it involves a continuing, ongoing walk with the Lord.

He has invited each of us into an intimate, personal, exchange of love. This kind of intimacy with a living, loving God is the interior meaning of Mary´s Fiat, her Magnificat, and her way of life. When we embrace Mary´s Prayer and make it our own, we allow the Love that Mary bore in her body to be incarnated in and through us, too. Each of us can say "Yes" to God, right now, wherever we are. Each of us can respond with our entire being, with a Fiat of surrendered love. When we do so, our positive response marks the beginning of a participation in the very life of the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We become sons and daughters of the Most High and enter into the life of the living God.  In Him we find our deepest identity, our real selves, through our participation in the One who made us, who redeems us, and who transforms us by His continual grace.

Conversion begins when we say Fiat with our words and our deeds. It introduces to us a new and dynamic way of living with God, and in God. As we lose ourselves in Him, we find ourselves again, made new and completed.  This holy exchange-our life for His-is the essence of the spiritual journey. It is not about power but powerlessness. It is not about increase but decrease. It is not about becoming greater but about becoming smaller. In short, true spirituality is about surrender.

Mary teaches us to stay afloat in the ocean of life, with all of its undertows. Mary´s way is to become an ark within, where the same God who became incarnate within her takes up His residence in us. He comes to dwell in all men and women who say "Yes" to Him. Mary invites us to participate in the ongoing incarnation of God´s Love, for the sake of world.

It is an invitation to live redemptively. The ongoing re-creative and redemptive work of God´s love continues through us as we learn how to become arks, or dwelling places, through which Incarnate Love comes alive for all those around us. We enter into Christ´s Incarnation as we respond the same way Mary did: "Behold the servant of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Thy word."

Mary, in her selflessness, was open to the angel´s visit. She recognized who was speaking. She listened, received and responded. In so doing, she shows us the way to respond to the Lord's call in our own lives. God initiates a relationship and we respond in surrender to Him. This dynamic, this heavenly road, leads to a dialogue, a conversation, a way of life. By saying Yes, through our own Fiat, we are set apart. Consecrated.  Made holy.  Mary shows us that way.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.

Keywords: Annunciation, Fiat, Mary, Marian, Feast of the Annunciation, Holiness, prayer, Feasting, Mother of God, Theotokos, Fasting, Deacon Keith Fournier



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1 - 9 of 9 Comments

  1. christie
    2 years ago

    Sweet Mother, gentle lady, heavenly Queen, How shall I address you today, the feast day in which we celelbrate your saying "Yes, thy will be done". By this assent Christ Jesus was conceived in your holy womb. In your spotless womb, Jesus was lain. The most marvellous miracle of the Son of God made man for our salvation. Mother, you embodied in you the God-man, and to the world was born Jesus Christ. Wonder Lady yet to each of us you are our sweet, loving and intimate mother, you were told that nothing is impossible with God. Your old cousin, Elizabeth, thought to be sterile conceived in her womb John the Baptist. Give the gift of Fiat, of firm belief, one that can transform my very being. There is no need for me to be dependent on another human being to determine my moods or happiness. It is Jesus who lives in me, by virtue of my Baptism, who will make me happy. Grant me true trust in your Beloved Son. Give me the firm belief that you will grant a miraculous cure for all children born with fragile X. This most desirable gift and grace I ask of you on the feast day of the Annunciation.I also thank you for getting the late amendment done for my students sitting for an important exam. Please continue to bless them and grant them fabulous resuts.One word here, Mother and this is also important. Receive Mother Victoria Gonzales into Heaven, present her soul to your beloved Son and grant her everlasting happiness. Amen.

  2. tony coffey
    3 years ago

    no mention of the angel gabriels salutation to our lady.

    HAIL FULL OF GRACE, OUR LORD IS IN THEE, HOLY ART THOU AMONG WOMEN

  3. Florita
    3 years ago

    I was looking for something to help me feel better when I got online, and I initially got on my diocese webpage and from there found this website. As I read this article I knew I had found my answer. See, in a week I go to a conference on the Blessed Virgin Mary, and for over a week now, so many things have made me feel sad, depressed, and lonely. I didn't get chosen for something I wanted, my customers at work got irrate with me, my own co-workers talk about me, and yes, even some church members belittle me when I try my best to do for Christ. Worst of all, I think I am getting on my grown children's nerves! But I read this article and I realize now that I don't care about any of those obstacles, because that is what they are. My reason for living is to live for Christ! I then asked myself, "If Jesus lives in me, so does the Father, and the Holy Spirit, then why am I letting myself get depressed over all these things? Jesus lives in me spiritually, and if the Blessed Virgin Mother allowed herself to be used for God's magnificient work, then I should also be like her and say, "Lord, let your will be done in my life, I too am your handmaiden." Maybe I am suppossed to be humbled thru all these obstacles that I've faced so that God's will can be accomplished in my life. Maybe I too need to be emptied of all my pride and be made humble like our Blessed Mother was. Thank you so much for this article. This is exactly what I needed in my life at this moment.

  4. Mary42
    3 years ago

    The most glorious Gift Mary gave us by her Fiat is that, the Holy Spirit united the Divinity of God with her and through her, Jesus received our Humanity which He needed to offer to His Father on the Cross to redeem us. Mary gave God the Body which, just like our own bodies was sustained by His Blood which He poured on the Cross and saved mankind. And she is the only One Holy Person who Satan can never approach. Yes, Satan argued with God about the fidelity of Job to God. Yes, Satan was proud enough to dare test Jesus in the wilderness and during His Passion. But Satan can never, ever go near Our Holy Mother Mary. How blessed are we to have such a Loving Mother. We should always call onto her to intercede for us and to pray for us, Now and at the Hour of Our Death.

  5. Pete Brady
    3 years ago

    Too often do I post my comments on subjects that are primarily concerned with the economy and politics. Our Feast of the Annunciation, however, is a day that goes to the core of what it means to be a Christian, a Catholic. I do not know if it is stated anywhere as to how close the Incarnation followed on the Annunciation and our Mother Mary's simple "yes" but I suppose it can certainly be presumed that at the instant of her "yes" Jesus, the Word made flesh, was conceived. As the Incarnation is the "distinctive sign of Christian faith" (CCC 463) I would certainly like to celebrate the Annunciation in its fullness. It is the epitome of the natural law, which is man's participation in the eternal law. Mary, for all man, speaking/participating through her "yes" to make the eternal law/plan of Jesus becoming man a reality onto the salvation of all man. I cannot think of anything more full of love, hope, and joy than her "yes." Thank you Mary, thank you Jesus.

  6. susan
    3 years ago

    I went online hoping to find an "Annunciation" article. So glad I found yours. It was exactly what I needed to hear! Mary is our Mother. We are her children. We are to imitate Our Mother in all that she does; and just as a mother teaches her children what they are to do, so is Our Mother Mary teaching us how we must respond to God's call. This mystery is not just about what happened to Mary, but it is instruction and Light on how we are to respond to our call. Every one of us is being called to some unique vocation particularly OUR OWN. I have been called to do something, and for years I have been saying, "How can this be? ME? I'm just a nobody and I can't do what you're asking?" Every one of us is being called to live out our God Given Purpose in this world; and "yes" each one of us DOES have a Divine Given Purpose but sad-to-say many of us are responding like me! Yet, notice that God's Word tells us not to fear, but to rejoice, that the Lord has chosen us. Who else would He choose but HIS OWN? Here's the best part. The angel tells not only Mary but also to us that there is no need to fear because THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL COME UPON YOU, AND THE POWER OF THE MOST HIGH WILL OVERSHADOW YOU." Yes, we can't do this on our own, but His Word tells us that THE HOLY SPIRIT will do it THROUGH US if we just say "Yes" and believe. "Mary believed that the Word said to her would be fulfilled " IN HER AND THROUGH HER. We, too, must believe that this is OUR ANNUNCIATION also. The HOLY SPIRIT IS announcing to us our call and giving us light on how we are to respond just like OUR MOTHER did. We are to let HIM to the rest.

  7. Cecilia Njeri Kuria
    3 years ago

    A great article. It has expounded more on the 1st Joyful mystery, opening our eyes. May Jesus come into our lives today -we say YES.

  8. teody
    3 years ago

    thanks. it touches heart and soul. God keep :)

  9. jh
    3 years ago

    Beautiful article.

    I am grateful when we can learn more about our faith and how to live our life as followers of Christ.

    Thank you, Deacon.

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