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Congregation for the Clergy: Prepare the Cave of our Hearts for His Birth

By Congregation for the Clergy
December 18th, 2011
Catholic Online (

The greatest event in the whole history of the world was the Incarnation of the eternal Word by whom the world was redeemed and peace was restored between God and men. Our Lady was chosen as his instrument for this tremendous event.

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - The liturgy of the fourth Sunday of Advent immerses us fully in the mystery of the nativity story, preparing us to recognise the coming of the Lord into the world after waiting in the virginal womb of Mary.  The God who created all things, the Lord of time and history, manifests himself in the humble stable of Bethlehem.

Most Holy Mary - the virgin of silence and of listening, the virgin of waiting - is at the heart of today's Gospel reading because it is through her that the Lord manifests himself to the world.  Mary becomes the living temple of the Lord.  For all Christians She represents the unsurpassable model of how to welcome the Word made flesh so that each of us can become, like her,  a "dwelling place" for the Lord.

Long before the birth of Jesus, as we hear in the first reading, David had decided to construct a temple to the Lord.  God, however, spoke to him through the prophet Nathan, saying that he himself fixed his dwelling in the midst of his people and that he had also secured a long line of descendants for David (cfr. 2 Samuel 10).  This ancient plan of God's love - making his home among us - now becomes "what scripture has predicted, and it is all part of the way the eternal God wants things to be. through Jesus Christ" (Romans 16: 25-27).  It is realised through the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God.

The extraordinary encounter between Mary and the Angel happened in everyday life, and it is the image of the permanent encounter that God wants to have with humanity - and with each one of us.  The announcement: "Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you" (Luke 1:28) reveals the fullness of grace present in the Virgin Mary.  This is why the great Daughter of Sion rejoices - because God loves her!

The Virgin Mary wants us all to be united with her joy at the coming of the Son and the message that His coming brings.  It is a message of unconditional, personal, freely given love that is able to change our lives, transforming them in the present and bringing fourth new horizons that enable us to participate in Eternal life.

The Angel reassures Mary: "Do not be afraid" (Luke 1:30).  Do not be afraid of the great plans of God.  Like Mary we should not be disturbed by the plans that God has for our lives.  We are called to be persevering, trusting and ultimately as obedient as she was.  "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me" (Luke 1:38) Only such a radical entrustment, placing nothing before His Divine love and Will, will allow us to be fulfilled according to all God's plans.

We can feel truly 'chosen' and grateful to the Virgin Mary, because once again we will see the wonderful 'event of love and grace, which shines in the heart of all humanity.' 

As St Louis de Montfort wrote:  "The greatest event in the whole history of the world was the Incarnation of the eternal Word by whom the world was redeemed and peace was restored between God and men. Our Lady was chosen as his instrument for this tremendous event, and it was put into effect when she was greeted with the Angelic Salutation." 

"By the Angelic Salutation God became man, a virgin became the Mother of God, sin has been pardoned, grace been given to us.  Finally the Angelic Salutation is the rainbow in the sky, a sign of the mercy and grace which God has given to the world.  And the Angel's greeting to our Lady is one of the most beautiful hymns we could possibly sing to the glory of the Most High."

"So also do we repeat the same salutation to thank the most Blessed Trinity for the immeasurable goodness shown to us.  We praise God the Father because he so loved the world that he gave us his only Son as our Saviour. We bless the Son because he deigned to leave heaven and come down upon earth, because he was made man and redeemed us. We glorify the Holy Spirit because he formed our Lord's pure body in the womb of our Lady, that body which was the victim for our sins." (St Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary nos. 45-46).

With these sentiments let us go without fear to the 'cavern of our hearts', as with gratitude, wonder and love, with the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph, we await the birth of Our Lord and Saviour.

Citations of

2Sam 7,1-5.8b-12.14a.16:  
Rom 16,25-27:   
Lc 1,26-38:

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