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On the Annunciation

In the waning hours of this great Solemnity I wanted to offer a couple of reflections.  The first comes via the fine series In Conversation with God by Fr. Francis Fernandez:

Right from the beginning of time God has been encouraging man to draw close to him.  The Incarnation is the culmination of this message.  Today’s feast celebrates the moment in history when Emmanuel, God with us, acquired his human realization.  From this moment on, the only-begotten Son would be a man like us.  And he would remain a human person forever.  The Incarnation was not a temporary condition.  Jesus Christ, the word made flesh, would be perfect God and perfect man to all eternity.  This is the great mystery we may well find overwhelming:  God in his infinite love has taken man seriously.  Due to his infinite love, God has given man the opportunity to respond to Christ, a full-fledged member of the human race.

God in his infinite love has taken man seriously.”  God, despite His omnipotence, His omniscience, takes man very seriously.  We, despite all our limits, despite all our failings, are loved by God with a love we can only begin to imagine.  We are loved so much that He indeed took on humanity – not like a suit that is put on today and taken off after the day is over, but taken on completely right down to our very limitations.  I think very often it is easy to forget that Christ’s humanity is not just a historical fact but a present condition.  Christ is both God and man both now and for all eternity, and He did this not for his own glory but for love of the Father, for love of us, for our salvation.

A second thought that has come to me about this great Solemnity is the incredible trust Mary shows.  Nowhere from the time of the Annunciation through Christ’s earthly life did Mary get to see just how things were going to work out.  She had hints in the words of the angel and the Scriptures, and through her state of grace she may have had a clearer understanding of the situation than we could comprehend, but even that never impeded the need for her to trust in God even when there seemed a difficult path ahead.  So often we want an answer before we take the next step – and I am probably the greatest offender in this category – that we fail to see the repeated example of Our Mother, “Fiat.”  Let us walk, rather, in the strength and freedom of children of the Most High God, confident that He will always offer to us what is best and we have but to accept it in its own time.  The whole of creation hinged on Mary’s free response to the angel – God even now awaits our response.

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