Refections on the Annunciation of the Virgin
By Fr. Patrick
Just as bells were used on ancient ships to scare away sea monsters that might approach and capsize the ship, so the feast of the Annunciation in the midst of Great Lent wards off the darkness and gloom of sin by bringing our attention to the beauty of the Mother of God and the miracle of the Incarnation. Of all the women in the world have ever existed, or will exist, the Lord found the most worthy to be His mother-the Ever-Virgin Mary. And to her the Archangel Gabriel was sent to deliver a message and an invitation. He greeted her, Hail, Thou who art highly favored the Lord is with thee. He invited her into the great mystery of the Incarnation that was beyond human or even angelic comprehension. And she responded.
The feasts of the Church are filled with deep mysteries. Not only are we blessed with the good feelings and grace of the feast, but also we are also encouraged to consider deeply the meaning, which the feast communicates, for us and for our family. Otherwise the grace just pours in and drains out without much permanent effect.
Consider these three aspects of the Annunciation: The angelic greeting, Mary's circumspection and discernment and her final submission. The Archangel conversed with the Virgin and by this we know that angels converse with men. We also should pay attention to our greetings to one another. How beautifully Gabriel spoke to God's Mother-to-be! How carefully and respectfully we should greet our brothers and sisters in Christ who are made in God's image and likeness and made by Him!
But by the Mother of God's response we note the caution she exhibited to this greeting. Even though she was praised she rightfully wondered what sort of greeting this was and if in fact it was from God. We too should also be circumspect with dreams, feelings, emotions and thoughts, doubting their truth until we are sure they are truly holy feelings, truthful thoughts, or inspired ideas.
When she in fact recognized God's will in the invitation for His Son to be born in her, she responded with utter submission and love: Let it be to me according to Thy will.
The vigil of the Feast is filled with so many profound insights of the meaning of the Annunciation. Our attendance is a great opportunity and blessings. The text for the feast is found in the Festal Menaion and would be great reading and study for the rest of the week.
May the grace of the Feast and the blessings of our Lord through His holy Mother be with us all!