Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord


For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll,
behold, I come to do your will, O God.’”

Because Easter fell so early this year we’ve had to postpone this solemnity until after the all-important Octave of Easter, but we could no more cancel The Annunciation than we could cancel Christmas. There would be no Easter -- and no salvation -- had not the Lord been born of Mary.
It follows, there would be no salvation had not Mary willingly consented to the high station she was given. That calls for reflection.

The Catholic Church likes to name Mary as the Mediatrix of Grace. We know from scripture Jesus is The Mediator. The Letter to the Hebrews and the Book of Revelation describe Jesus in his priestly role as standing before the Glorious Throne of God, interceding for us. As priest he receives from God all blessings and gives them unstintingly to his chosen people. Our Salvation comes upon us through the ministry of the Lamb.

Mary, as the Mother of Jesus, becomes the mediatrix in that she gives Jesus to us. We can imagine her showing the Child to the shepherds in Bethlehem; we are amazed that the old man "took the child in his arms" when she and Joseph brought him into the temple. Was she frightened? Perhaps for a moment, until she saw Simeon's beatific face weeping for joy. And then she willingly shared her child with both Simeon and Anna -- as she does with us. 

All the Universal Grace of God passes through her very body in the person of Jesus, who is Grace Incarnate. Her very body is, of course, her self! There is no separation between the self and one's body. God would not "rent a woman's womb" for his own purposes as some wealthy people use poor women in India. Rather, he calls her to be the Mother of God as he calls us to our various stations in life. 

Her ready willingness to be the Mother of God is essential. He might use his enemies to show his glory -- as He destroyed the Egyptian army -- but he shows far more glory through the Faithful who step up eagerly and gratefully as his servants. Mary did not hesitate to say, "I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me as you have said."

Mary the Mediatrix of Grace invites you and me to "mediate" grace to others by our acts of kindness and the witness of faith. In that way we too share in the priesthood of Christ as mediators of God's mercy. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.