The Feast of the Annunciation

March 25, 2022

And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Evocation

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

And we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son,

full of grace and truth.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

from John 1

Small Verse

In the tender mercy of our God,

the dayspring from on high shall break upon us,

to give light to those who dwell in darkness

and in the shadow of death

and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Luke 1.78-79

Opening Prayer

Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


“Annunciation” 
work by unknown artist, 
c. 1420, 
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona
(source)

Ant.

Alleluia, alleluia. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory.

John 1.14

Old Testament: Isaiah 7:10-14

A young woman will bear a son

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.”

Refrain

Hail Mary, full of grace,

the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Let us pray.

Invitation to Confession

The grace of God has dawned upon the world

through our Saviour Jesus Christ,

who sacrificed himself for us to purify a people as his own.

Let us confess our sins.

cf Titus 2.11-14
Kyrie Confession

Lord Jesus, you are mighty God and Prince of Peace:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you are Son of God and Son of Mary:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you are Word made flesh and splendour of the Father:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Amen.


“The Annunciation” 
by Paolo de Matteis, 
1712, 
Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis. 
The white lily in the angel’s hand is symbolic of Mary’s purity in Marian art.
(source)

Ant.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

John 1.14

Response: Psalm 45

Your name will be remembered

My heart overflows with a goodly theme;

I address my verses to the king;

my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

You are the most handsome of men;

grace is poured upon your lips;

therefore God has blessed you forever.

Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,

in your glory and majesty.

In your majesty ride on victoriously

for the cause of truth and to defend the right;

let your right hand teach you dread deeds.

Your arrows are sharp

in the heart of the king’s enemies;

the peoples fall under you.

Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.

Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;

you love righteousness and hate wickedness.

Therefore God, your God, has anointed you

with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;

your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.

From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;

daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;

at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear;

forget your people and your father’s house,

and the king will desire your beauty.

Since he is your lord, bow to him;

the people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,

the richest of the people with all kinds of wealth.

The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes;

in many-colored robes she is led to the king;

behind her the virgins, her companions, follow.

With joy and gladness they are led along

as they enter the palace of the king.

In the place of ancestors you, O king, shall have sons;

you will make them princes in all the earth.

I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations;

therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever.

Refrain

Hail Mary, full of grace,

the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Let us pray.

Intercession

On this day the Father made our salvation known to Mary by the message of an angel.

Filled with confidence, let us pray.

You chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of your Son.

Have mercy on all who wait for your redemption.

We pray for … [the Church universal]

Through your angel Gabriel you brought a message of peace and joy to Mary.

Give to the world the joy and peace of salvation.

We pray for … [the peace of the world]

By the consent of your handmaid and the power of the Holy Spirit, your Word came to dwell among us.

Open our hearts to receive Christ, as Mary the Virgin received him.

We pray for … [those present]

You look with compassion on the lowly and fill the hungry with good things.

Encourage the downhearted, help all those in need and comfort those near to death.

We pray for … [the sick, the suffering, the helpless]

To you, O God, nothing is impossible, and you alone do marvellous things; save us, and bring us on the last day with … and all the faithful departed into your glorious kingdom.

Grant, O Lord, that by the riches of your grace we may grow up into him who unites our life to yours, even he who is the first-born of all creation, your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Amen.


“The Annunciation” 
by Murillo, 
1655–1660, 
Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg
(source)

Ant.

And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.

Luke 1.31-32

Epistle: Hebrews 10:4-10

The offering of Jesus’ body sanctifies us

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,

but a body you have prepared for me;

in burnt offerings and sin offerings

you have taken no pleasure.

Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’

(in the scroll of the book it is written of me).”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Refrain

Hail Mary, full of grace,

the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, so fill us with your grace, that we in all things may accept your holy will and with the Virgin Mary, full of grace, rejoice in your salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


“The Annunciation” 
by El Greco, 
c. 1590–1603, 
Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Japan
(source)

Ant.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

Isaiah 7.14

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

The angel greets Mary

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Refrain

Hail Mary, full of grace,

the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Let us pray.

And now we give you thanks because, by the power of the Holy Spirit, he took our nature upon him and was born of the Virgin Mary his mother, that being himself without sin, he might make us clean from all sin. Amen.


Annunciation
(c. 1472–1475), 
Uffizi, is thought to be Leonardo da Vinci’s earliest complete work
(source)

Ant.

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory. The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory.

John 1.14

Reflection

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“This great festival takes its name from the happy tidings brought by the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary, concerning the incarnation of the Son of God. It commemorates the most important embassy that was ever known: an embassy sent by the King of kings, performed by one of the chief princes of his heavenly court; directed, not to the kings or emperors of the earth, but to a poor, unknown, retired virgin, who, being endowed with the most angelic purity of soul and body, being withal perfectly humble and devoted to God, was greater in his eyes than all the sceptres in the world could make a universal monarch. Indeed God, by the choice which he is pleased to make of a poor virgin, for the accomplishment of the greatest of all mysteries and graces, clearly demonstrates that earthly diadems, dignities, and treasures are of no consideration with him; and that perfect humility and sanctity alone constitute true greatness. God, who is almighty, can do all things by himself, without making use of the concurrence of creatures. Nevertheless he vouchsafes. in his exterior works, most frequently to use their co-operation. If he reveals his will and speaks to men, it is by the intervention of his prophets, and these he often enlightens by the ministry of angels. Many of the ancient patriarchs were honored by him with the most sublime commissions. By Moses he delivered his people from the Egyptian slavery, by him he gave them his law, and he appointed him mediator in his alliance with them. When the Son of God became man, he could have taken upon him our nature without the co-operation of any creature; but was pleased to be born of a woman. In the choice of her whom he raised to this most sublime of all dignities to which any pure creature could be exalted, he pitched upon her who, by the riches of his grace and virtues, was of all others the most holy and the most perfect. The design of this embassy of the archangel is as extraordinary as the persons concerned in it. It is to give a Saviour to the world, a victim of propitiation to the sinner, a model to the just, a son to this Virgin, remaining still a virgin, and a new nature to the Son of God, the nature of man, capable of suffering pain and anguish in order to the satisfaction of God’s justice for our transgressions. And the Son of God being to take a human body formed of her substance, the Holy Ghost, who, by a power all-divine, was to her in place of a spouse, was not content to render her body capable of giving life to a Man-God, but likewise enriched her soul with a fulness of grace, that there might be a sort of proportion between the cause and the effect, and she the better qualified to co-operate towards this mystery of sanctity.” [1]

Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B. [2]:

A tradition, which has come down from the apostolic ages, tells us that the great mystery of the Incarnation was achieved on the twenty-fifth day of March. It was at the hour of midnight, when the most holy Virgin was alone and absorbed in prayer, that the Archangel Gabriel appeared before her, and asked her, in the name of the blessed Trinity, to consent to become the Mother of God. Let us assist, in spirit, at this wonderful interview between the angel and the Virgin: and, at the same time, let us think of that other interview which took place between Eve and the serpent. A holy bishop and martyr of the second century, Saint Irenaeus, who had received the tradition from the very disciples of the apostles, shows us that Nazareth is the counterpart of Eden.

In the garden of delights there is a virgin and an angel; and a conversation takes place-between them. At Nazareth a virgin is also addressed by an angel, and she answers him; but the angel of the earthly paradise is a spirit of darkness, and he of Nazareth is a spirit of light. In both instances it is the angel that has the first word. ‘Why,’ said the serpent to Eve, ‘hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?’ His question implies impatience and a solicitation to evil; he has contempt for the frail creature to whom he addresses it, but he hates the image of God which is upon her.

See, on the other hand, the angel of light; see with what composure and peacefulness he approaches the Virgin of Nazareth, the new Eve; and how respectfully he bows himself down before her: ‘Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women!’ Such language is evidently of heaven: none but an angel could speak thus to Mary.

Scarcely has the wicked spirit finished speaking than Eve casts a longing look at the forbidden fruit: she is impatient to enjoy the independence it is to bring her. She rashly stretches forth her hand; she plucks the fruit; she eats it, and death takes possession of her: death of the soul, for sin extinguishes the light of life; and death of the body, which being separated from the source of immortality, becomes an object of shame and horror, and finally crumbles into dust.

But let us turn away our eyes from this sad spectacle, and fix them on Nazareth. Mary has heard the angel’s explanation of the mystery; the will of heaven is made known to her, and how grand an honor it is to bring upon her! She, the humble maid of Nazareth, is to have the ineffable happiness of becoming the Mother of God, and yet the treasure of her virginity is to be left to her! Mary bows down before this sovereign will, and says to the heavenly messenger: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word.’

Thus, as the great St. Irenaeus and so many of the holy fathers remark, the obedience of the second Eve repaired the disobedience of the first: for no sooner does the Virgin of Nazareth speak her fiat, ‘be it done,’ than the eternal Son of God (who, according to the divine decree, awaited this word) is present, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, in the chaste womb of Mary, and there He begins His human life. A Virgin is a Mother, and Mother of God; and it is this Virgin’s consenting to the divine will that has made her conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost. This sublime mystery puts between the eternal Word and a mere woman the relations of Son and Mother; it gives to the almighty God a means whereby He may, in a manner worthy of His majesty, triumph over satan, who hitherto seemed to have prevailed against the divine plan.

Never was there a more entire or humiliating defeat than that which this day befell satan. The frail creature, over whom he had so easily triumphed at the beginning of the world, now rises and crushes his proud head. Eve conquers in Mary. God would not choose man for the instrument of His vengeance; the humiliation of satan would not have been great enough; and therefore she who was the first prey of hell, the first victim of the tempter, is selected to give battle to the enemy. The result of so glorious a triumph is that Mary is to be superior not only to the rebel angels, but to the whole human race, yea, to all the angels of heaven. Seated on her exalted throne, she, the Mother of God, is to be the Queen of all creation. Satan, in the depths of the abyss, will eternally bewail his having dared to direct his first attack against the woman, for God has now so gloriously avenged her; and in heaven, the very Cherubim and Seraphim reverently look up to Mary, and deem themselves honored when she smiles upon them, or employs them in the execution of any of her wishes, for she is the Mother of their God.

Therefore is it that we, the children of Adam, who have been snatched by Mary’s obedience from the power of hell, solemnize this day of the Annunciation. Well may we say of Mary those words of Debbora, when she sang her song of victory over the enemies of God’s people: ‘The valiant men ceased, and rested in Israel, until Debbora arose, a mother arose in Israel. The Lord chose new wars, and He Himself overthrew the gates of the enemies.’ Let us also refer to the holy Mother of Jesus these words of Judith, who by her victory over the enemy was another type of Mary: ‘Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in Him. And by me, His handmaid, He hath fulfilled His mercy, which He promised to the house of Israel; and He hath killed the enemy of His people by my hand this night. . . . The almighty Lord hath struck him, and hath delivered him into the hands of a woman, and hath slain him.’

Refrain

Hail Mary, full of grace,

the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Let us pray.

God most high, whose handmaid bore the Word made flesh: we thank you that in this sacrament of our redemption you visit us with your Holy Spirit and overshadow us by your power; strengthen us to walk with Mary the joyful path of obedience and so to bring forth the fruits of holiness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Benediction

Christ the Son of God, born of Mary, fill you with his grace to trust his promises and obey his will; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Butker, A. (n.d.). The annunciation of the blessed virgin mary: Ewtn. Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/annunciation-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-5189


[2] Solemnity of the annunciation of the lord – march 25, 2021 – liturgical calendar. (n.d.). Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2021-03-25

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