The Annunciation of Jesus

Annunciation, painted by Fra Angelico (1387-1455) (Florence)

Today we celebrate with full pomp and rejoicing the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What has always fascinated me about this in a sort of grammatical stickler type of way is that even though we’re not having Mary announced to us, somehow this day is still her annunciation. Perhaps it would be better if the preposition were “to” the Virgin Mary instead of “of.” But whoever named this holy feast day knew exactly what they were doing when they chose that small, two-letter word. On it rests the entire crux of the feast.

Because just as Mary had the birth of Christ announced to her, so too does she announce Him to us. In fact, Mary is the first person to acknowledge the Savior to the entire world. That is what we focus on in this day when we share her immortal words in the Magnificat.

My soul doth magnify the Lord * and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

For he hath regarded * the lowliness of his handmaiden.

For behold, from henceforth * all generations shall call me blessed.

For he that is mighty hath magnified me; * and holy is his name.

And his mercy is on them that fear him * throughout all generations.

He hath showed strength with his arm; * he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the mighty from their seat, * and hath exalted the humble and meek. 

He hath filled the hungry with good things; * and the rich he hath sent empty away. 

He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel; * as he promised to our fathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.

In this amazing declaration, Mary encapsulates the whole of Jesus’ life and the prophesies from the Old Testament that foretold him. That’s no simple thing to do in a paragraph, but she had divine inspiration living in her body and so was up to the task.

I do not have the time or the space to explain how the Magnificat is the perfect encapsulation of Jesus. It would take a book to do that. But as we continue to read the lessons and psalms for the days as we approach the middle of Lent, this idea gives us a lot to think about. We know who Jesus is, because Mary announced it to us.

Tomorrow: The Atheist Wife has another post up!

Be sure to check out her new Twitter, follow her, and harass her into using it by tweeting good things at her

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