Lenten Reflection – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Today we step out of Lent, in one way.
We are nine months away from Christmas.
This is the feast of the Incarnation – the enfleshment of our God for us.
In Jesus, God entered this world, our world.
This day thereby offers wonderful Lenten graces.
Ahaz has his own plans.
He refuses to ask God for help, because he doesn’t want God’s help.
And, of course, he makes it sound pious.
There’s fruit in that for all of us, whenever we refuse to ask for God’s help.
Mary, on the other hand, is God’s servant.
She is humble and she says “yes.”
And God, for whom “nothing is impossible, does the rest.
I delight to do thy will, O my God,
thy law is within my heart.
“The Mighty One has done great things for me” (Lk 1:49)
Saint Ephrem (306-373)
Doctor of the Church
Sermons on the Mother of God, 2, 93-145
Contemplate Mary, my beloved, see how Gabriel went into her house and her questioning: “How can this be?” The Holy Spirit’s servant gave her this answer: “Nothing is impossible for God, for him, all is easy.” Consider how she believed the word she had heard and said: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord.” From that moment the Lord descended in a way known to Him alone, He bestirred Himself and came according to His good pleasure, He entered her without her feeling it and she opened herself to Him without experiencing any suffering. She bore within herself, as a child, Him by whom the world was filled. He descended to become the model that would renew Adam’s ancient image.
And so when God’s birth is proclaimed to you, keep silent. Let Gabriel’s word be held in your mind for nothing is impossible to this glorious Majesty, who humbled Himself for us and was born of our humanity. Today, Mary became God’s heaven for us, in that the sublime Divinity came down and placed His dwelling within her. God assumed smallness in her – yet without diminishing His nature – to make us great. In her, God spun a garment with which to save us. All the words of the prophets and just ones were fulfilled in her. From her, arose the light that drove away the shadows of paganism.
Mary’s titles are numberless… she is the palace in which the mighty King of kings abode, yet He did not cast her out when He came, because it was from her that He took flesh and was born. She is the new heaven in which dwelt the King of kings, in her Christ arose and from her rose up to enlighten creation, formed and fashioned in His image. She is the stock of the vine that bore the grape, she yielded a fruit greater than nature, and He, although other than her in His nature, ripened in colour on being born of her. She is the spring from which living waters sprang up for the thirsty and all those who drank them yielded fruit a hundredfold.
God of infinite love,
I thank You for this feast of our salvation,
right here in the middle of Lent.
I turn to You to beg for Your help.
I need the inspiration and help of Mary on this journey.
Please grant me the grace to be humbly faithful
to what You are calling me to do.
Please give me what I need to be free and to be Your servant.
Please let Mary guide us in the path to peace in our world.
I ask You this, through Jesus our Lord.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.