For some reason, my starting point of reflection on this great Solemnity of Mary’s Annunciation is God’s providential preparation for this moment through her own Immaculate Conception. God in His goodness wished to provide for our salvation not only by His Divine Power as God, but in a manner that also incorporated our humanity.
Part of the practical application for us, then, is that as God provided for Mary, and provided for His Son’s entrance into our world, surely He provides for us as well, in a manner that honors and respects our individual persons, as He created us. Thus, no matter what our state in life, we believe that whatever God asks of us is already envisioned in His plan, and is generously provided for in Christ, in the nature of grace.
It seems the Marian Feasts bring us back to the same virtues, but the Christian never grows weary in doing what is right, in striving for holiness, and there is no better model than Mary. Even though Mary was prepared by God for this exalted role in salvation history, it required of her as it does for each of us her free cooperation. God never violates this basic human gift of free will. We, as Mary, should always honor this principle of divine interaction with the human person, and as Mary, strive always to align our will with God’s.
St. Catherine of Siena teaches that obedience and humility are the remedy to a selfish self-will. I believe this lesson is taught beautifully in Mary’s humility and obedience to God. She humbly welcomed the message of the angel, obediently opened her very body to God’s Word, that it may take on our human flesh in a perfect mingling of the human and divine in the person of Jesus. Our humility and obedience to God’s plan allows for our perfect cooperation in this continuing work of redemption and salvation.
In the Incarnation, we see the beginning of the Church. Mary is the first disciple, the first to receive Christ and the first and most faithful follower. She is a model that the Church is called to ministry and mission. Hers was the work of giving – sharing Christ with the world. This is the work of the Church, the work of each Christian, to continue to bring Christ into the world by living His Truth and spreading His Love.
The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates “the fullness of time”, (Gal 4:4) the time of the fulfillment of God’s promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the “whole fullness of deity” would dwell “bodily.” (Col 2:9) The divine response to her question, “How can this be, since I know not man?” was given by the power of the Spirit: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.” (Luke 1:34 -35). CCC #484