Monday, March 26, 2012

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Isaiah 7:10-15 / Luke 1:26-38

We expect that, on hearing a major announcement, our lives will be noticeably changed. We do not think that significant events will result merely in an inward shift in attitude. We think and reasonably assume that others, too, we see how the news, good or ill, has impacted us all.

How very different the case of the Annunciation. To be sure, after the message given by the angel Gabriel, nothing was ever the same again for the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Indeed, nothing was ever same for the whole world. Even so, after his announcement, the angel departed, and we are left to imagine that the Virgin had to return to her same, ordinary life, the world turning and turning as it always had, and seemingly always would. For all of its grandeur, the Annunciation did not separate Mary from the routine of her life.

For the Christian faithful, the life of the Virgin is meant to be a kind of pattern, we a kind of echo of the mysteries she experienced. As God transfigured her by his grace, so we are to be transformed by the grace poured out upon us, at all times, but especially in this holy season of Lent. As the Virgin was profoundly changed by the message from an angel, we likewise should not remain unchanged by God's offer to us of grace in Jesus Christ. If we remain open to Jesus Christ entering within our souls, even as Mary opened her whole self to be the Godbearer, then nothing in our lives need ever be the same again.

Yet, as was the Blessed Virgin, so we too are sent back to the same world. Grace does not snatch us out of our familiar routines, nor take us to a special place free of our daily burdens, trials, and disappointments. Rather, full of grace, we are sent to be a source of transformation for a world not yet wholly transfigured by the coming in the flesh of the Son of God. This is the task of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and this is also our task — Lord, be it done to us according to thy word.

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