The Annunciation is such an important feast. It memorializes the Angel Gabriel asking the young, Virgin Mary to be the Mother of God. He greets her with, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.”
When she goes to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist, John jumps in her womb and Elizabeth exclaims, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
When we say the “Hail Mary,” we don’t worship Mary, but we honor the mother Jesus gave us as we recite *scripture* as a prayer. The rosary is actually Mary’s Psalter, and as we meditate through it, she takes our hand and leads us closer to her Son. Don’t take my word for it. Look at the examples of the modern saints (St. John Paul, Saint Teresa of Calcutta) or look at the early Church (long before the reformation tore her apart). There’s a story that St. Luke, the Evangelist, was trying to learn as much as he could about Jesus. So, he went and talked to Saint Peter, the first Pope. He certainly knew Jesus. But Saint Peter said something like, “If you really want to know everything you can about Jesus, go talk to his mother.” So, St. Luke went and spent time with Mary. He was a writer and artist and learned about Jesus through His mother, which is why St. Luke uniquely includes the Annunciation and the Visitation in his Gospel.
As people of faith, we believe that women and men are created in the image and likeness of God, and we know that true feminism ensures women are treated with dignity and not just used and oppressed.
On this feast, which is vital to salvation history, we recognize and celebrate that God chose to come into the world through a woman. And we acknowledge and are thankful that as women, our relationship with God is particularly intimate without necessarily being visible. It grows within us like a baby in the womb. It’s hard to understand secular feminism as having any sense of what is good for women when Christianity by the power of God, through the intercession of His mother and the women in His life, as well as Jesus’ revolutionary example has given us such great dignity. It mandates our protection as it acknowledges we are sacred temples. If God is real and if Jesus existed, we cannot dismiss that God CHOSE to come into the world through a woman. That through a woman the Word is made flesh.
Jesus enters public ministry at the Wedding of Cana when his mother sees a need and asks for His help. We can always talk directly to God and we should but Jesus has given us his mother, the new Ark of the Covenant, the holy of holies, His dwelling place. And we ask for intercession, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”
I had hoped to go to Mass today, but alas, we are quarantined. We will celebrate the Annunciation at home. We will pray the rosary 📿 and the Angelus. We will talk about Our Lady. We all love her! We plan to make some sweets and frost some blue, get some flowers to “give” to our mother at home, possibly plant some seeds to remind ourselves of HOW the invisible is made visible.
I have been waiting until today to share this is a favorite poem of mine:
God so humbled
Enclosed in the womb of a poor young girl
Crying out, God, God, you are crazy!
And with enflamed desire
I go searching for who this young woman is
Who joined the Lover to the beloved
Looking at her from her head down to her feet
So the more I look at her the more she gives
Pregnant in appearance
She shows me . . .
(Adapted from a poem of Saint Catherine of Sienna, published in The Theology of Mary‘s Body by Jen Settle and Christopher West of the Theology of the Body Institute. You can find more about the Theology of the Body Institute here: https://tobinstitute.org).
I’m so thankful my friend, Amanda, introduced me to the Angelus when the 6 p.m. church bells rang at the end of my holy hour, just this past year. It’s prayed daily at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. and it’s become a part of our family’s tradition when someone notices it’s noon or 6 p.m. (We aren’t exactly morning people.) It’s short, biblical, and yet so beautiful.
How to Pray the Angelus
We pray a daily rosary, and it’s not as intimidating as it might seem if you’ve never prayed it. We started out a few years ago, just praying a decade in the evening, and you can do that but at some point, please add in the mysteries. It’s such a beautiful practice to medicate on our Savior’s life, pray our creed, the prayer he gave us, the Hail Mary, the Doxology. We also pray for the Pope’s intentions at the end.
How to pray the rosary:
Dylan loves this YouTube version of the rosary:
Have a blessed Annunciation!