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AVE MARIA


Feast of the Annunciation Luke 1:26-38 - March 25, 2017 Saturday 

Ave Maria"

Ave Maria!
Maiden mild!
Oh, listen to a maiden's prayer
For thou canst hear amid the wild
'Tis thou, 'tis thou canst save amid, despair.
We slumber safely 'til the morrow
Though we've by man outcast reviled
Oh, maiden, see a maiden's sorrow
Oh, Mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria

Ave Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Dominus tecum

The murky cavern's air so heavy
Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled
Oh, maiden, hear a maiden pleadin'
Oh, Mother, hear a suppliant child
Ave Maria
Ave Maria 

*The story of the Annunciation is found in Luke 1:34-35, 37, 38. The Virgin Mary, already full of grace, cooperated in God’s plan for salvation. This was followed by the mystery of Incarnation or how the Messiah’s birth came about that the faithful celebrate at Christmas, reflecting on the love of Jesus through His mother, that like her, their prayer is to appreciate and obey God’s plan.

Luke 1:26-38 March 17, 2017 Saturday 

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her,

‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ SAnnunciation_Murillohe was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

POPE SAINT JOHN PAUL II 

The Gospel about the Annunciation. We can capture the essence of the teaching by reading gospel reading from Luke (1:26-38). In the gospel account, the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she has “found favor with God” and will “conceive in [her] womb and bear a son….”

Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote beautifully about the Annunciation in his 1987 encyclical Redemptoris Mater (On the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of the Pilgrim Church). His writing should give all of us pause to consider anew this ancient teaching and ask ourselves:

How do we “say yes” to God in our own lives; do we do it as willingly as the Blessed Mother did?

Indeed, at the Annunciation Mary entrusted herself to God completely, with the “full submission of intellect and will,” manifesting “the obedience of faith” to him who spoke to her through his messenger. She responded, therefore, with all her human and feminine “I,” and this response of faith included both perfect cooperation with “the grace of God that precedes and assists” and perfect openness to the action of the Holy Spirit, who “constantly brings faith to completion by his gifts” (RM 13).

What can we learn from Mary’s obedience to the will of the Father?
As the Council teaches, “‘The obedience of faith‘ (Rom. 16:26; cf. Rom. 1:5; 2 Cor. 10:5-6) must be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which man entrusts his whole self freely to God.” This description of faith found perfect realization in Mary. The “decisive” moment was the Annunciation, and the very words of Elizabeth: “And blessed is she who believed” refer primarily to that very moment (RM 13).

How are we cooperating in the Father’s plan of salvation?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3). These words of the Letter to the Ephesians reveal the eternal design of God the Father, his plan of man’s salvation in Christ. It is a universal plan, which concerns all men and women created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen. 1:26). Just as all are included in the creative work of God “in the beginning,” so all are eternally included in the divine plan of salvation, which is to be completely revealed, in the “fullness of time,” with the final coming of Christ (RM 7)

The words “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” express the fact that from the outset she accepted and understood her own motherhood as a total gift of self, a gift of her person to the service of the saving plans of the Most High. And to the very end she lived her entire maternal sharing in the life of Jesus Christ, her Son, in a way that matched her vocation to virginity (RM 39).

photo:Annunciation by Pietro Perugino, 1489

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