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Saturday, March 25, 2006
The Annunciation of the Lord
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Annunciation by Paolo Veronese


Solemnity (1969 Calendar): March 25
Double of the I Class (1955 Calendar): March 25

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, where we recall that through Mary's obedience Jesus came was conceived in her womb. Today is March 25nd, 9 months before Christmas day.  The Annunciation, set nine months before Christmas on March 25, was formerly such a great feast day in Christendom that it was the beginning of the civil/legal year in England until their transition to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, and remained a holy day of obligation for American Catholics until 1884.

This High Feastday in the Church is of great importance, even if it is not a Holy Day of Obligation.  On years in which the 25th of March falls on a Sunday during Lent, the Annunciation is transferred to the following Monday, March 26th. However, if March 25th falls during Holy Week, the Feast is transferred to the Monday after Low Sunday, since that is the first day after March 25th that is not a 1st Class Feast.  Recall that all of Holy Week, the Triduum, and Easter Week are already 1st Class Feasts.

At the Annuciation our salvation began - Our God came down and became one of us, destined to die for us. Through Mary's fiat (her "yes"), God became man and for nine months rested in her womb. Sadly, many mothers today do not understand the gift of life in their wombs so they resort to abortion. But was Jesus alive and fully human in Mary's womb! Abortion kills a living human person. Let us meditate on Jesus' love and an end to abortion today as well as Mary's role as Co-Redemptrix.
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

Prayer to Our Lady of the Annunciation:

Queen of heaven and earth, daughter of the Father, Mother of the divine Son, spouse of the Holy Spirit, I praise God for the unique grace given to you. Mary, you became the great Mother of our divine Savior, our Master, true Light of the world, uncreated Wisdom, source of all truth and first Apostle of truth. You gave the world the book to read, the eternal Word. For this I bless the holy Trinity and I ask you to obtain for me the grace of heavenly wisdom, to be a fervent disciple of Jesus and to be lovingly devoted to the Church, the pillar of truth. Make the light of the Gospel shine to the farthest bounds of the earth. Queen of the Apostles, pray for us!

Prayer Source: Fr. James Alberion

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