On Monday we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Annunciation. We recall the visit of the Archangel Gabriel to Our Lady, his message, and her response. The encounter is beautifully described in the opening of St. Luke’s gospel.
It is Mary’s ‘Yes’ that makes the incarnation possible. We rejoice in her openness, bravery, and above all faith. The dialogue between Mary and Gabriel show us the pattern for our faith too. We must be open to the initiatives of God. We must be bold in responding to them. We can do so through faith. Note that Mary’s faith grows through her questioning of Gabriel. We don’t question because we are sceptical – we question so that we can gain a fuller understanding.
Note also that Mary does not keep the message to herself. She goes out to spread it. True faith has that effect on people. They want to share the good news that they have experienced with those around them. Mary is the first Christian missionary.
One last thing we can take heart from is that although this episode is of the utmost importance in human history Mary, in the world’s terms, is insignificant. The same has been true of many of the saints. We might feel small or powerless – we are. But with God’s grace we can change the world.
One of the things we might want to do on Monday is to recite the Angelus with our class. It sums up in a nutshell this great feast.