Our Lady of FátimaChapel Massachusetts Mission of the SSPX-MC
The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Holy Mass Today - 5:30 PM
Confessions/Rosary - 30 Minutes Before Mass
Et Verbum caro factum est - and the Word was made flesh; and dwelt amongst us! Today we celebrate the great Solemnityof the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It could also be named the Feast of the Incarnation. For it’s exactly nine months to the day before Christ’s blessed Nativity.
In this festival, we celebrate the very moment that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in all humility, was conceived in the womb of a lowly virgin. And likewise, we bow down in awe before the event upon which is the very foundation of our holy Catholic Faith. For in this unfathomable mystery, the redemption of mankind was inaugurated.
We also celebrate the profound humility and unblemished beauty of the person chosen to be the receptacle of this miracle: the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is through this most holy Vessel of Honor that Our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world, and it is also through her that He will reign in the world.
The Word was made flesh! Unto eternity, our human nature is united with the Godhead. There is nothing more profound. Yet, whilst incredibly profound, the Annunciation also shows to us great humility. Our Lady is seen completely taken aback, humbled before the Angel Gabriel. And our God, Who endowed us with freedom of choice, awaits the Holy Virgin’s consent. The Gospel reading today is that of Saint Luke:
At that time: The Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a Virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the Virgin’s name was Mary. And the Angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the Angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the Angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the Angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word. - Luke 1:26:38
Ecce ancilla Domini, fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum-Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy word. At this, Blessed Mary's sweet Fiat: be it done - the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity condescended to take upon our human nature; God became man! Our Lady completely consented to the Father. It was a pure gift, bestowed from her Immaculate Heart. She gave without limit; wanting nothing other than to be in accord with the Father’s adorable Will. Divine Will and human will perfectly embraced and the Godhead breathed life into her most spotless womb.
Fr. Alban Butler writes in Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, & Other Principle Saints these beautiful words to indicate the importance of the Blessed Virgin’s Fiat:
"The world, as heaven had decreed, was not to have a Savior till she had given her consent to the angel's proposal; she gives it, and behold the power and efficacy of her submissive fiat! That moment, the mystery of love and mercy promised to mankind four thousand years before, foretold by so many Prophets, desired by so many Saints, is wrought on earth. That moment, the Word of God is forever united to humanity; the Soul of Jesus Christ, produced from nothing, begins to enjoy God, and to know all things past, present, and to come: that moment, God begins to have an adorer who is infinite, and the world a mediator who is omnipotent; and, to the working of this great Mystery, Mary alone is chosen to co operate by her free assent. The prophets represent the earth as moved out of its place, and the mountains as melting away before the very Countenance of God looking down upon the world. Now that He descends in person, who would not expect that the whole heavens should be moved?"
"AND WAS MADE MAN"
Yes, the whole heavens were moved; and we Catholics are forever moved in honoring Christ's Incarnation at every holy Mass whenever we kneel in gratitude during the Credo, at the words: "Et homo factus est."
It was not that long ago, in all of Christendom, the Angelus Bells reminded us three times a day (morning, noon, and evening) of Saint Gabriel's announcement, Blessed Mary's Fiat, and that the Creator of heaven and earth became flesh and dwelt amongst us.
In his instructions for today's feast, Dom Guéranger tells us howSaint Ireneus, the Second Century bishop and martyr, received the tradition from the Apostles' very first disciples, that Nazareth is truly the counterpart of Eden. In the garden of delights, there is a virgin and an angel. And at Nazareth, a virgin is also spoken to by an angel. But the angel of the earthly Paradise is a spirit of darkness and the angel of Nazareth is a spirit of light. Two conversations engaged with two opposite spirits, with two opposite results. Through the first woman, sin and death enter the world; through the second Woman redemption and eternal life. Thus, the humble obedience of Mary repaired the prideful disobedience of Eve.
Never was there a more entire or humiliating defeat, than that which was this day gained over Satan. The frail creature, over whom he had so easily triumphed at the beginning of the world, now rises and crushes his proud head. Eve conquers in Mary! God would not choose man for the instrument of His vengeance; the humiliation of Satan would not have been great enough; and therefore a woman who was the first prey of hell, the first victim of the tempter, is selected as the one that is to give battle to the enemy of souls. The result of so glorious a triumph is, that Mary is to be superior not only to the rebel angels, but to the whole human race, yea, to all the Angels of heaven. Seated on her exalted throne, she, the Mother of God, is to be the Queen of all creation. Satan, in the depths of the abyss, will eternally bewail his having dared to direct his first attack against the woman, for God has now so gloriously avenged her.
Further mystical significance is given to this date by Blessed Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa in his Golden Legend written in the year 1275:
This blessed Annunciation happened the twenty-fifth day of the month of March, on which day happened also, as well tofore as after, these things that hereafter be named. On that same day Adam, the first man, was created and fell into Original Sin by disobedience, and was put out of paradise terrestrial. After, the angel showed the conception of Our Lord to the glorious Virgin Mary.
Also that same day of the month Cain slew Abel his brother. Also Melchisedech made offering to God of bread and wine in the presence of Abraham. Also on the same day Abraham offered Isaac his son. That same day St. John Baptist was beheaded, and St. Peter was that day delivered out of prison, and St. James the more, that day beheaded of Herod. And Our Lord Jesus Christi was on that day crucified, wherefore that is a day of great reverence.
Depictions of the Annunciation often show Saint Gabriel the Archangel presenting the lily flower to Our Lady while she is kneeling in prayer. We read of this significance in Legends of the Madonna (1895)
It is usual to exhibit her as kneeling in prayer, or reading with a large book open on a desk before her. St. Bernard says that she was studying the book of the prophet Isaiah, and as she recited the verse, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son," she thought within her heart, in her great humility: How blessed the woman of whom these words are written! Would I might be but her handmaid to serve her, and allowed to kiss her feet! - when, in the same instant, the wondrous vision burst upon her, and the holy prophecy was realized in herself.
Our Lady is so often represented by lilies, and the Madonna Lily, is often called the Annunciation Lily in honor of this Feast and is a perfect ornament for the day. The Venerable Bede described the translucent white petals as symbolic of Mary's holy purity and the golden anthers as a symbol of the glory of her soul when she was taken up to Heaven at the Assumption.
And, finally, there is the beautiful story about Saint Gabriel's salutation to Our Lady, also from the aforementioned, Golden Legend of 1275:
Of the salutation that the angel brought to the glorious Virgin, we read an example of a noble knight which for to amend his life gave and rendered himself into an abbey of Citeaux, and, forasmuch as he was no clerk, there was assigned to him a master for to teach him, and to be with the brethren clerks, but he could nothing learn in long time that was there save these two words: Ave Maria, which words he had so sore imprinted in his heart that always he had them in his mouth wheresoever he was.
At last he died and was buried in the churchyard of the brethren. It happed after, that upon the burials grew a right fair fleur-de-lis, and in every flower was written in letters of gold: Ave Maria, of which miracle all the brethren were amarvelled, and they did open the sepulcher, and found that the root of this fleur-de-lis came out of the mouth of the said knight, and anon they understood that Our Lord would have him honored for the great devotion that he had to say these words: Ave Maria!
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre Nov 29, 1905 - Mar 25, 1991
Today is also the 30th Anniversary of the Archbishop's holy passing; when His Grace gave back to God his heroic and pure soul. According to his request, those famous words of St. Paul were engraved on his tombstone: Tradidi quod et accepi - “I handed on what I received.” We pray that our beloved Founder intercede for his Priestly Fraternity and inspire more of his true sons to stand firm and resist the compromising new direction of the Conciliar-SSPX.
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