Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
– Collect from the Book of Common Prayer
“The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-39), also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, marking his Incarnation. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Jesus, meaning “Saviour”. Many Christians observe this event with the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, nine full months before Christmas, the birthday of Jesus. According to Luke 1:26, the Annunciation occurred “in the sixth month” of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist.”
– From Wikipedia
Its a little strange to be celebrating the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary just one week after the celebration of the death and Resurrection of her Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Typically this celebration is on the 25 March, nine months before the birth of Christ, 25 DECEMBER. However, since Easter and Holy Week was early this year, the date is pushed on week to today, 8 APRIL.
In order to fully understand the totality of the situation, we must look at some of the circumstances:
- The Blessed Virgin was approximately 14-16 years old
- She is engaged to be married, going through the plans (dowry, changes in family structure, etc.)
- She is pregnant although she did not sleep with anyone
The Blessed Virgin is being placed in a situation that she will be shamed in front of her friends, family, and community. This would bring dishonor to her fiancee Joseph as well. This is as scandalous then, as it would be now. The difference between then and now is that now, families have the choice of hiding their daughters from the community (sending them to another city, state or country until the birth of the child), or sending them off to receive an abortion. The Blessed Virgin did not have those “options.” If those “options” were made available, I believe she would not have taken them.
The Blessed Mother needed Divine help, therefore God sent to her, the angel Gabriel to explain the situation, and provide her with comfort. God, in his infinite mercy, then sent an angel to visit St. Joseph, The Blessed Virgin’s fiancee, to explain to him the situation and guide him along the right path.
There are times in our lives that we must reach out to God in order to receive comfort, understanding and instruction. All too often, we try to figure things out ourselves. In doing so, we are digging ourselves into a hole that we can not get out of without Divine assistance. This is my story when I was called to ministry, but instead did a lot of other things. Those things certainly informed me of who I am today, but what if I just listened earlier? Due to the grace and mercy of God, I am here, as an Anglican Priest. He could have easily changed HIS mind. I could have been one of the “many that are called, but NOT chosen.” He chose me, and kept me.
I encourage you to reach out to God, like the Blessed Virgin Mary did. She received insight, comfort, grace and understanding of the situation she was in. Her reaching out should be a model for us to do the same. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
*PHOTO #1: Tanner, Henry Ossawa. The Annunciation. 1898
*PHOTO #2: Salvi, Giovanni Battista .The Virgin In Prayer. 1640-1650