Monday, March 26, 2012

The Annunciation of the Lord

And so, nine months before Christmas we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. I always like to joke that this shows we can do liturgical arithmetic. Very often people mistake the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception with today's glorious feast.

"Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, keeping with the healing that was needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other" Pope St. Leo the Great. This shows shows something stated quite succinctly yesterday in relation to today's solemnity by my friend Fr. Peter Nguyen, S.J., who, responding to an observation that Eastern Christians don't move today's feast (it is usually on 25 March, but moved this year to Monday on the Roman calendar because it falls on a Sunday), specifically to the statement "imagine preaching on the Annunciation and the Crucifixion or the Annunciation and the Resurrection in the same homily," wrote, "I actually would find preaching on such occasions both challenging and enjoyable because these liturgical feasts are theologically connected. The annunciation is ordered to the cross/resurrection." I think that the beginning of Leo the Great's letter demonstrates this well. I am also indebted to Fr. Peter for the image for my post today.

"At the center of Christianity ...stands the miracle of the Incarnation. Only aganist the background of the Incarnation do all the words and deeds of Jesus exercise their binding claim upon us"- Martin Mosebach. We are such a people of joy that sometimes, even in Lent, the glory just breaks through! Today we rejoice in the fact that "Eternity stepped into time," to quote Michael Card, "so we could understand."

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    Image by Chinese Artist: He Qi


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