Monday, March 25, 2013

Annunciation of the Lord

Annunciation, by Paolo de Matteis, 1712

With Easter falling on the last day of March this year, the Feast of the Annunciation, which we normally celebrate on 25 March, due to the fact that it falls exactly nine months prior to the Nativity of the Lord (i.e., Christmas), is delayed until Monday, 8 April. This places our observance of this important event on the first day after the conclusion of the Octave of Easter. However, such a move throws our liturgical calculations off (as does observing the Ascension on the Seventh Sunday of Easter, instead of the Thursday after the Fifth Sunday of Easter, or forty days after Easter).

With the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception falling, as it does, on 8 December, I am frequently asked, "How can Jesus be conceived on 8 December and be born on 25 December?" Of course, the Immaculate Conception refers, not to Jesus' conception by the Holy Spirit, but to the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which conception we believe happened in the normal manner. Today is the day we observe what we profess in the Credo: At the words that follow up to and including and became man, all bow

"and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man."

While today may not be a Solemnity, it remains, at least for me, the Annunciation of the Lord.

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