Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Verbum caro factum est - Jn 1:14

Mary's Fiat, humble, submissive, the most important, the most confidential, the most sacred colloquy that ever took place on earth between two created beings!

Here's the post that I promised in my previous post, on the Annunciation of the BVM, when I wrote that I would post more about the Annunciation after my exam on Wednesday :)

From "Alone with God" by Fr. J. Heyrman, S.J. :
March 25
The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin

1. On this day the Church commemorates the most mysterious and the most solemn event in the history of mankind and of the universe. God, whom neither time nor eternity can encompass, enters our created world; He becomes man in the virginal womb of her that is blessed amongst women. This is the central mystery of our Faith. Whatever went before was merely a preparation for this sublime mystery, which links what is highest with what is lowest; whatever comes after is the result, till “the end when He (Christ) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and the Father, when He shall have brought to nought all principality, and power, and virtue” (1 Cor. 15:24). We may behold Mary in converse with the angel.

2. Petition: The grace “to rise to the contemplation of God made man; to approach this sanctuary in a spirit of humble devotion, striving to gain spiritual knowledge through reverence and love, rather than to gain love through knowledge.

I. Mary, God’s Ultimate Instrument

The first step towards the incarnation of the Son of God was creation itself. For the Son is the “first-born of every creature … for in Him were all things created in heaven and on earth … all things were created by Him and in Him” (Col. 1: 15, 16).

After He had created our material universe, God created man, who is both matter and spirit. “And when the fullness of time was come” the Son of God would unite with the Divinity man’s nature composed of matter and spirit. Then came sin into the world, but man’s sin could not make void the divine decree; because of sin God’s plan was realized in a manner even more sublime. Not only will God’s only-begotten Son become man, but will also be the Saviour and restorer of all things.

Another step towards the implementation of God’s inscrutable design was the election of the Jewish people. Its mission was to preserve faith in the one true God, when all nations had lapsed into idolatry, and to keep alive the expectation of the Saviour: the Messiah was to be born in the house of Abraham. It is noteworthy that the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David, son of Abraham, which we read in the first chapter of St. Matthew, contains the names of not a few that were sinners (how could it be otherwise?), till we come to the name of “Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (Mt. 1:16).

We admire the delicate attention with which divine Wisdom prepares the last stage for the incarnation of the Son. God preserves her, who is to be His Son’s Mother, from every stain of sin. Mary was conceived without sin, redeemed in a sublime manner in prevision of Christ’s merits. The fullness of grace, which God had bestowed on her at the beginning, could and did grow steadily. That she had resolved to remain a virgin, and yet to espouse Joseph, we may attribute to a special guidance of the Spirit. Such guidance seems appropriate in the case of one that had been preserved from original sin, and chosen to become the Mother of God.

And thus Mary, though she was not aware of it, became God’s ultimate instrument in the consummation of His great design.

II. The Angel’s Message

On that memorable day, the “Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth”. The account of St. Luke (who was a physician) (1:26-37), the details of which he must have received from Mary herself, records the most important, the most confidential, the most sacred colloquy that ever took place on earth between two created beings. Let us, with reverence and devotion, read once again those “words”, which Mary kept in her heart, even more religiously than anything else, connected with those sacred events.

The Angel salutes her, allays her fears, does not ask whether she consents, but tells her she shall bear a Son, and yet remain a virgin, “because no word shall be impossible with God”.

Mary hears the message from heaven, thinks it right to ask a question; the angel gives her the answer, which removes every difficulty; and then she gives her consent. We admire her prudence, her wisdom, her sincerity, her humility.

III. Mary’s Answer

“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word” (Lk. 1:38). Mary’s Fiat was the most powerful word ever uttered by created lips. It was not a command, as when the Creator said, Fiat Lux; it was a Fiat spoken in acceptance of God’s will, a humble Fiat, befitting a creature, even a creature chosen to be the Mother of God, and Queen of Heaven and earth. And yet it was a mighty word, for which God waited to become man. And it was uttered in the fullness of her liberty. “Thou shalt bear a Son,” said the Angel; freely Mary gave her assent. God has been pleased to endow us with free will: that freedom He respects in every man, also in Mary, the holiest and most exalted of all His creatures.

Her Fiat implied the absolute and unlimited acceptance of God’s plan for man’s salvation, and of the part that was reserved for her in that plan. Did God, at that hour, vouchsafe unto her further light as to the manner in which our salvation was to be wrought: through suffering, death, and resurrection? About this, revelation is silent. But we know that, whatever light God was pleased to give her, she still had to walk by faith. “Blessed art thou that hast believed,” said St. Elizabeth. She was and remained the humble “handmaid of the Lord”, abiding by her Fiat all her life, till she stood at the foot of the cross.

Prayer: O God, by whose will Thy Word took Flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the message of Thy angel; grant us, who implore Thee, that we may enjoy the intercession before Thee of her whom we truly believe to be the Mother of God. Through the same Lord (Collect of the Feast).

Deo gratias et Mariae!

Amor meus crucifixus est.

Mon Dieu, comment je T'aime!

p/s: This link I got from The Beatific Vision's blog, on the Life of Mary compiled by Raphael Brown. Beautiful! I was reading about St. Anne and St. Joachim from the preview of the book in the amazon bookstore. I have the Mystical City of God by Venerable Mary of Agreda, and dear me, it's one of my best books I have on the life of Mary. Do check out the link on the Life of Mary compiled. very beautiful. :)

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