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30. The Annunciation

1. It was fitting that there should be a solemnannouncement made to Mary that she was to conceive of the HolyGhost, and that her child was to be God himself made man. Thus Marywas informed in mind, and received Christ by faith, even before shereceived him in her womb. Besides, the Annunciation made Mary amore certain witness of the Incarnation, for here she had God'sown word for it. The Annunciation also gave to Mary the opportunityof free obedience to God's will; the angelic messenger of Godwaited for her reply: "Be it done to me according to thyword" (Luke 1:38). Finally, Mary's free consent to receiveour Lord was, in a manner, the consent of the human race to receivethe Eternal Son of God as the Redeemer.

2. It was right that an angel should be the messenger ofthe Annunciation. In God's order and plan, divine things arecommunicated to men by the ministry of angels. Further, as St. Bedethe Venerable says, it was right than an angel should come to Maryto announce the restoration of man, since a fallen angel came tocajole the first man to human ruin. Besides, virginity makes oneakin to angels; it is suitable that an angel be the messenger sentto the greatest of virgins.

3. The angel of the Annunciation appeared toMary. He had some visible form. This is right. An invisible spiritcame visibly to say that the invisible God would become visibleman. It was right that Mary should have bodily testimony of abodily conception. Lastly, the visible appearance of the angel andhis audible words were a more sure and striking testimony of whatwas to be than an inner revelation would have been.

4. There is right order in the Annunciation. First, theangel drew Mary's attention to the greatness of his message bysaluting her in a new and unusual manner. Next, he delivered hismessage. Then he led Mary to consent to God's will, referringto Elizabeth whose conceiving despite advanced age was an instanceof the almighty power of God. Then Mary said: "Behold thehandmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thyword."

"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

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"This is the greatest wisdom -- to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

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