The Solemnity of the Annunciation celebrates the coming of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce to her the special mission God had chosen for her in being the mother of His only son.
“Behold the Handmaid of the Lord”
The feast of the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25, nine months before Christmas. This feast celebrates the day the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and asked her to be the Mother of Jesus. Mary was an ordinary girl from a simple town. Yet, God chose her from all time, and set her apart to be the mother of His Son. She was preserved from the stain of original sin from the very moment of her conception. This is the doctrine of The Immaculate Conception. Mary was never without Grace but she was still human. She is not some far off woman who is not acquainted with what it is like to be human. Mary understands, loves, and cares for each one of us in a very special way. She is truly the best of mothers.
We are continually reminded of the importance of this feast to our salvation in various devotional prayers. Two examples that highlight the importance of this feast are the joyous mysteries of the Rosary and the Angelus. There is so much we can learn from Mary through the Annunciation. Through her yes, Mary teaches us what our response to God should be. Being Full of Grace did not diminish Mary’s ability to say no. She could have said no to the Angel but she freely chose to say yes. Mary is known as “the New Eve,” because she chose to say yes, while Eve turned away from God’s plan.
When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he said “Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.” The words of the Angel Gabriel are so special, they are part of the Hail Mary.
“Mary showed complete trust in God by agreeing to be used as an instrument in his plan of salvation. She trusted him in spite of her nothingness because she knew he who is mighty could do great things in her and through her. Once she said “yes” to him, she never doubted. She was just a young woman, but she belonged to God and nothing nor anyone could separate her from him.”
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
The feast of the Annunciation began to be celebrated on this day during the fourth and fifth centuries, soon after the date for celebrating Christmas was universalized throughout the Church. This feast celebrates the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity and the salvation of all mankind. This point of our salvation was deeply discussed by many of the Church fathers, to explain it to the faithful and to show the deep love God has for us. Some of the Church fathers who wrote on this were St. Athanasius, St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Augustine.