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Monday, March 26, 2007

Announcing Good News



March 26, 2007 -- Solemnity of the Annunciation.

Toss that lenten penance aside today as today is a Solemnity.

But, I'd like to suggest some meditation fodder for today's feast. Gabriel brought Mary news that revealed God's plans for her. To Mary, however, it seemed to be at odds with her abilities. She was impeded from the ordinary means of baby making, and yet, this angel told her she was to bear the Son of God. Quite a dilemma. Mary asked, "how?" It's that easy.

Mary's question both tests the angel and shows her belief that God can do all things. Mary must have thought that the angel may not be an authentic messenger, for she knew that her vow prevented the ordinary means of having a baby. But unlike Zacharias, who scoffed the notion of a baby, Mary just asks the angel to explain how these things were going to reconcile. In this easy question, she also puts it to the angel to reveal the plan God made -- for if this angel was from God, God would have made a way for all of the means to be licit. For Zacharias, 2+2=4, even 2+2+God=4. For Mary, 2+2=4 and 2+2+God = ? she knew enough to ask.

The contrast of Zacharias's response needs a little mention here. For him, he had it all figured out. Two old people couldn't make a baby. He knew it. His penance for such lack of theological hope was medicinal in many ways. To be struck dumb for those nine months means he had to shut up and watch and meditate -- not tell everyone how it is for so long. A little more of that is needed in today's age where people think they have it all figured out. Some even think they have it more figured out than Mother Church.

Some folks in today's world, upon hearing the angel might have run off and broken their vow and tried to make a baby, using their own plan. It could be anything -- they might have heard an angel say "go make a school" and then run off, broken promises and done it their own way. Same thing. If it was Zacharias, he'd have run out and bought some Viagra. Others would have dismissed the angel. Not Mary. She actually conversed with the angel and got the details, instead of acting on impulse.

Ask yourself today if you act more like Zacharias or Mary when God reveals plans to you.

Or, do you get a holy idea and then run roughshod over everything in an attempt to make that idea happen?

Mary's patience with the angel, and her humility in recognizing that God knew how all the pieces were supposed to fit together makes her the perfect model for us. Today is the day to consider not just the good news of the arrival of Jesus, but also how we are to act on such good news in our own lives.

Ask your angel to explain it all some more to you today. May St. Gabriel and our Blessed Mother bring some good news to each of us today, as well as some little treat of a day for such a holy day.

UPDATE:
I should also mention that the Universal Calendar I use lists today as also being the Synaxis of St. Gabriel.

From the quote on the calendar: "Today is the beginning of our salvation and the revelation of the Mystery that has been planned from all eternity: the Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel announces this grace. Let us join him in crying out to the Mother of God 'Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you!'"

AND

Archangel Gabriel is remembered as the Defender of the Church and of Christian civilization.
Captains and Leaders of the armies of heaven, unworthy as we are, we beseech you without cease to surround us with your intercessions and cover us beneath the shelter of the glory of your ethereal wings. We bend our knees and cry out with perseverance, "Deliver us from danger, O Princes of the Powers on high!"

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