Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

I was completely blank on today being a feast day of any sort. Thanks to Ingrid for pointing out to me that this is the Annunciation so I could join in celebrating the wonder of Mary's yes to God's messenger.

This actually makes me think about Tolkien's including March 25 as a significant date in The Lord of the Rings. (Yes, three podcasts and all that talking have left me with Tolkien on the brain.) 

I think of Tolkien mentioning in a letter that faithful Sam was truly the hero of the book. He humbly served Frodo for the love of his master. The hardships he went through as Frodo's companion were more than he'd have been able to imagine. And yet he never even considered turning back, though Elrond made it clear that anyone except Frodo could without any need to feel obligated.

Tolkien was such a devout Catholic that surely Mary's loving service and "yes" without understanding the cost to herself surely had to be part of the worldview that went into creating Sam's character. It surely helps me understand Mary just a tiny bit more.

And now with that lengthy thought out of the way, here is something from those who gave this celebration due consideration and which I last featured in 2012.

Leonardo da Vinci. The Annunciation.
Detail. c. 1472-1475. Oil and tempera on wood. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.

On today's feast the Church celebrates the mystery of the Incarnation and, at the same time, the vocation of Our Lady. It was her faithful response to the angel's message, her fiat, that began the work of redemption...

The setting of this feast day, March 25th, corresponds to Christmas. In addition, there is ancient tradition that the creation of the world and the commencement and conclusion of the Redemption all happened to coincide at the vernal equinox.

As the greatest proof of his love for us, God had his only Son become man to save us from our sins. In this way Jesus merited for us the dignity of becoming children of God. His arrival signalled the fullness of time. St. Paul puts it quite literally that Jesus was born of a woman. (cf The Navarre Bible, Romans and Galatians, note to Gal 4:4) Jesus did not come to earth as a spirit. He truly became man, like one of us. He received his human nature from Our Lady's immaculate womb. Today's feat, therefore, is really in honour of Jesus and Mary. That is why Fr. Luis de Granada has pointed out: It is reasonable to consider, first and foremost, the purity and sanctity of the Woman whom God chose 'ab aeterno' to give form to his humanity.

When God decided to create the first man, he first took care to create a fitting environment for him, which was the Garden of Eden. It makes sense, then, that when god made ready to send his Son, the Christ, he likewise prepared for him a worthy environment, namely, the body and soul of the Blessed Virgin. (Life of Jesus Christ, I)

As we consider the significance of this Solemnity, we find Jesus very closely united to Mary. When the Blessed Virgin said Yes, freely, to the plans revealed to her by the Creator, the divine Word assumed a human nature: a rational soul and a body, which was formed in the most pure womb of Mary. The divine nature and the human were united in a single Person: Jesus Christ, true God and, thenceforth, true Man; the only-begotten and eternal Son of the Father, and from that moment on, as Man, the true son of Mary. ... (J. Escriva, Friends of God, 274)
Have you ever noticed how many annunciation paintings have Mary interrupted at her reading? This is because of Mary's association with the Word. I never noticed this myself until I had to look through many paintings on the subject for a book I was laying out.

Also, it's a feast day, y'all! No fasting. That means no Lenten sacrifice. So Tom can have some ice cream! It's the little things, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment