On Monday we celebrate the solemnity of the Annunciation that Jesus was to be born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Each year at nine months before Christmas, this initiation of the core of salvation history is commemorated. In the sacred liturgy, we recognize this solemnity by offering a Gloria in the Mass and by genuflecting during the creed which will be offered at Mass on Monday. The Gloria is significant since during Lent we do not offer a Gloria except on this Solemnity and on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, which we had on March 19th. When we genuflect during the words “He came down from heaven” we repeat the action which we do every Christmas.
God does not intrude upon us. Notice how the Archangel Gabriel was sent to ask for Mary’s free cooperation in the divine plan of salvation. When Gabriel asks if Mary would receive Jesus he waited patiently for her response. Only when Mary said “yes” or “fiat” in Latin did the archangel depart from her. Once God received the “yes” He desired from Mary, the perfect plan of salvation proceeded. Nine months later the King of Glory would be born, 30 years later He would offer His Sermon on the Mount and then three years after He would complete the saving work of His passion, death and resurrection.
The significance of the annunciation has been depicted over and over again in Catholic art. I have heard it speculated that the annunciation is the most depicted scene in human history. Throughout history, people have pondered the good news that Gabriel offered to Mary. It began with Mary’s simple “yes”!