Monday, March 26, 2007


Blessed Annunciation!

As it's more geared to today than yesterday, and given the prayer's provenance from this feast, here's a translation of Benedict XVI's talk at yesterday's Angelus.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

March 25th recalls the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This year, it coincides with a Sunday of Lent, and is thus celebrated tomorrow. However, I'd like to dwell now on this stupendous mystery of the faith, that we meditate upon each day in the recitation of the Angelus. The Annunciation, recounted at the beginning of the Gospel of St Luke, is a humble occurrence, hidden -- no one sees it, no one knows it, besides Mary -- but at the same time decisive for the history of humanity. When the Virgin says her "yes" to the news of the Angel, Jesus was conceived and with Him began the new age of history, which would be then sanctified in the Pasch as "a new and everlasting Covenant." In reality, the "yes" of Mary is the perfect reflection of that of Christ himself when he entered the world, as the Letter to the Hebrews writes interpreting Psalm 39: "Here, I come -- as is written of me in the scroll -- to fulfill, o God, your will" (Heb 10:7). The obedience of the Son is reflected in the obedience of his Mother and so, in the encounter of these two "yes"es, God was able to take on the face of man. And so the Annunciation is also a Christological feast, celebrating a central mystery of Christ: his Incarnation.

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to your Word." The response of Mary to the Angel is carried forth in the Church, called to render Christ present in history, offering its own availability that God might continue to visit humanity with his mercy. The "yes" of Jesus and of Mary so renews itself in the "yes" of the saints, especially the martyrs, who've been killed for the cause of the Gospel. I underscore this by recalling that yesterday, 24 March, the anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, the Day of prayer and fasting for missionary martyrs was celebrated: bishops, priests, religious men and women and laity taken down in the exercise of their mission of evangelization and human advancement. These missionary martyrs, as this year's theme says, are "hope for the world," as they testify that the love of Christ is stronger than violence and hatred. They didn't seek martyrdom, but were ready to give their lives to remain faithful to the Gospel. Christian martyrdom only justifies itself as the supreme act of love to God and to one's brothers.

In this Lenten season, we more frequently contemplate the Madonna who on Calvary sealed the "yes" pronounced at Nazareth. United to Jesus, the Witness of the Father's love, Mary lived the martyrdom of the soul. Let us invoke her intercession with trust, that the Church, faithful to its mission, gives to the whole world a courageous testimony to the love of God.

Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae....