25 March 2010

The Central Mystery

Apart from Christmas and the Triduum it is today that is my favorite celebration in the Liturgical cycle.  The collects, prayers, antiphons and readings for the day are, in my estimation, simply the most beautifully written and most theologically profound.  If you missed it, today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation.  It is the Most Solemn Feast of the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Often times the error is made that Christmas is the feast of the Incarnation, this is not true.  Rather, it is today, nine months prior to Christmas, that the Word of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity willed to be made Incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary thus changing the course of human history for all eternity.  Today is the day that the Church was born in both the womb and person of the Immaculate Mary.  Today is the day that, my patron, the Archangel Gabriel, was given the singular honor of conveying the message of this most inconceivable mystery to a poor teenage girl nearly 2000 years ago.  On this most amazing of days I want to share with everyone a quote from Pope, Saint Leo the Great found in the Office of Readings today:
He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.
  Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.
  He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death.  He who is true God is also true man.
V.  Et Verbum caro factum est.
R.  Et habitavit in nobis.

In the presence of such a mystery only in tears of joy and humble silence are found an adequate human response.

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