Phone: 203 742-1450
Fairfield County Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Bridgeport

March 25, 2024

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
— Virgin Mary

During Lent, there’s a brief moment when we put aside our penitential observances to celebrate the Annunciation, commemorating the Angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary, unexpectedly and magnificently, to announce she has been chosen to be the Mother of God.

The Solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25 is celebrated nine months before the Nativity. As recounted in Luke 1:26-28, it’s a wondrous story about a girl visited by an angel, who says yes to God’s plan to bear his son.

The Solemnity of the AnnunciationGod in the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became one of us, and Mary has a central role to play in God’s plan to bring back a lost humanity. Look at the world around us, and you’ll see evidence of a humanity wandering in darkness, which is why the Annunciation is such a defining moment.

“The Annunciation is a humble, hidden event — no one saw it, no one except Mary knew of it — but at the same time it was crucial to the history of humanity,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote. God was able to “take on a human face’ only because Jesus’ ‘yes’ to the will of the Father was reflected in Mary’s ‘yes.’”

Over the centuries, the Annunciation has been one of the most frequently depicted themes in art. The oldest fresco of the Annunciation is from a 4th-century catacomb, and the Great Masters, from Botticelli to da Vinci, have interpreted it. However, one painting differs from the rest.

“The Annunciation” by African-American painter Henry Ossawa Tanner was completed in 1898 and depicts the encounter as “has rarely been done before, bringing together in unity the Divine and the human, the unseen and seen, mystery and reality.” Tanner’s work shows Gabriel as a shaft of light and Mary as a simple girl sitting on her bed.

There have been countless meditations on the Annunciation, but one is especially relevant during the National Eucharistic Revival. Servant of God John Hardon S.J. once wrote: “The moment He became incarnate, God became present as the God-man, and having instituted the Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday night, from the Annunciation through the Last Supper, God has decided to remain on Earth as the God-man in the Blessed Sacrament until the end of time.”

The same God who came into the virgin’s womb at the Annunciation still comes into us at Holy Communion. What a wonderful reminder during Lent.


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