The Inseparable Bond between the Annunciation and Christmas
The Feast of Christmas is a sublime mystery that radiates throughout the earth each year unto the edification of many. To think that the Creator of all things was born into the world as man!
Yet there is a still greater mystery, and that is that the Creator assumed human flesh and became man. This occurred, not when Christ was born, but upon the Blessed Virgin’s “fiat” after the angel Gabriel announced to Her that She was to be the Mother of God. It was then that the Holy Ghost miraculously engendered Christ in Mary’s ever-virginal womb.
The Mystical City of God by Venerable Mary of Agreda, which has the backing of five centuries of popes, provides a beautiful insight as to what occurred in Mary’s soul immediately after the Archangel entered Her chamber and announced that She would bring the Son of God into the world:
“Her most pure heart, as it were by natural consequence, was contracted and compressed with such force, that it distilled three drops of Her most pure blood, and these, finding their way to the natural place for the act of conception, were formed by the power of the Divine and Holy Spirit, into the Body of Christ Our Lord. Thus the matter, from which the most holy humanity of the Word for our Redemption is composed, was furnished and administered by the most pure heart of Mary and through the sheer force of Her true love. At the same moment, with a humility never sufficiently to be extolled, inclining slightly Her head and joining Her hands, She pronounced these words, which were the beginning of our salvation: ‘Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum’ (Luke 1:31).
“At the pronouncing of this ‘fiat,’ so sweet to the hearing of God and so fortunate for us, in one instant, four things happened. First, the most holy Body of Christ Our Lord was formed from the three drops of blood furnished by the heart of most holy Mary. Secondly, the most holy Soul of the same Lord was created, just as the other souls. Thirdly, the Soul and the Body united in order to compose His perfect humanity. Fourthly, the Divinity united Itself in the Person of the Word with the humanity, which together became one composite being in hypostatic union; and thus was formed Christ true God and Man, Our Lord and Redeemer. This happened in springtime on the twenty-fifth of March, at break or dawning of the day, in the same hour, in which our first father Adam was made.”
One has to wonder if maybe the Feast of the Annunciation will one day be raised to the same solemnity as Christmas, whereupon it too would be a holy day of obligation. At a time when pro-life vs. pro-death is becoming the big issue on earth, this would serve mightily to remind people that life begins when we are conceived, not when we are born.
And too, it would add another star in Our Lady’s crown in that it would cause people to take a closer look at this infallible Church teaching concerning how the Holy Ghost engendered Christ in the Blessed Virgin without the aid of man. It would place the spotlight right on the miracle!
This no doubt would shed increased light on why Catholics hail Mary, since it was through the Archangel’s salutation to Mary—”Hail, full of grace” (Luke 1:28)—that God opened up the story of man’s Redemption. This plan for man’s redemption would never have been fulfilled had Mary not consented to God’s proposal.
For She was preordained from the beginning of time to be that spotless receptacle through whom the Messiah was to be channeled into the world. Her predestined role was set in motion when She said “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.”
It is an error to think that God would have chosen another woman to give birth to the Messiah had Mary said no to God. In the same way that God did not choose another Eve after her fall, neither would He have chosen another Mary had She declined from assisting the Almighty. Mary was the second Eve who reversed the mistake of the first Eve, thus opening the way for man’s salvation. And how interesting to note that Ave (“hail,” in Latin) providentially is Eva spelled backwards!
Hence we are indebted to Mary. Like the shepherds who “came with haste” and “found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger” (Luke 2:16), we too must approach Our Lady if we ever expect to see Her Son. For it is Mary who brings Christ to man, without whom we will never know Christ. For God has given Her complete custody over the children of earth. If Mary doesn’t show us Her Son, who will?
Our reflection on the mystery of the Annunciation should serve to deepen our reflection on the mystery of Christmas, whereby we understand that it concerns Mary’s divine Motherhood. After all, whom do we congratulate at a baby shower, the mother or the child? And whereas we indeed congratulate and prostrate ourselves before the Christ Child at Christmas, we may not leave the Mother out of the picture, for it is Her Son Whom we celebrate at Christmas. Like the shepherds who came in haste, we too must ask Mary’s permission to see Her Son, which if we do, we will be given the necessary grace to know who Christ truly is.