March 25, 2022

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. But Mary said to the angel,

“How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”

There are any number of miraculous births recounted in the Old Testament. Perhaps the best thing for us to keep in mind is Gabriel’s response that “Nothing is impossible for God.” However, let us focus on Mary’s question. It is often treated biologically, with Mary seeing her virginity as posing a problem to her becoming a mother. The question is much more practical than that, however.

Gabriel had just told her that she was to be the mother of the messiah. She protested that she was a nobody. She had no relations with a man. Women were defined by the men in their lives in those days. A Chinese woman once told me that a woman has three obediences in her life. When young, she obeys her father; when married, she obeys her husband. When her husband dies, she obeys her oldest son. It was much the same in Mary’s day. How could God choose one with no status like her to give birth to a savior?

Perhaps we need to have a similar sense of humility in our relations with God. We celebrate Mass as if we are worthy to receive communion as if we deserve God’s favor. We fail to appreciate the extent of God’s undeserved goodness to us. When we celebrate the annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, we could pray to Mary to have her sense of humility so that we receive God’s graciousness with deep gratitude.

Let Us Pray:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, pray for us sinners so that we may recognize how undeserving we are of God’s favor.


Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015. His most recent book is A Eucharistic Spirituality: Inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist, which he co-authored with Jim Brown.