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Header - Reflection on St Gabriel and the Annunciation

 

This is a reflection on Saint Gabriel and the Annunciation. It discusses both since the feast of Saint Gabriel the Archangel is on March 24th, the vigil of the Annunciation.

 

Statues on a Church

A comment on a passage taken from Saint Luke:


And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee". Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought to herself what manner of salutation this might be. And the angel said to her: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God."

"Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end."

 

Read: In Honor of The Annunciation, March 25

 

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And Mary said to the angel: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?"

And the angel answering, said to her: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

"And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God."

And Mary said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."

As far as I can recall, the only thing we know of Saint Gabriel, the Archangel is found in this episode. He was sent by God to deliver this magnificent message to Our Lady. We can have some idea of what this archangel is like by looking at the nature of the task he was given.

There is a correlation between the angel and his virtue on the one hand, and the mission he receives from God, on the other. Through one, we can make conjectures about the other.

Thus, what was the message that Saint Gabriel, which means "the strength of God," took to Our Lady? It is a message that affirms the Incarnation of the Word and therefore the greatest act of power and domination that God could exercise upon the world.

Fra Angelico - Annunciation ImageWith the Incarnation of the Word, God was preparing to rescue the world. In doing this, He, who is king of the world by right, also became king by conquest.

Thus, He – the second Person of the Blessed Trinity – entered the earth to conquer on the cross, in this special way, He established His kingship upon the world.

"Behold the king has come! He is going to reign!"

Saint Gabriel must be seen, therefore, as announcing the victorious entry of Our Lord Jesus Christ into humanity. He was like a herald that goes before a victorious king overcoming all obstacles in his way and announcing: "Behold the king has come! He is going to reign!" This is a first view that we have of this archangel.

Another view we must have is that of the devotee of Mary par excellence. He was the one who made the first Hail Mary; he was the one who gave Our Lady a message that revealed to her who she was. For up until that moment, according to all the interpretations I have read, she did not know she was to become the Mother of God.

She prayed for the Messias to come soon to the earth and also that she might become the servant of His Mother so as to render her some small services. That was her great ambition.

When Gabriel the Archangel came and announced that she herself was going to be the Mother of the Messias, he made her, so to speak, understand who she was. His message explained to her why she had continuously received an immense river of graces throughout her life. She understood the depth of the sanctity for which she was called. The angel's announcement made her comprehend her own mission.

Hence, when he made this revelation to Mary, he rendered Her this outstanding service, which was an act of supreme nobility ordered by God. As a result, this act established a very special bond between Saint Gabriel and Our Lady. In this sense, he was a kind of prophet who manifested to Our Lady what her whole life would be like and what her mission would be. Thus, another aspect of this archangel's personality is a great union with Our Lady and a great devotion to her.

  

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Finally, we can consider another side, which is the manner in which he gave his message. It was impregnated with a great purity. No message is more chaste than this one, which announced the virginal maternity. It showed such a love for purity on the part of God, that, in order to safeguard Our Lady's virginal chastity, He decided on a way to conceive Our Lord Jesus Christ that involved no work of man: She would be the Spouse of the Holy Ghost.

St GabrielIn the Annunciation, the archangel is particularly protective of her purity and chastity.  If we were to see him, he would inspire in us a thousand desires and acts of admiration and longing to possess purity to a eminent degree.

From this, we can draw some applications for the prayers we can still address to him today. Saint Gabriel announced the coming and triumph of the Messias to Our Lady and thus to all men. We should ask that he now announce the recovery of God's effective kingship upon the earth through the coming of the fulfillment of the Fatima message.

Today we are in a situation that is even worse than that of the ancient world before Our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we can ask that Our Lord Jesus Christ reign once again, that He establish His reign on earth in Mary and through Mary, and that this period of darkness in which we find ourselves come to an end. He has done one thing, let Him do the other.

He had the key to do it to close the era of antiquity, and thus opened a new epoch.  Let Him close this era and open the Reign of Mary.

Second: we should ask Saint Gabriel for an enormous, superabundant devotion to Our Lady and that this devotion grows every instant until the end of our lives.

Third: we should ask him for a most ardent, intransigent, vigilant and therefore most militant love of purity; and to have every form of revulsion and disdain for impurity in every way and degree.  This is what we should ask him.  May he thus protect us and bring us closer to Our Lady.

 


The above text was taken from an informal lecture given by Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. It has been translated and adapted for publication without his revision. –Ed.

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for August 5, 2021

To the servant of God … every place is the right place and...

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August 5

 

To the servant of God
… every place is the right place,
and every time is the right time.

St. Catherine of Siena


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Saint of the day

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Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major

Built over the place where a miraculous snow fell in the mid...

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Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major

Santa Maria Maggiore or St. Mary Major is the largest church in the world honoring the Virgin Mary and was erected in the immediate aftermath of the Council of Ephesus of 431, which proclaimed Mary Mother of God.
Standing atop one of Rome’s seven hills, the Esquiline, it is also called Santa Maria ad Nives, or "at the snow." It is said that the Mother of God chose this location for a church dedicated in her honor by a miraculous snow that fell upon this spot in summer. Legend has it a rich and pious Roman senator and his wife thought of donating their money and properties to the Church. That night, in August of 358, Our Lady appeared in the dreams of the senator and Pope Liberius asking them to build her a basilica in the exact place where snow would fall that night. Since then, Our Lady has been venerated in Italy as “Our Lady of the Snow.”

The basilica is also home to a few remnants of the humble crib in which Christ was laid at His birth. These pieces of the manger were carried to Rome by Christians fleeing the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land in the 7th century. They are preserved in a silver reliquary resembling an ordinary manger, upon which lies an image of the Infant Jesus. The Holy Crib is the object of particular devotion and veneration during the liturgical ceremonies of Christmas Eve and Midnight Mass. On Christmas morning there is a procession in honor of the Holy Crib of the Infant Jesus, which culminates in the exposition of the sacred relic on the high altar.

Another venerable treasure of Santa Maria Maggiore is the icon of Our Lady under the invocation of  "Salus Populi Romani," literally translated as "health (or salvation) of the Roman people." According to tradition, this image of Mary embracing Jesus as a young boy was the work of the evangelist St. Luke, who painted it on a tabletop made by Our Lord himself in St. Joseph's carpentry shop. This miraculous icon has been carried in processions around Rome on many occasions. In 593 the newly-elected Pope St. Gregory the Great had the icon carried in public procession through the streets of Rome praying for an end to the Black Plague. Pope St. Pius V followed his example in 1571 to pray for victory during the Battle of Lepanto, as did Pope Gregory XVI in 1837 to pray for the end of the cholera epidemic.

Second Photo by: Fczarnowski

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In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.