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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 December 5, 2019

It is impossible to save one's soul without devotion to Mary...

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December 5

 

It is impossible to save one's soul
without devotion to Mary
and without her protection.

Saint Anselm, Doctor of the Church


DEFEND Our Lady's HONOR !

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Sabas

His uncle’s wife treated him so harshly that when he was e...

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St. Sabas

Sabas was born in Cappadocia, the son of an army officer, who transferring to Alexandria, took with him his wife and left Sabas with his brother-in-law, who was also left in charge of the estate. His uncle’s wife treated Sabas so harshly that when he was eight he ran away to another uncle, Gregory, his father’s brother. As guardian of the boy, Gregory thought he should also run the estate, and trouble ensued. Upset, Sabas, who was of a quiet disposition, ran away again, this time to a monastery.

At the age of thirty, he obtained leave to live as a hermit five days of the week, and later retired into further solitude in the desert towards Jericho. After four years in the wilderness, hearing of his holiness, disciples began to flock to him, and, eventually, a monastery was established. St. Sabas was ordained a priest in 491 to minister the sacraments to his monks.

After the death of Sabas' father, his mother moved to Palestine and lived under her son’s direction. With the money his mother brought, he built three hospitals and a monastery.

In 511 when the holy abbot was seventy years old, Elias the Patriarch of Jerusalem sent him to Emperor Anastasius who was supporting the Eutychian heresy and persecuting the orthodox bishops.  But Anastasius was obdurate and contrived to have Elias deposed, exiled and replaced. For several years Sabas traveled, preaching and bringing those who had strayed back to the true faith and right living.

In his ninety-first year, he again traveled to Constantinople, this time to iron out trouble that had arisen in connection with a Samaritan revolt. This time he was successful and had the good will of Emperor Justinian who wished to lavish funds on his monastery. Instead, Sabas asked for a remission of taxes in favor of the Palestinians in consideration of what they had suffered on account of the Samaritans.

Back at his monastery, and feeling himself ailing, he appointed his successor and then spent four days in silence preparing to meet his Maker. On the evening of December 5, 532 he departed to Him Whom he had served since his boyhood.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One year, there was a famine, and most people were obliged t...

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The Heavenly Baker

In the time when Saint Catherine of Siena walked the streets of her quaint medieval town, she sometimes stayed at the house of a widow-friend, Alessia, to avoid the distractions of her noisy home.

One year, there was a famine, and most people were obliged to buy long stored wheat. The bread made from this wheat had a sour after-taste. But as the new harvest came in, and there was fresh wheat to buy, Alessia remarked to St. Catherine:

“Mother, this old wheat makes sour bread, so as the Lord has had pity on us, I will throw away the little that I still have.”

“You wish to throw away what the Lord has given us for our food?” replied Catherine, “at least give it to those who don’t even have that.”

“O, I feel guilty giving from the old wheat…I’d rather give from the new, fresh batch,” remonstrated Alessia.

Saint Catherine then asked that she give her the flour and some water, for she wished to make bread for the poor of Our Lord.

As Catherine worked, not only did she produce an astounding number of loaves from so little flour, but turned them out so fast that Alessia and her maid couldn’t believe their eyes.

Served at table, everyone was amazed how delicious and sweet these loaves were. “We haven’t tasted better!” they exclaimed. 

Moreover, when taken out to the poor and to the Friars, the bin kept giving without emptying.

Sometime later, on hearing of this miracle, St. Catherine’s confessor, Blessed Raymond of Capua, sensed that there was something “more” to this story, and pressed his spiritual child to tell him all.

So Catherine explained that as she had approached the flour box, she had seen the sweet Lady Mary standing there with several angels and saints graciously offering to help her make the bread.  So Mary Most Holy began to work the dough with Catherine, and by virtue of those immaculate hands not only was the wheat made sweet, but the number of loaves multiplied. 

“The Madonna herself gave me the loaves as she made them,” related Catherine, “and I passed them onto Alessia and her maid.”

“No wonder,” writes Blessed Raymond in his biography of Saint Catherine, “that that bread seemed so sweet , since it was made by the perfect hands of the holy queen, in whose most sacred body, the Trinity made the Bread that came down from heaven to give life to all unbelievers.”

And the same writer asserts that years after in Siena, people still treasured pieces of this blessed bread as relics. 

 

Taken from The Life of Saint Catherine of Siena by Blessed Raymond of Capua - By Andrea F. Phillips

 

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One year, there was a famine, and most people were obliged to buy long stored wheat.

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