What is The Annunciation of the Lord?
Preparing for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, Two Days before Sunday (Year C)
Old Testament: Isaiah 7:10-14
Epistle: Hebrews 10:4-10
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
O God, we rejoice in your salvation, for your Spirit brought to life in Mary the one who saves your people from their sins. Send your Spirit on your church to quicken all that is barren in us, that we may give birth to Christ for our world today. Amen.
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:30-33).
By Scott P. Richert
The feast of the Annunciation of the Lord celebrates Angel Gabriel's appearance to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38) and his announcement that she had been chosen to be the mother of the savior of the world. Also being celebrated during this feast was Mary's fiat, which means "let it be" in Latin—her willing acceptance of the news.
The Annunciation, which means "the announcement," is observed almost universally throughout Christianity, especially within Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Catholicism, and Lutheranism.
Date of the Feast
March 25 is the date of the feast unless that date falls on a Sunday in Lent, at any time during Holy Week, or at any time in the octave of Easter (from Easter Sunday through Divine Mercy Sunday—the Sunday after Easter). In that case, the celebration is transferred either to the following Monday or to the Monday after Divine Mercy Sunday.
The date of the feast, which is determined by the date of Christmas, is nine months prior to Christmas. This date was set by the seventh century
Type of Feast
The Feast of Annunciation is a solemn feast in Catholicism in honor of the Virgin Mary. Common prayers recited include the "The Hail Mary," and "The Angelus." This feast is also called the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Lutheran Church considers it a "festival," while the Anglican Church calls it a "principal feast." The Orthodox Church does not consider this a feast in honor of Mary, but rather Jesus Christ since it is was the day of his incarnation.
The 1970 Beatles song, "Let It Be," has the phrases: "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom: Let it be."
Many Christians interpret these lines to reference the Virgin Mary. In fact, according to Beatles member and songwriter Paul McCartney, the reference is more literal. McCartney's mother's name was Mary. She has succumbed to breast cancer when McCartney was 14. In a dream, his mother had comforted him, which became the inspiration for the song.
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