The dogwoods are out in bloom. Such blood on their leathery petals.
It must be Lady Day!
This solemnity is named after what the angel did: “The Annunciation.” That’s not right. It shouldn’t be. It’s enough to make an angel upset. And you DO NOT want any angel upset with you.
“Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum!”
Those words surely recall for you the great joy to be had in the family of faith when the Cardinal Proto-Deacon announces that an election has been made by the voting cardinals of a successor of Saint Peter, the bishop of the See of Rome, who is therefore and because of that the Supreme Pontiff, il Papa, the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ, a sign of unity, the one who is to confirm his brother successors to the apostles in the faith.
The proclamation avoids the pretension of using the same word chosen by Saint Jerome for his Latin translation of the Greek regarding the angel who is speaking of the birth of Christ to the shepherds who were watching their flocks by night: εὐαγγελίζομαι -euangelizo – I proclaim the Good News of a great joy [to you…]. Some of the Vetus Latina manuscripts simply, and not so accurately used the word to announce: annuntio vobis…
You’ll note that in two proclamations above, one to the family of faith about the earthly father of the family of faith and the other to the shepherds about the Good Shepherd, that the messengers keep their distance by emphasizing themselves: I am announcing to you a great joy… I am proclaiming the Good News to you, a great joy… Both announcements involve important events, but neither the newly elected Pontiff nor Jesus are immediately present, so that the messengers still have full authority and they need to mention this.
Instead, with announcement to Mary by the angel that she is to be the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, the angel takes himself out of the picture, and he tells her why:
“Χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη, ὁ κύριος μετὰ σοῦ. Rejoice, you who perfectly continue to stand perfectly transformed in grace [and, in context, since the time of the first moment in which you received your vocation to be the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, since your conception]; the Lord is with you!”
The angel could hardly point to his own authority for making this announcement of a great joy, this proclamation of the Good News, because Mary had more authority in the angel, for, as he said, it is the Lord Himself who is with her. The angel is simply there for her instruction at her discretion. The emphasis is on God and her being the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God.
Yes, besides Genesis 3:15, this passage in Luke 1:28 points to the Immaculate Conception. I beg Jesus daily that I have the time to write about all this. But that’s another post. Meanwhile:
Thank you, Jesus, for deigning to come among us through dearest Mary. Thank you, Mary, for offering your response from which so very much would follow:
Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum