Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Annunciation of the Lord

Lest we think that in submitting himself to the will of God [Christ] exempted himself from depending upon the will of men, let us recall that he was handed over as a victim to the will of sinful men, to the will of Hell:  "But this is your hour," he said, "and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53).  He did not await the Cross to make this submission.  Mary was the first altar upon which he was immolated.  Mary was the temple where he first rendered homage to God, where for the first time this great and marvelous spectacle of a God submissive and obedient even unto death, even giving himself up for sinners and to Hell itself in order that they might have their way with him.  Why this abasement?  To confound our pride.

In the sight of so profound an abasement, who could refuse to submit?  Of what obedience can we complain when we see the wills of the men to whom the Savior of souls submitted?  To the will of the cowardly Pilate, of the treasonous Judas, of the High Priests, and of the barbaric soldiers who made sport of him?  After this example of submission, we ought to cherish the lowest places, which, after the abasement of the incarnate God, have henceforth become the most honorable.

Mary joins us today in these sentiments.  Even though her angelic purity was a powerful attraction to make Jesus Christ be born in her, it was not her purity that brought this mystery to its consummation:  it was her humility and her obedience.  If Mary had not said that she was a handmaiden, in vain would she have been a virgin, and we would not exclaim today that her womb is blessed.  Let us profit from this lesson.  Let us meditate attentively upon this truth.

~Meditations for Lent by Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, let me not complain, let me not refuse to submit!  Teach me, I beg You, Your faithful obedience and loving humility.  Make me one with You and Your Blessed Mother in always seeking and cherishing the lowest places, where the Father dwells in all His glory.  Amen.

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