Annunciation, 2012

Today the Holy Church Celebrates the feast of the Annunciation of the most Holy Mother of God. After the Lord cursed man for the sin of disobedience, many centuries and millenia passed. And on that day the Good News was heard, the news that the promise given by God to the foremother Eve was being fulfilled: Thou shalt bruise his (the devil's) heel (Genesis 3:15). The Archangel Gabriel announced to the Immaculate Virgin: Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee... (Luke 1:28). The Archangel announced to the Virgin, that she had been chosen for the birth of the Savior of the world. Although the Righteous Joseph was Her betrothed, the Immaculate Virgin had made a vow to preserve Her virginity for God's sake, and therefore answered the Archangel incredulously: How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (Luke 1:34). And the Archangel communicated the heavenly mystery to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). The Virgin's own consent was needed for this election, and she replied: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38). Thus occurred the beginning of our salvation.

Who is not touched, who does not delight in the election of this modest and meek Maiden to such exalted service? Many centuries have come and gone, there were many modest and meek maidens, but no one was worthy to perform this but Mary of Nazareth.

Doesn't every one of us want to merit God's grace, not so exalted perhaps, more modest, but all the same to be chosen for God's service?

If an angel declared that we had been elected, would we refuse? By the way, it is not an angel, but the Lord Himself who calls us to, “Rejoice, you have been chosen for salvation.” How must we respond to this election? We must answer like the Mother of God, Behold the handmaid (or servant) of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38).

But perhaps someone will say, “yes, but for the Mother of God this election imparted God's grace to her and the joy of contact with God; while for us this is connected with tremendous spiritual efforts, it obliges us to take up our cross and follow the Lord. This requires much exertion along a narrow and sorrowful path. This is especially true in our day, when there are so many wide paths leading to destruction.”

But for the Mother of God as well her election was a cross to bear. Just think what it cost her to watch her Son be crucified! Her pain, as a mother, was the same as if she had been crucified herself.

Therefore, we will not be shaken when we hear the Lord's call. Just like the Pure Virgin, we will answer humbly in the affirmative, for only with our participation can our salvation be achieved. Amen