The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary
and she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord
be it done to me according to your word.
And the Word was made flesh
and dwells among us.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Pray for us O holy Mother of God
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech thee O Lord, thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ our Lord was made known by the message of an angel, may by his passion and cross, be brought to the glory of his Resurrection, through Christ our Lord, Amen.
SIGN OF SIGNS
This talk, "Sign of Signs," by Don Giussani provides a commentary on the Angelus that opens me more and more to the beauty of this prayer:
"Be it done to me according to your word." Mary accepted straight away, and this is the source of mysterious things which, if you are faithful to your path, the Lord will make you understand, more and more, more and more.
If we too could say what our Lady said - say what the Angelus says: our Lady's yes - with that total, global, deep persuasion that was in her, in the same way that a baby recognizes his mother without any hesitation when he hears her voice or sees her face - a little baby picks out his mother's face from a crowd of women and stretches out his arms to her -; if we could really live the way everything began, the first moment, the way it began with our Lady, the announcement of the angel - an exceptional presence, which imposes itself so much, which is so obvious to someone with a simple and intelligent soul as only God can intend and want to create in a creature -: it would be really beautiful!
The way he reaches us cannot be different, there is no difference between the way in which our Lady realized - so much so that she said yes immediately - and the way in which it happens to us.
The Gospel calls "an angel" that mysterious personality which spoke to our Lady, giving her that enormously strange message, but in such a way that her heart (she was about 15, 16 or 17) was immediately invaded. And this was made possible, conceivable, by the human structure proper to Judaism, which has been the vehicle in history of God's covenant with man, that is, of the way which God has used so as to be able to give himself, to be able to help men. It was the same way for Our Lady, the identical ultimate way in which God dealt with the Jewish people: identical. Throughout history he expressed himself through the leaders of the people and the prophets, because it was the leaders of the people that dictated to the people what they should do: the psalms... (the whole Bible tells what the Lord made known through the leaders and prophets). But with our Lady he was more direct, he actually placed himself before her. In the Gospel there's no detailed description of what our Lady said; it is simply clear that what was happening was a mystery, the source of what was happening was a mystery, but in such a persuasive way that, given the education that she had had, it was likely (it wasn't impossible, it wasn't unlikely). Our Lady just said yes, "Fiat."
"And the angel left her." What I want tell you, what I've just sketched out now, roughly, pointing out what happened to our Lady, happens to us! It has happened and it does happen to us! Not like a mechanical repetition, not like a rather formal repetition in which we insert, or try to insert the way we understand the thing. A seed, says St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:36-37)... notice that a seed develops and then there's nothing left of it other than the memory of someone who keeps in mind all the factors of a history. This happens to us. Anyone who is called in Baptism is destined to be, in the world, part of that reality in which the factor of what the Gospel calls an "angel", what appeared to our Lady as an angel, is brought about in history. It's exactly the same process.
From whom did we receive the announcement that God became man? From our father and mother, from our parents. But along with them? From the parish, the groups in the parish centre, our friends there, from the atmosphere of a people which is Christian. The particular circumstances may differ in their details, but it is through that: for you the angel is this company of yours, that person, the Bishop and the Pope. The angel is called Church.
Now the problem is this and with this I conclude -: in the apostles, faith in Jesus is understandable, but how can we know if Jesus is God or not, that God became man, that he is among us through this figure, this figure of a man, historically datable but without compare, lasting in the world (because the Church is Christ who is living right up to now)? And how do you have faith in the Church? You should already know the answer: through the vocational company; when the Church becomes a vocational company. This makes the relationship between man and woman a sacrament, a mystery.
And this vocational company has the house as its first way of documenting itself - not only in a chronological sense, but also as the force which shakes us as the angel "shook" Mary, shook her heart. So this word ... carries the total meaning of our lives: either we learn through that company or else we don't learn at all. This is why the Bible would make us talk about the house as the place - according to all the analogies the term has - where God communicates himself in his humanity, i.e. he communicates himself as Man-God.
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