Angels

Virgin Mary: Trust and Obedience in the Lord

On this solemnity of the Annunciation, March 25th, we remember St. Luke’s account of the Annunciation:

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.”

“And when the angel had come to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.” When she had heard him she was troubled at his word and kept pondering what manner of greeting this might be.

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end”

“But Mary said to the angel, “How shall this happen, since I do not know man?”

“And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; and therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth thy kinswoman also has conceived a son in her old age, and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month; for nothing shall be impossible with God.”

And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1: 26-38)

Mary, the Blessed Mother, the Theotokos – “the God bearer” at first, questions Gabriel, “How shall this happen…” Upon his explanation Mary undertakes her all important journey with perfect trust and obedience to God’s will. She accepts her eternal role not in fear but in love. Mary will be the God Bearer, the bearer of her Son Jesus, our Savior, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

Jesus, at the moment of His conception, is both true God and true man: two natures in one Person.

iu-2

Icon of Mary: it is the icon called The Madonna of Saint Sisto, located in Rome in the Dominican convent of Monte Mario. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful icons of the Virgin from antiquity.

 

Mary is the perfect disciple of God. She provides us with the model of love, obedience, and trust in Him. There were many times throughout her life that she had to express her trust and obedience, and at times not knowing where the journey would lead. It led from the great joy of her pregnancy, Jesus’ birth, family life, through to His ministry, and her motherly presence before the Holy Cross.

A few verses later, in her beautiful canticle the Magnificat, she exclaimed to her kinswoman Elizabeth her lack of doubt in what has happened.  She praises the mercy of God and her willingness to be the servant of Him who is faithful to His word. In her humility, trust, love, and obedience to God, Mary, as the New Eve, will be given the privilege of crushing Satan at the end of time.

From the beginning, the Catholic Church has never worshipped Mary. The Church venerates her as the first disciple and its greatest saint.

On this beautiful Solemnity of the Annunciation let us join with the great St. John Henry Cardinal Newman in his prayer to Jesus: “Dear Jesus, Your Holy Mother cooperated with the divine plan for the human race. Let me try to imitate her in her obedience and service to You.” Thank you, Jesus.

Note: The sacred image that appears at the top of all of my posts is The Annunciation by Fra Angelico.

Copyright © 2011- 2020, Deacon Paul O. Iacono – All Rights Reserved. Permission to reprint must be obtained from the author in writing. Students, and those interested, may quote small sections of the article as long as the proper credit and notation is given. Thank you.

6 replies »

  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful Icon. Her eyes are simply mesmerizing.

    I love the way Gabriel’s glow reflects onto the underside of the wings.

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    • Valerie wonderful to hear from you. Fra Angelico’s faith in God and his love of the Scriptures enabled him to paint with such beauty and influence. Stay safe and pray to the Lord. Say hello to all our friends at St. Francis for me. Peace in Christ.

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  2. Deacon Paul, I find it fascinating that I only saw this icon maybe a week ago for the first time, and I fell in love with her. Did you receive me rendering of her? There are no coincidences with God!

    On Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 4:06 PM The Fra Angelico Institute for Sacred Art wrote:

    > Deacon Paul O. Iacono posted: “On this solemnity of the Annunciation, > March 25th, we remember St. Luke’s account of the Annunciation: “Now in the > sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called > Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the ho” >

    Like

    • Vicky, yes, thank you! I did receive your rendering and I thought you would enjoy seeing the original in my post. Her hands were originally covered in golden gloves. The gloves signified that this icon was associated with miracles attributed to her. As Sister Wendy Beckett said, she is not holding the baby Jesus, even though the first icons had her doing so. Sister Wendy said that this is because “she was holding Him in her heart.” In my opinion it may also indicate that this rendition of Mary suggests her life after the Ascension of the Lord. The expression in her eyes may indicate that, too.

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    • Hi Laurie! Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
      Say hi to Mark for me.
      I, too, hope that you and your family are well.
      As St. Pio said: “Pray, love, and don”t worry.”
      Say hi to all the good people at St. Francis of Assisi Church for us!
      May the peace of Christ be with you all.

      Like

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