Annunciation to Mary

Blessed feast of the Annunciation
 
The oldest surviving icon of the Annunciation is found in the Catacomb of Priscilla on the Via Salaria in Rome, Italy, and dates from the second half of the second century. Priscilla is thought to have been a well-to-do Roman who converted to Christianity and was martyred. These Christian catacombs, along with many others found surrounding Rome, are a treasury of early Christian iconography.

Liturgy for the Annunciation TODAY

Today is the feast of the Annunciation of Mary, the Mother of God. It is a Holy Day of Obligation
 
The Divine Liturgy for today:
 
Monday, March 25, Annunciation of the Theotokos
 
8:45 a.m. Litija and Blessing of Bread
9:00 a.m. God’s blessing and health for children, grandchildren requested by Stephanie Tsitaridis
~Myrovann
 
AND
 
7:00 p.m. For the People of the parish
~Anointing

The Feast of the Annunciation

Today the Church celebrates summit of our salvation.

The Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary that she would be the Theotokos almost always falls during the Great Fast. (*) According to the liturgical norms, it is celebrated on whatever day it falls, and the Divine Liturgy is celebrated, even on Good Friday. (**) The meaning of the Annunciation, however, is in conformity with the meaning of the Great Fast. The Great Fast is a journey from the sin of Adam and Eve to the Resurrection of our Lord. It is a passage from human pride to fidelity to God’s plan of salvation. The sin of Eve, which became the fundamental sin of the whole human race was to choose one’s own plan for salvation over God’s. It’s result, though, was death. Jesus in the resurrection, takes the power of death and twists it into life, as St. Paul said, “We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

Jesus was able to do this because he became a human being in the womb of Mary, who replaced Eve’s disobedience with obedience to God, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)” Thus, God “condescended” (that is, he came down to be with us) so that the plan of God could be lifted up. “Though he was in the form of God, [Christ] did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). Therefore, the Annunciation is a part of Pascha, as Melito of Sardis explained in his Paschal Homily: “And indeed there were many other things proclaimed by numerous prophets concerning the mystery of the passover, which is Christ, to whom be the glory forever. Amen.”

When this one came from heaven to earth for the sake of the one who suffers, and had clothed himself with that very one through the womb of a virgin, and having come forth as man, he accepted the sufferings of the sufferer through his body which was capable of suffering. And he destroyed those human sufferings by his spirit which was incapable of dying. He killed death which had put man to death” (65-66). We sing, “Today is the summit of our salvation.” (Troparion)

The Annunciation

Today is Palm Sunday; it is also the solemn feast of the Annunciation to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel. We celebrate both on the same day.

The Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary that she would be the Theotokos almost always falls during the Great Fast. (*) According to the liturgical norms, it is celebrated on whatever day it falls, and the Divine Liturgy is celebrated, even on Good Friday. (**) The meaning of the Annunciation, however, is in conformity with the meaning of the Great Fast. The Great Fast is a journey from the sin of Adam and Eve to the Resurrection of our Lord. It is a passage from human pride to fidelity to God’s plan of salvation. The sin of Eve, which became the fundamental sin of the whole human race was to choose one’s own plan for salvation over God’s. It’s result, though, was death. Jesus in the resurrection, takes the power of death and twists it into life, as St. Paul said, “We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)” Jesus was able to do this because he became a human being in the womb of Mary, who replaced Eve’s disobedience with obedience to God, “ “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)” Thus, God “condescended” (that is, he came down to be with us) so that the plan of God could be lifted up. “Though he was in the form of God, [Christ] did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)” Therefore, the Annunciation is a part of Pascha, as Melito of Sardis explained in his Paschal Homily: “And indeed there were many other things proclaimed by numerous prophets concerning the mystery of the passover, which is Christ, to whom be the glory forever. Amen.

When this one came from heaven to earth for the sake of the one who suffers, and had clothed himself with that very one through the womb of a virgin, and having come forth as man, he accepted the sufferings of the sufferer through his body which was capable of suffering. And he destroyed those human sufferings by his spirit which was incapable of dying. He killed death which had put man to death. (65-66)” We sing, “Today is the summit of our salvation.” (Troparion)

Fourth Sunday of Great Lent

This weekend we are celebrating the mystery of our Lord’s accepting human nature for our salvation. The Archangel Gabriel asks Mary to receive God’s plan and become the mother of the Son and Word of God, to be named “Jesus,” “Savior.” Mary replies, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)” Mary’s response to God was perfect and reversed the sin of Eve. In our Lenten journey, we are asked the same question by God, “Can you be perfectly obedient to my will.” This is not to put us into slavery, but to free us from the power of sin and death. Jesus gave the power to cast out evil to his followers, but in this Sunday’s Gospel, a distraught man who has a son possessed by a demon, comes to Jesus and laments, “I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were not able. (Mark 9:18)” Jesus immediately tells the man it is because of their lack of faith, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? (Mark 9:19)”

Mary’s obedience to God was perfect, and she gave birth to salvation, our obedience is not perfect, and so we are unable to cast out evil from our lives. Why is this? It may be because of weakness, that we are not strong enough to keep God’s law, and are in need of his strength through grace. It may be that we do not fully understand God’s will, and mix up our own desires with it. In any case, our Lord asks us to become more faithful in the second half of the Great Fast, since “this kind cannot be drive out by anything but prayer and fasting.” This is true faith.