Solemnity of the Annunciation, 2014

At Solemn Chapter yesterday morning, we heard a beautiful sermon on the Annunciation, and we share some excerpts from it here:
Once upon a time, over 2000 years ago, living quietly in a town called Nazareth was a lovely young Jewish virgin named Mary. She was a faithful descendant of Abraham, who belonged to the \”humble and lowly\” people of Israel and who waited fervently to welcome the Messiah with all her heart and mind. 
Mary had a plan for her life…she was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David (Lk 1:26). Had God not found favor in Mary, it appears that she would have lived the very normal life of a Jewish woman with her beloved husband. Looking at it from a human standpoint, Mary\’s life plan was concrete, practical and simple. However, God had a different plan for Mary. He sent the angel Gabriel to reveal his divine plan for her life. This plan was mysterious and greatly complex, changing her world, putting her faith to a big test, and challenging her to remain faithful to the Lord. How could Mary not be afraid? Did she have concerns? On the other hand, Mary was a true believer and her poor in spirit nature intensified her inward life with a trusting heart, with humility, with a dependence on and obedience to God. Unlike Eve, who in desiring to gain wisdom became disobedience and fell, Mary\’s consciousness of her lowliness formed within her a strong sense of trust in God, a need for God. She had a spirit of total surrender, perfect conviction, and passionate love for the Lord. She accepted God\’s plan for her life and said to the angel, \”Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.\” (Lk 1:38)

Pope Francis said, \”The Virgin Mary teaches us what it means to live in the Holy Spirit and what it means to accept the news of God in our life. Each one of us is called to accept the Word of God, to accept Jesus inside of us, and then to bring him to everyone.\” Our Dominican way of life emphasizes contemplating and then sharing with others the fruits of contemplation. As we celebrate the mysteries of the Annunciation, of God\’s love and mercy for us, of Mary herself, may we also contemplate the mysteries of our divine vocation as Christians and Dominicans. As we journey through this Lenten season, may we be inspired by Mary to learn from her and to imitate her virtues; may we make every effort with a strong conviction to fulfill God\’s will in our daily life; may we all meet God and hear his voice in our contemplation, and may we then share the fruits of our contemplation with each other and with all those whom we hold dear in our hearts!

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