Solemnity of the Annunciation | iPray with the Gospel
The angel came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus”.
Today we celebrate the Annunciation, which is also the Incarnation: God becoming a human being, like you and me. He was already in the world nine months before Christmas but only Mary and St Joseph knew it. Jesus was not in a hurry, you see? He didn’t have to spend all those months in Mary’s womb but He wanted to. Jesus didn’t want to be an exception. Today is a good day to pray for all those children who are still in their mothers’ wombs, called to be the saints of the 21st century with you and me.
St Gabriel announced to Mary the Name of her Son, Jesus; that Name which was going to be pronounced billions of times and which we try to keep on our lips frequently every day. A Name that is often associated with that other name: ‘Mary’, in the lovely prayer that the Angel taught us. Every time we say the Hail Mary we remind Our Lady of the happiest moments of her existence. She always listens to her children through this prayer.
A priest was asked by a hospital sister to visit patient number 7 in Ward 3. When he entered he found the patient dying. He was surprised to see the priest and told him that he hadn’t received the sacraments for many years. ‘Nevertheless’, he explained to the priest, ‘I have always kept up a promise I made to my mum on her deathbed: “to pray three Hail Mary’s every night”’. After a long conversation, the man made his Confession and received the Eucharist with great devotion. Leaving the Ward, the priest met the sister and found that he had been in Ward 4, and patient number 7 in Ward 3 was still waiting for him! This was soon put right, but the priest felt thankful for the mistake. He felt still more thankful when the following day he found out that the man in Ward 4 had died suddenly that night. The man had kept his promise… and Our Lady kept hers! Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).