On Monday, we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation, when God sent the archangel Gabriel to Mary with the calling to be the Mother of Jesus Christ and Mary said, “Be it done to me according to thy word.” Luke 1:26-38. In most years this solemnity is on March 25; but because that day was Palm Sunday this year, the Church transferred the celebration to April 9.
Mary was and is the perfect model of receiving the presence of Jesus into our lives and sharing Him with others. And thus the Annunciation is a good occasion to begin a series of reflections on how the events of Mary’s life show us different ways of growing in our life with Christ.
This and twelve following articles will reflect upon what we can learn from twelve events in Mary’s life: the Annunciation; the Visitation; the birth of Jesus and visit of the shepherds; the visit of the Magi; the Presentation; the finding of Jesus in the Temple; Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana; Mary’s attempt to see Jesus during His public preaching; the Crucifixion; the Resurrection, Pentecost; and the Assumption of Mary into heaven. In reflecting upon such sacred events, some advice that St. Francis de Sales gave in his early 17th century classic Introduction to the Devout Life is very helpful. He advised beginning with prayer to ask for divine guidance for such meditation.
Second, he advised reading about the event carefully with understanding; often a commentary from scholars and other writers who can bring out more vividly the scenes and reactions of the people involved. Then, having thought about the scene, it is helpful to sense what rightful emotions and sentiments spring from it. For faith and reason are necessary to guide emotions and sentiments; and rightful sentiments and emotions give life to our knowledge and spur us onto a better future. On that point, St. Francis de Sales said that, once one has thought about and drawn inspiration from the sacred themes, one then asks how this wisdom should lead us to act in a grace-filled way. And finally, when one has made resolutions to live out the lessons of sacred history, it is helpful to take a thought, word or image forth to inspire us onward.
These next articles will develop reflections upon great events of Mary’s life in this fashion to draw out ways in which we can approach Jesus through Mary.