The Annunciation

04-14-2024Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This past week we celebrated the Solemnity of the Annunciation on Monday. This feast is usually celebrated on March 25, nine months from Christmas. However, because March 25th was in the middle of Holy Week, to allow for an appropriate celebration of the feast, the Church moved our liturgical observance to April 8, avoiding Holy Week as well as the Octave of Easter.

Although it was not a Holy Day of Obligation this year, there are many blessings to recall. It is said that between the Archangel Gabriel’s invitation and Mary’s acceptance of Her role as the Mother of Jesus, all of creation held its breath. For God invites, enables and waits but never forces or compels us to do His will. Our Lord is a perfect gentleman. He doesn’t force Himself on people. Mary could have said no. She did not.

It’s important to see Mary’s “yes” in the context of Her entire life instead of just one important historical moment. That is, we don’t wake up from a hard sleep one moment and decide to be heroic and holy. It is a way of life. And while we do not know the specifics, the special moment of the Annunciation most assuredly was situated in a lifetime of moments in which Mary stood ready, arms wide-open to welcome whatever God asked of Her.

Years after the Annunciation, Mary’s Son Jesus would affirm that, “I do the will of the One who sent me.” Humanly speaking, Jesus learned the lesson of absolute openness to the Divine Will and an eagerness to do whatever God asks of Him and to accept whatever God permits from His parents, most especially His Mother.

Mary was free to say yes or no—to God and to us. But Her freedom is always situated within a ready obedience. After Our Lady heard what God wanted of Her, she said “Yes!” When I pray the first joyful mystery of the Rosary, the Annunciation, I pray for my yes and the many yeses of our parishioners. And further, like Mary and Jesus, I pray for our answer to God’s call is preceded by fidelity that makes our answers holy and trusting in Divine Providence.

The concept of freedom is an important one for Americans. But these days, we tend to think of freedom only in terms of freedom of choice--I get to do what I want to do no matter what. The example of Mary at Her Annunciation and Jesus throughout His ministry show us another understanding of freedom, one that blossoms in obedience, something that makes most modern Americans uncomfortable if we’re being honest.

Was Mary lessened or diminished in any way by Her fiat? No. She is the Mother of God and she found the highest level of freedom in the Father’s will for Her. Mary became the best of our race through a freedom that bloomed within an obedience to the Divine Will!

At Her Annunciation then, Mary becomes a role model for every Christian. Her response must become ours as well.” Loving obedience to God’s will for us is how we become the person we are truly meant to be and how we become a saint. If you need any more proof of this, just study the response of the Saints to the will of God. YES! To prepare for those yeses, it is good for us to always trust and seeking to be in union with our Lord especially at Holy Mass.

God Bless,

Fr. Don Kline, V. F