“Mondays with Mary” – ‘The Handmaid of the Lord’

Over the past three weeks, I have focused on variety of teachings underlining the Solemnity of the Annunciation. The first week we looked at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church states about Mary’s Virginity; the second week focused on some of the Early Church Fathers teachings on the subject of Mary’s faith at the Annunciation; and last week we looked at the Annunciation through the theology of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and Hans Urs von Balthasar.

To conclude this short four-week series on the Annunciation, I give you five “words” focusing on Mary’s Fiat from the soon-to-be-saint, Pope John Paul II. As I have promised in other posts, as we get closer to his official canonization, which is less than one month away, I will write more about him and the theology he wrote for the Catholic Church during his twenty-six pontificate.

Redemptoris Mater, 28 –

“In the faith which Mary professed at the Annunciation as the ‘handmaid of the Lord’ and in which she constantly ‘precedes’ the pilgrim People of God throughout the earth, the Church ‘strives energetically and constantly to bring all humanity…back to Christ its head in the unity of his Spirit.’”

Address in Rome, July 13, 1994 –

“The whole ecclesial movement of women can and should reflect the light of Gospel revelation, according to which a woman, as the representative of the human race, was called to give her consent to the Incarnation of the Word. It is the account of the Annunciation that suggests this truth when it tells that only after the ‘fiat’ of Mary, who consented to be the Mother of the Messiah, did ‘the angel depart from her’ (Lk. 1:38). The angel had completed his mission: he could bring to God humanity’s ‘yes’,’ spoken by Mary of Nazareth.”

The Annunciation - Henry Ossawa Tanner

The Annunciation – Henry Ossawa Tanner

Insegnamenti, March 19, 1982 –

“The Blessed Virgin intoned the Magnificat, knowing that to accomplish the plan of salvation for all mankind, the Lord willed to bring her, a simple maiden of his people, into association with it. We are here to intone our Magnificat, after the example of Mary, knowing that we have been summoned by God to a service of redemption and salvation, in spite of our inadequacy.”

Address in Rome, June 18, 1979 –

“And in the moments of weariness raise your eyes to Mary, the Virgin who, forgetting herself, set out ‘with haste’ for the hills to reach her elderly cousin Elizabeth who was in need of help and assistance (cf. Lk. 1:39ff). Let her be the inspiration of your daily dedication to duty; let her suggest to you the right words and opportune gestures at the bedside of the sick; let her comfort you in misunderstandings and failures, hoping you always keep a smile on your face and hope in your heart.”

Mulieris Dignitatem, 5 –

“When Mary responds to the words of the heavenly messenger with her ‘fiat’, she who is ‘full of grace’ feels the need to express her personal relationship to the gift that has been revealed to her, saying: ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord’ (Lk 1:38). This statement should not be deprived of its profound meaning, nor should it be diminished by artificially removing it from the overall context of the event and from the full content of the truth revealed about God and man. In the expression ‘handmaid of the Lord’, one senses Mary’s complete awareness of being a creature of God. The word ‘handmaid’, near the end of the Annunciation dialogue, is inscribed throughout the whole history of the Mother and the Son. In fact, this Son, who is the true and consubstantial ‘Son of the Most High’, will often say of himself, especially at the culminating moment of his mission: ‘The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve’ (Mk 10:45).”

As always, let us keep in our hearts and minds, Mary’s Fiat, her Yes to God. Let us always be prepared in our hearts to say YES to God just as our Blessed Virgin Mary did at the Annunciation when the Angel Gabriel visited her.

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