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Header - Reflection on St Gabriel and the Annunciation

 

This is a reflection on Saint Gabriel and the Annunciation. It discusses both since the feast of Saint Gabriel the Archangel is on March 24th, the vigil of the Annunciation.

 

Statues on a Church

A comment on a passage taken from Saint Luke:


And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee". Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought to herself what manner of salutation this might be. And the angel said to her: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God."

"Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end."

 

Read: In Honor of The Annunciation, March 25

 

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And Mary said to the angel: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?"

And the angel answering, said to her: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

"And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God."

And Mary said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."

As far as I can recall, the only thing we know of Saint Gabriel, the Archangel is found in this episode. He was sent by God to deliver this magnificent message to Our Lady. We can have some idea of what this archangel is like by looking at the nature of the task he was given.

There is a correlation between the angel and his virtue on the one hand, and the mission he receives from God, on the other. Through one, we can make conjectures about the other.

Thus, what was the message that Saint Gabriel, which means "the strength of God," took to Our Lady? It is a message that affirms the Incarnation of the Word and therefore the greatest act of power and domination that God could exercise upon the world.

Fra Angelico - Annunciation ImageWith the Incarnation of the Word, God was preparing to rescue the world. In doing this, He, who is king of the world by right, also became king by conquest.

Thus, He – the second Person of the Blessed Trinity – entered the earth to conquer on the cross, in this special way, He established His kingship upon the world.

"Behold the king has come! He is going to reign!"

Saint Gabriel must be seen, therefore, as announcing the victorious entry of Our Lord Jesus Christ into humanity. He was like a herald that goes before a victorious king overcoming all obstacles in his way and announcing: "Behold the king has come! He is going to reign!" This is a first view that we have of this archangel.

Another view we must have is that of the devotee of Mary par excellence. He was the one who made the first Hail Mary; he was the one who gave Our Lady a message that revealed to her who she was. For up until that moment, according to all the interpretations I have read, she did not know she was to become the Mother of God.

She prayed for the Messias to come soon to the earth and also that she might become the servant of His Mother so as to render her some small services. That was her great ambition.

When Gabriel the Archangel came and announced that she herself was going to be the Mother of the Messias, he made her, so to speak, understand who she was. His message explained to her why she had continuously received an immense river of graces throughout her life. She understood the depth of the sanctity for which she was called. The angel's announcement made her comprehend her own mission.

Hence, when he made this revelation to Mary, he rendered Her this outstanding service, which was an act of supreme nobility ordered by God. As a result, this act established a very special bond between Saint Gabriel and Our Lady. In this sense, he was a kind of prophet who manifested to Our Lady what her whole life would be like and what her mission would be. Thus, another aspect of this archangel's personality is a great union with Our Lady and a great devotion to her.

  

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Finally, we can consider another side, which is the manner in which he gave his message. It was impregnated with a great purity. No message is more chaste than this one, which announced the virginal maternity. It showed such a love for purity on the part of God, that, in order to safeguard Our Lady's virginal chastity, He decided on a way to conceive Our Lord Jesus Christ that involved no work of man: She would be the Spouse of the Holy Ghost.

St GabrielIn the Annunciation, the archangel is particularly protective of her purity and chastity.  If we were to see him, he would inspire in us a thousand desires and acts of admiration and longing to possess purity to a eminent degree.

From this, we can draw some applications for the prayers we can still address to him today. Saint Gabriel announced the coming and triumph of the Messias to Our Lady and thus to all men. We should ask that he now announce the recovery of God's effective kingship upon the earth through the coming of the fulfillment of the Fatima message.

Today we are in a situation that is even worse than that of the ancient world before Our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we can ask that Our Lord Jesus Christ reign once again, that He establish His reign on earth in Mary and through Mary, and that this period of darkness in which we find ourselves come to an end. He has done one thing, let Him do the other.

He had the key to do it to close the era of antiquity, and thus opened a new epoch.  Let Him close this era and open the Reign of Mary.

Second: we should ask Saint Gabriel for an enormous, superabundant devotion to Our Lady and that this devotion grows every instant until the end of our lives.

Third: we should ask him for a most ardent, intransigent, vigilant and therefore most militant love of purity; and to have every form of revulsion and disdain for impurity in every way and degree.  This is what we should ask him.  May he thus protect us and bring us closer to Our Lady.

 


The above text was taken from an informal lecture given by Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. It has been translated and adapted for publication without his revision. –Ed.

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 23, 2019

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine wil...

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September 23

 

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.
Adore and bless it,
especially in the things which are the hardest for you.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Offering himself as a victim for the end of the war, Padre P...

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St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Francesco was born in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. His parents, Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, were peasant farmers, but they recognized their son was close to God. When he was only five years old, he solemnly consecrated himself to Jesus. It is said he often spoke with Our Lord, Our Lady and his guardian angel, who defended him against attacks by the devil. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans at the age of fifteen, and took the name Pio with his religious vows. After seven years of study he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910.

During the same month he was ordained, Padre Pio was praying in the chapel when Our Lord and His Blessed Mother appeared and gave him the Stigmata. However, the wounds soon faded and then disappeared. “I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering,” Padre Pio told Our Lady, “but all in secret." Soon after, he experienced the first of his spiritual ecstasies.

Pio was in the military for a short time, but was discharged due to poor health. Upon his return to the monastery, he became a spiritual director. He had five rules for spiritual growth: weekly confession, daily Communion, spiritual reading, meditation, and examination of conscience. He often advised, "Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry."

In July of 1918, Padre Pio received the visible Stigmata, the five wounds of Christ (hands, feet and side), after offering himself as a victim for the end of the war. By 1933, the holy priest was recognized by the Church and by 1934 had attracted thousands of pilgrims that attended his masses and frequented his confessional.

On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio said his final Mass, renewed his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and died in his cell after suffering from grave physical decline. Before his death, Padre Pio orchestrated and oversaw the building of the “House for the Alleviation of Suffering,” a 350-bed medical and religious center.

He was canonized on June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. An estimated 300,000 people attended the canonization ceremony.

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WEEKLY STORY

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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