(Luke 1:24-38)

Today is a great and joyous day for all people! “Today is the beginning of our salvation and the revelation of the eternal mystery,” chants our Church. The Son of God, “for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man;” (The Creed)

The divine love of the Father could not bear to see man being tormented by the devil and worn down by sin.  That’s why God decided to make him a loved child again and bring him back to Paradise.   For this work of salvation, God sent to the world His Only Begotten Son.

But God, respecting the freedom of man, wanted humanity to cooperate in their salvation. For this, He chose the Virgin Mary.   So the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her and announced to her that she was chosen by God from all women to become the Mother of His Son.  The Archangel told her this decision by God, and waited for her reply.   The pure Virgin was troubled in the beginning.  

Saint Gregory Palamas has the Theotokos as saying to Archangel Gabriel: "If, as you say, the Holy Spirit comes to me to strengthen me to accept the redeeming embryo; if the power of God, the Almighty visits me and forms within me, as a human being, Him, Who carries the form of God and will create a birth without human seed; if the Begotten One is Holy and Son of God and God and eternal King, of course nothing is impossible for God. Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word" 

As soon as the Virgin gave her answer to God, she accepted from Him the Holy Spirit, and “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us "(John 1:14).  

This miraculous event in the Gospel reveals to us the rarity and great degree of virtue the Virgin Mary possesses, such as:

• The Holiness of her life. This is confirmed by the words of the greeting of the Archangel: "Highly favored one." You who have all the graces of God. "Among women". Of all women, you are the most blessed. That is why the Church calls Nazareth's humble daughter Most Holy ("Panagia“ in Greek).

Prudence. As soon as the Virgin Mary heard that she would become a mother, she wanted to make sure that this was God's will and not the deceit of the wicked.

Faith. When she was convinced that what the Archangel had announced to her came from God, she believed that for God everything is possible.

Trust. She was asked, she, a girl of about 15 years old, to accept becoming the mother of the Son of the Highest. But she did not hesitate, for she was confident that the Almighty God Who entrusts her with this mission will support her.

Obedience. As difficult as what the Archangel asked for on behalf of God was, she fully obeyed God's will.

Humility. She heard so much praise from the Archangel.  She will become the Mother of the Son of the Highest, the most glorious King, and yet she remains humble. She does not reveal to anyone these miracles that had happened to her, not even to Joseph!

Thanks to these gifts and so many others, the Virgin Mary was worthy to bring to the world our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ.

My beloved brothers and sisters, have faith in our hearts full of joy after God, addressing our Mother of God and our Mother with deep gratitude.   From this gratitude, let us offer our most sincere thanks for making herself the elected representative of the human race and having brought our Savior Christ to the world!   Together with the Archangel Gabriel, we say as He said:  “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with You.”

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