Learn more about this novena here: The Annunciation Novena.
Day 3 Reflection: Behold, Be Bold
From Praying the Angelus (pp. 69-70).
We don’t use the word “behold” very often in conversation; it is usually reserved for dramatic moments in movies or books. It is a word we might hear announcing something great and magnificent. “Behold” suggests something powerful and incredible and amazing.
You would never use this word to draw attention to yourself in regular conversation, right?
Well, Mary does, but in a unique way.
She doesn’t respond to the angel with an announcement of her greatness as the future Queen of Heaven. Instead she proclaims, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (see Lk 1:38).
Behold the handmaid? The very idea of beholding a humble servant is so counterintuitive. Yet Mary embraces her humility and expresses with great passion her willingness to serve God wholeheartedly. At this moment, her very soul is proclaiming the greatness not of her own gifts but of the Lord.
In artwork depicting the Annunciation, Mary is nearly always depicted with such a quiet, serene, and timid look on her face. This imagery falls short of capturing the boldness of Mary’s response to the angel. To the angel’s announcement in Luke 1:31 that “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,” Mary responds with that same level of authority and graceful power to “behold” her as a humble yet awe-inspiring handmaid of the Lord.
Be bold in your commitment to humility in life. Like St. Paul, boast in your weakness and dependence on God (see 2 Cor 12:1–11). Only God can create goodness in the world through you.
All of us want to have complete control over some areas of our lives, areas we resist entrusting to God. Whether it is a career path, a relationship, or a bad habit in your life that you are holding on to, be bold in your commitment to deny yourself and turn that part of your life over to God. It will be scary at first, but with this commitment and trust in God comes a great gift of peace that can never be obtained on our own.
The Annunciation Novena
O most holy Virgin Mary,
to whom God sent the Angel Gabriel
to announce that you should be the mother of his only-begotten Son,
pray for us who have recourse to you.
Holy, lovely Mary,
We give our all to you
What is past and present,
And the future, too.
Blessed be the holy and Immaculate Conception of the most blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
(State your intention here . . .)
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done to me according to thy word.
Hail Mary. . .
V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary. . .
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.