Day 5: Annunciation Novena

Pray the Annunciation Novena

Learn more about this novena here: The Annunciation Novena.

Day 5 Reflection: From Fear to Trust

From Praying the Angelus (pp. 74-75).

We have such an interesting relationship with God’s will. Much of the time, we know what God wants us to do, but we’re afraid that it won’t make us happy. When we resist God’s will, we almost always have other plans in place that we are afraid to lose. We want things done our way. Pope Francis addressed this state of affairs in a 2013 Twitter post:

Mary “was greatly troubled at what was said” according to the Gospel of Luke; in fact, the angel had to comfort her: “Do not be afraid” (Lk 1:29–30). Her fear then turned to doubt: “How can this be?” she asked the angel, who reassured her that “nothing will be impossible for God” (Lk 1:34, 37).

When we have big decisions to make in life, we should expect to feel that fear at first. We should even expect, like Mary, to enter into periods of doubt about the possibility of God’s will for our lives will become a reality. Ultimately, like Mary, we can turn to God in loving trust when faced with difficult choices. We may not know what the future holds, but we can be confident that God’s love for us is much greater than we can understand.

Do you have any decisions that you are unsure of or afraid to act upon? You may know in your heart what you have to do. Pray for the courage to act. Decide, and place your trust in the Lord, just as Mary did.

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.

Day 4: Annunciation Novena

Pray the Annunciation Novena

Learn more about this novena here: The Annunciation Novena.

Day 4 Reflection: Becoming Handmaids

From Praying the Angelus (pp. 72-73).

When we meditate upon the Angelus, we put ourselves into the stories and prayers that we recite. We imagine ourselves as Mary as we speak her words: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. . . . Be it done unto me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). This is the only phrase of the Angelus in which we recite an actual person’s words. Elsewhere, we tell parts of the Annunciation and Incarnation and pray with one another for Mary’s intercession.

It is fascinating that we take on Mary’s persona in our prayerful journey to become more like her. Each time we pray her ancient words, we make them new and unite our current thoughts, troubles, hopes, dreams, and worries to them.

Each time we declare ourselves to be God’s handmaids and proclaim our openness to his will, we invite his presence into our lives in a new and different  way—and we are called to serve him and those around us in a new and different way.

How is God calling you to be a handmaid today? Is it as a parent or a spouse? Are you to be a handmaid to your boss at work or to the customers you serve through your job? Are you to be a handmaid in your parish? Are you to be a handmaid to the strangers you see or meet today? Or are you to be a handmaid directly to the Lord? Consider who God is calling you to serve today, and make a special effort to serve with joy.

 

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.

Day 3: Annunciation Novena

Pray the Annunciation Novena

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.

Day 2: Annunciation Novena

Pray the Annunciation Novena

Learn more about this novena here: The Annunciation Novena.

Day 2 Reflection: Mary’s Creative Inspiration

From Praying the Angelus (pp. 67-68).

Artists, writers, actors, comedians, and other creative people will tell you that they do not know where inspiration comes from. They sit down and work. Sometimes inspiration strikes and something beautiful is created. Sometimes inspiration doesn’t arrive and the art they make is less satisfying.

Artists don’t have to be religious in order to come to the realization that inspiration has a spiritual, uncontrollable nature. Knowing they are not making the art all by themselves is what can make artists humble. Art is created in unity with something deeper, something subconscious and difficult to describe. The artist’s role is to humbly accept creativity and inspiration when it arrives and bring art into the world.

This is how the Holy Spirit, the giver of life, works in the world.

When we pray the Angelus, we affirm the Spirit’s power at work in the world. Mary did not create Jesus, but neither was she merely a vessel. The Spirit worked through Mary, and Mary was filled with the grace to accept her role in bringing Christ into the world.

Like Mary and like the artist, we, too, can accept the creative inspiration to bring something amazing into the world.

What act of creation is the Spirit working to create with and through you today? You do not have to be an artist or a writer to experience inspiration. What ideas and actions are you feeling compelled by but unsure if you should bring about right now? May we have courage, like Mary, to respond to God’s inspiration.

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.

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