Day 1: Annunciation Novena

Pray the Annunciation Novena

Learn more about this novena here: The Annunciation Novena.

Day 1 Reflection: The Declarative

From Praying the Angelus (pp. 63-64).

Look closely at the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. The angel speaks in declarative sentences. A declarative sentence, you might recall from your English classes, differs from imperative sentences (commands), exclamatory sentences (strong feelings), and interrogative sentences (questions). A declarative sentence simply makes a definitive statement.

The angel doesn’t express strong feelings or ask questions. He doesn’t give commands. He makes definitive statements about God’s will and his work in the world. He has not come to Mary with a request. He has come to her bearing the good news of God’s work in her life and the life of her cousin Elizabeth. He declares unto Mary.

How does God communicate with us? Is he asking us questions? Is he giving us commands or making requests?

What if, instead, God communicates his will for us in the declarative? When you think of a God who declares his will rather than requesting our response, you start to understand the power of the Incarnation. God is here. He is with us. He is active and working in the world whether we are aware of it or not. May we have the courage to let his will be done to us according to his Word.

Are you open to God’s declaration of his will in the world, or are you resistant to the destiny he is making known? Pray for the courage to accept and welcome God’s will, to let his will be done in you.

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.

The Angelus and Lent

Praying the Angelus by Jared Dees

The following meditation is an excerpt from Praying the Angelus: Find Joy, Peace, and Purpose in Everyday Life which is on sale now during this first week of Lent. Consider making the Angelus one of your Lenten prayer commitments this year! 

We pray the Regina Caeli during Easter since it celebrates the Resurrection, but we pray the Angelus during all the other liturgical seasons. While we might say that it is especially relevant during Advent due to its focus on the Annunciation and the Incarnation, it does contain a perfect tie-in with the season of Lent.

The Angelus closes with a testimony to the Passion and Cross of Christ. After focusing on the beginning of Jesus’ time here on earth, we remember his end. The mystery of the Incarnation cannot be isolated from the Passion and Death of our Lord, for it is not through the Incarnation alone that we find salvation but through Christ’s saving work in the Paschal Mystery.

His complete self-sacrifice leads us into grace. His humiliation opens the path to glory.

The Paschal Mystery is a traditional topic for Lenten meditation. We remember that our God loved us so much that he died for us. We remind ourselves that the true path to glory is the path of the Cross.

We give of ourselves and give up all attachments so that we can grow closer to Christ. Through this humility come joy and the glory of the Resurrection.

The Angelus makes for a wonderful Lenten devotion because it promotes detachment (“Be it done unto me”) and selfless serving of others (“Behold the handmaid of the Lord”) and keeps our minds on the Paschal Mystery (“[may we] by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection”).

Angelus Meditation

Think about what you gave up during the most recent (or current) season of Lent. Relate that sacrifice to the words of the Angelus.

How did you live out (or are you living out) the words we pray during the Angelus by making that sacrifice during Lent?

What You Leave Behind

angelus-millet

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.

He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Matthew 4:18-20

When Jesus calls the first disciples, they are busy fisherman. Like others at this time in history, a career was something you learned through apprenticeships. It was likely that they had been fishermen their entire lives.

Yet, the moment they meet Jesus, they are willing to drop everything and follow him. They left their nets behind.

In the Angelus we echo the words of Mary and pray,

“Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to thy word.”

Repeating these words time after time, day after day begins to have an impact on our minds and hearts. We will begin, over time, to seek out opportunities to let God’s will be done in our lives. We will recognize our identity as humble servants of the Lord.

Like the disciples and like Mary, who left behind her plans to be an ordinary wife and mother with Joseph, we will be given the opportunity to leave behind a life we came to expect. We will leave behind what we feel is comfortable.

What we gain is complete dependence on the Lord who uses our gifts, skills, and desires to fulfill his will.

The disciples, who were fisherman, became fishers of men.

Mary, who was to be wife and mother, becomes the Mother of God.

You are to be something important, but God is calling you to be something important for him.

This may be scary, but our declaration of openness to God’s word is followed by the recognition of God’s presence:

“The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”

God is with us today calling us to follow him.

What is he calling you to leave behind?

Behold!

angelus-millet

What do these two phrases have in common:

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn 1:29)

“Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.” (Luke 1:38, Angelus)

They begin with the word “behold,” as in, stop everything and pay attention to something really great! But they also refer to two metaphors that are actually not that great. They are actually very weak.

Usually, when we hear the word “behold” it refers to something great and powerful.

Yet, here John the Baptists points to Jesus calling him a lamb. Could there be anything less powerful? A lamb?

Similarly, when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and the Holy Spirit came upon her, she said “behold” not pointing out her greatness, but her humility. She declares herself to be a humble handmaid–a servant of God.

Both titles (lamb and handmaid) defer greatness to God. As lamb and handmaid, Jesus and Mary show a deep sense of self-sacrificial love for the Father and the deep sense of humility that we are called to imitate in the world.

Lambs were sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin. Handmaids lived in service of others.

What do we have to behold about you? How can you show the humility of Christ and Mary by serving God today?

 

 

 

 

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