In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Before Christ there lived many wise men, in Ancient Greece, in Egypt, in India, in China and in many other places. One Greek was even so wise that he said that men would never come to know the True God unless God Himself first became man, thus he foretold the Coming of Christ.
And today’s Feast is indeed the Feast of the true knowledge of God, as foreseen by that wise Greek. This is the Feast of the Conception of Christ, announced by the Archangel Gabriel and accepted by the Virgin, and it occurs therefore nine months before the Birth of Christ at Christmas. It is, as the hymns of the Church tell us, the crown of our salvation, the beginning of everything. This is why its Greek name is ‘Evangelismos’, which comes from the word ‘Evangelion’ meaning ‘Good News’. This is the feast of the Good News, the Feast of the Gospel. Without this Feast, there would have been no Good News, no Gospel.
Its usual English name is the Annunciation. For it is the Feast not of an announcement, but of the Announcement. It is the ultimate Announcement, for it is the Announcement that God has become man, the Announcement of the Presence of the Wisdom of God amongst us, not of the wisdom of man as before Christ, but of the Wisdom of God. It changes everything in world history, overshadowing and surpassing all that old human wisdom of Ancient Greece, of Egypt, India and China.
But however divine this Feast is, it is also human. The humanity of this Feast is not only in that today God becomes an embryo, it is also in that today the Virgin becomes a Mother. This is why today the Church is in blue, the colour of the Virgin-Mother and why in England this Feast is also known as ‘Lady Day’. Today, in accepting the announcement of the Archangel Gabriel, in accepting the Will of God, the Virgin becomes the highest of all mankind, ‘more honourable than the cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim’. She exceeds in her sacrifice all other men and women in human history, past, present and future. She becomes linked with all eternity and surpasses humanity while remaining human. In a word, this earthly being becomes through her sacrifice the Mother of God, which is why we, though still on earth, commemorate her in heavenly blue.
In accepting this cross of sacrifice, the Mother of God also accepts the approaching Cross of Victory of Her Son. This is a very significant fact and indeed this is a spiritual law. For every sacrifice, for every cross that we take on ourselves according to God’s Will, we receive a spiritual reward. It may not come at once, but it will inevitably come. This is a spiritual law, just as, in the same way, if we fail to make a sacrifice and take up our cross when God calls us to do that, there is also a price to pay, the price of spiritual defeat.
For example, at this moment, and in more than one part of the world, men are fighting, men are slaughtering one another. This is because they are blind to Christ. For when we are blind to Christ, then we are also blind to the meaning of Christ’s Cross. Thus people make war, instead of making peace. For people cannot make peace because that involves a sacrifice, the sacrifice of sharing. If there is no cross of sacrifice, then there is no cross of victory, no cross of Resurrection, just the constant cycle of wars.
The sacrifice of the Mother of God in accepting to bear and nourish God, giving Him her blood, bones and flesh, and raise Him as a man is such that she alone among all mankind can take us outside the cycle of wars and can lead us, if we wish to follow her, into Eternity, to the Resurrection of Christ.
Most Holy Mother of God, save us!