Angel Gabriel Appears to MaryWe Roman Catholics took a break in our Lenten fast and journey this Friday, March 25th, to celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation, when we recall the coming of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce that she would be the mother of God’s Son.

The Church celebrates various events important in our salvation history, and solemnities are feasts of the greatest importance. The fact that this is a solemnity recognizes the special role the Virgin Mary has in our church history and in the entirety of our salvation history.

Solemnity in Lent Reflected in the Liturgy

Even though we are in Lent, preparing to celebrate once again the resurrection of Jesus, on Easter Sunday. and the Gloria has been omitted in our Masses, when the bread and wine truly becomes the Body and Blood of Christ, on this special solemnity we pray the Gloria and recite the Creed, and the celebrant exchanges his Lenten purple vestments for white vestments.

We are All Consecrated to Our Lord

The responsorial Psalm 40 has a wonderful refrain that reflects the willingness of Mary as we chanted “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.” These words reflect a remarkable selflessness and generosity of self, an important goal we can ascribe to as we continue our Lenten journey.

These words are echoed again in the first reading from the letter to the Hebrews, and closes with a powerful phrase, “By this will, we have been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

We often think that only priests and religious nuns and brothers who profess the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are consecrated, but we too are “consecrated” a frightening thought, but a wonderful opportunity to grow in our lives as Catholic Christians.

We then hear the wonderful story from the Gospel of Luke how the angel Gabriel came to Galilee, to a virgin betrothed to Joseph. The angel greeted Mary with a beautiful greeting “Hail full of grace the Lord is with you.”

Saying Yes to God

We have many opportunities to greet others in our daily lives, whether our spouse, our children, our grandchildren, our co-workers, the grocery clerk, the attendant at the fast-food window, even the person who delivers our mail. Do we recognize and treat them as fellow travelers on the road of life, recognizing that the Lord is with them too?

The Angel goes on to tell Mary not to be afraid, and that she would conceive and bear a child and name him Jesus.” Do not be afraid.”

Have we ever been afraid of an illness, a medical diagnosis, fear of losing our jobs, of not getting a desired promotion, fear of failing a test, not being able to do an assigned task?

Even more so, have we ever helped to relieve the fear of another, by helping our children with their schoolwork, by volunteering at a tutoring center to help other students, by visiting a shut-in or an elderly person who lives alone.

Sometimes people come to our country without speaking English. Are we willing to allay their fear by helping them to learn our language and even by learning from them the language they speak? Many countries are welcoming immigrants from Ukraine who are fleeing their war-torn country from Russian force and the battles with Russian troops from the Soviet Union. The United States president said we too here in the United States will welcome many of these immigrants.

Welcoming the Ukrainian immigrants is a task that we can participate in by donating to a specific charity, collecting clothes for them as they arrive, helping to find apartments and homes where they can stay. Talking with your friends, your neighbors, the people in your parish about ways we can help is a great start. We can make a significant difference in helping to ease the suffering of those fleeing their war-torn land.

The evening prayer for the Solemnity for the Annunciation has a powerful antiphon: “May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened to know the hope to which we are called.” Yes, we are indeed called to hope and to share this hope with others. The Solemnity of the Annunciation was a wonderful opportunity for our hearts to be enlightened, to recall the trust, the selflessness, and the generosity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This solemnity provided a wonderful opportunity for us to be energized for the rest of our Lenten journey, to make a commitment to go forward sharing God’s love and peace with others, and instilling hope that springs from our recognition of the care of our loving God. We are indeed called to hope, so let us go forward as we continue our Lenten journey with the Norbertine priests of Daylesford Abbey  bringing hope to others.  Visit to read and learn more about their ministries, retreats, liturgies and more.