Friday, 7 April 2006

The Annunciation

Those of us who follow the old calendar will be celebrating the Annunciation today. What was 'announced' today? We spoke in the last post about Christian compassion in the context of the human condition, which, in the Christian understanding, is the result of the Fall of Adam and Eve in Paradise, and of the personal sin of each man and woman on the face of the earth. What was announced to Mary the Virgin on a certain day in Nazareth was all about Christian compassion, or God's compassion for man. For as we pointed out, man by his own efforts cannot free himself from the human condition. In the Gospel, Jesus says this: 'No greater love has a man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you keep my words.' The Word of God incarnated out of love for man, a love which is consummated in the self-sacrifice on the Cross, so that man might have life, and have it abundantly. And this life is the Holy Spirit, and its reception by a man is a participation in the life of the Holy Trinity. Christian asceticism and Christian contemplation is the realization of this life, of this love for man that Jesus manifested on the Cross, of his sending forth the Holy Spirit from the Father. And we must thank Mary, full of grace, for cooperating with God, so that God might become man, a man like us in all things but sin, so that he might love us with a love greater than which no man can have, that he lay down his life for his friends.

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