SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD – 25TH MARCH.
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s mane was Mary. He went in and said to her, “Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour! The Lord is with you.” She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, “Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rile over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. ... “ Mary said. “You see before you the Lord’s servant, let it happen to me as you have said.” And the angel left her. (Luke 1: 26-38).
Exactly nine months before Christmas Day the Church celebrates the most pivotal moment in humanity’s history when all that had, did or would exist held its breath waiting for the response of a young plain Jewish maiden. It is this momentous event that the Church celebrates at the Feast if the Annunciation.
The importance of what happened on this day, the history of the feast can be traced back to the seventh century, is reflected in the one major liturgical change that takes place during any Mass celebrated on the 25th of March. During the recitation of the Creed, instead of just bowing when we say, “ ... by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”, we kneel down. The only other time in the Church’s year when this is done is nine months later at the Christmas Masses when we celebrate the actual birth of Jesus.