Wednesday, 25 March 2020 – The Annunciation and the Domestic Church
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today we celebrate the Annunciation, the day when the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary the divine plan for salvation. With Mary’s fiat, she conceived the Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit: and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.
You’ve doubtless seen many depictions of this tremendous moment in sacred art. One common thread is that Our Lady is usually shown reading or at prayer in her home, where the angel comes to her. For so many of us, this has an added poignancy this year.
This is an important time to remember and deepen our love for the domestic church: the places, times, and ways that we turn towards the Lord in our family homes. In today’s episode of Closing the Social Distance, Frs. Clement and Henry discuss some of the ways we can build up our domestic churches in this troubled time. Many of the resources we mentioned in Monday’s email can be useful to that end.
Don’t forget to keep asking questions for Ask Father Anything – link is here.
Oremus pro invicem—Let’s pray for each other,
The Dominican Friars
From a Letter by St. Leo the Great on the Annunciation
Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that is incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.
He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we mean what the Creator has fashioned in us from the beginning, and took to himself in order to restore it.
For in the Savior there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our sins.
He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.
Thus, the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.
He was born in a new condition, for, invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp.
Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death.
He who is true God is also true man. There is no falsehood in this unity as long as the lowliness of man and the preeminence of God coexist in mutual relationship.
As God does not change by his condescension, so man is not swallowed up by being exalted. Each nature exercises its own activity, in communion with the other. The Word does what is proper to the Word, the flesh fulfills what is proper to the flesh.One nature is resplendent with miracles, the other falls victim to injuries. As the Word does not lose equality with the Father’s glory, so the flesh does not leave behind the nature of our race.
One and the same person—this must be said over and over again—is truly the Son of God and truly the son of man. He is God in virtue of the fact that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He is man in virtue of the fact that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.