Feast of the Annunciation, March 25
THE ROMAN MISSAL
THE LITURGICAL YEAR, Dom Gueranger
Double of the First Class [White Vestments]
Feasts of this rank are of the highest or greatest dignity. The Church always places the Feasts of Our Lord and of the Blessed Trinity first and of the highest rank, followed by those of Our Lady.
At the high Mass on this day the celebrant and his ministers kneel on the altar-steps during the singing of the Et incarnatus est, in the Nicene Creed. Should the feast fall on Passion Sunday, it is celebrated on the following Monday. If it falls in Holy or Easter week it is celebrated on the Monday after Low
The Church has taken most of the chants of this Mass from the forty-fourth Psalm, wherein the royal prophet celebrates the mystery of the Incarnation. In the Introit, she greets Mary as the Queen of the human race, to whom every creature should pay respectful homage. It was her virginity that fitted Mary to become the Mother of God. This virtue will be imitated in the Church, and each generation will produce thousands of holy virgins, who will walk in the footsteps of her that is their Mother and their model.
All the rich among the people shall entreat thy countenance: after her shall virgins
be brought to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to thee in joy and gladness.
Ps. My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. V. Glory, etc.
In the Collect, the Church glories in her faith in the Divine maternity; she puts it forward as a claim to Mary's interceding for her with God, who is her Son. This dogma of Mary's being the Mother of God is founded on the mystery of the Incarnation, which is the basis of our faith.
O God, Who wast pleased that Thy Word, when the Angel delivered his message, should take flesh in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, give ear to our humble petitions, and grant that we who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her prayers.
Through the same, etc.
Lesson from Isaias the Prophet.
In those days: The Lord spoke unto Achaz, saying: Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above. And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he (Isaias) said: Hear ye, therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God, also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel. He shall eat butter and honey, that He may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good.
The prophet is speaking to a wicked king, who refused to accept a miraculous proof of God's merciful protection over Jerusalem; and he makes this an opportunity for announcing to Juda the great portent which we are celebrating today: A virgin shall conceive and bear a Son. And when was it that God fulfilled the prophecy? It was in an age when mankind seemed to have reached the highest pitch of wickedness, and when idolatry and immorality reigned throughout the whole world. 'The fulness of time came,' and the tradition, which had found its way into every country, that a virgin should bring forth a Son, was exciting much interest. Today we are celebrating the sublime mystery; let us adore the power of God, and the fidelity wherewith He fulfills His promises. The Author of the laws of nature suspends them; He acts independently of them: virginity and maternity are united in one and the same creature, for the Child that is to be born is God. A virgin could not bring forth other than God Himself: the Son of Mary is, therefore, called Emmanuel, that is, God with us.
Let us adore this God, the Creator of all things visible and invisible, Who thus humbles Himself. Henceforth, He will have every tongue confess, not only His Divinity, but also His human nature, which He has assumed in order that He might redeem us. From this day forward, He is truly the Son of Man. He will remain nine months in His Mother's womb, as other children. Like them, He will, after His birth, be fed on milk and honey. He will sanctify all stages of human life, from infancy to perfect manhood, for He is the New Man, Who has come down from Heaven that He might restore the old. Without losing aught of His Divinity, He shares in our weak finite being, that He may make us 'partakers of the Divine nature.'
[2 Peter 1:4]
The first Alleluia Versicle repeats the Angel's salutation to Mary. Let us, with Gabriel, bow down before this holy Virgin, the masterpiece of nature and grace, predestined from all eternity to be the Mother of God.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
The second Versicle celebrates in sublime and enthusiastic words, the effects of the Divine mystery of the
Incarnation -----peace between God and man re-established in the virginal womb of Mary, wherein the Divine and human nature are united in the Person of the Child, Whom she conceives the very instant she consents to the will of the Most High.
The rod of Jesse hath brought forth its flower; a virgin hath conceived Him Who is God and man; God hath restored peace, by uniting in Himself the lowest with the highest, alleluia.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
At that time: The Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the Angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the Angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.
And Mary said to the Angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the Angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.
By these last words of thine, O Mary! our happiness is secured. Thou consentest to the desire of Heaven, and thy consent brings us our Saviour. O Virgin-Mother! Blessed among women! We unite our thanks with the homage that is paid thee by the Angels. By thee is our ruin repaired; in thee is our nature restored; for thou hast wrought the victory of man over Satan! St. Bernard, in one of his homilies on this Gospel, thus speaks: 'Rejoice, O thou our father Adam! But thou, O mother Eve, still more rejoice! You were our parents, but you were also our destroyers; and what is worse, you had wrought our destruction before you gave us birth. Both of you must be consoled in such a daughter as this: but thou, O Eve, who wast the first cause of our misfortune, and whose humiliation has descended upon all women, thou hast a special reason to rejoice in Mary. For the time is now come when the humiliation is taken away, neither can man any longer complain against the woman, as of old, when he foolishly sought to excuse himself, and cruelly put all the blame on her, saying: The woman whom Thou gavest me, gave me of the tree, and I did eat." Go, Eve, to Mary; go, mother, to thy daughter; let thy daughter take thy part, and free thee from thy disgrace, and reconcile thee to her lather: for if man fell by a woman, he is raised up by a
'What is this thou sayest, Adam? "The woman whom thou gavest me, gave me of the tree, and I did eat ?" These are wicked words; far from effacing thy fault, they aggravate it. But divine Wisdom conquered thy wickedness, by finding in the treasury of His Own inexhaustible mercy a motive for pardon, which He had in vain sought to elicit by questioning thee. In place of the woman of whom thou complainest, He gives thee another: Eve was foolish, Mary is wise; Eve was proud, Mary is humble; Eve gave thee of the tree of death, Mary will give thee of the tree of life; Eve offered thee a bitter and poisoned fruit, Mary will give thee the sweet fruit she herself is to bring forth, the fruit of everlasting life. Change, then, thy wicked excuse into an act of thanksgiving, and say: "The woman, whom thou hast given me, O Lord, hath given me of the tree of life, and I have eaten thereof; and it is sweeter than honey to my mouth, for by it Thou hast given me life." '
In the Offertory, the Church addresses Mary in the words spoken to her by the Archangel, to which she also adds those used by Elizabeth, when she saluted the Mother of her God.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Alleluia.
In the Secret, the Church renews her profession of faith in the mystery of the Incarnation; she confesses the reality of the two natures, Divine and human, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Mary.
Strengthen. we beseech thee, O Lord, in our soul, the mysteries of the true faith: that we who confess him that was conceived of a virgin to be true God and true Man, may, by the power of his saving Resurrection, deserve to come to eternal joys. Through the same, etc.
The greatness of the solemnity obliges the Church to substitute for the Paschal Preface, the one she uses on our Lady's feasts.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, o holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: and that we should praise, bless, and glorify Thee, on the Annunciation of the blessed Mary, ever a virgin, who by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, conceived Thine only-begotten Son, and the glory of her virginity still remaining, brought forth to the world the eternal Light, Jesus Christ our Lord. By Whom the Angels praise Thy majesty, the dominations adore it, the powers tremble before it; the heavens and the heavenly virtues, and the blessed seraphim, with common jubilee glorify it. Together with Whom we beseech thee that we may be admitted to join our humble voices saying: Holy! Holy! Holy!
The Communion Anthem repeats the prophetic words of the Epistle. It is a virgin that has conceived and brought forth him who, being God and man, is also the living Bread that came down from Heaven, whereby God is with us. and in us.
Behold a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel, alleluia.
In the Postcommunion the Church gratefully recalls to mind all the mysteries which God has achieved for our salvation, and which were the consequences of the one of today. After the Incarnation, which unites the Son of God to our human nature, we have had the Passion of this our Divine Redeemer; and His Passion was followed by His Resurrection, whereby He triumphed over our enemy, death.
Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may, by His Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same, etc.
Our Lady of Good Counsel, April 26
THE ROMAN MISSAL
Double Major [White Vestments]
Third in rank of the classification of Feasts.
Note: the Epistle is from that of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and is not included in this section.
LET us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival in honor of the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Good Counsel; on whose festivity the Angels rejoice and join in praising the Son of God. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. 44, 2. My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. V. Glory.
O GOD, Who hast given us her who bore Thy beloved Son to be our mother and hast vouchsafed to glorify her fair image by a wondrous apparition, grant, we beseech Thee, that by always adhering to her counsels, we may be able to live after Thine Own heart and to arrive happily in our heavenly country. Through the same.
From Septuagesima to Easter the Lesser Alleluia is replaced by the Tract; in Paschal time the Gradual and Tract are replaced by the Greater Alleluia.
GRADUAL Prov. 8, 12, 34
I, Wisdom, dwell in counsel and am present in learned thoughts. V. Blessed is the man that heareth me and that watcheth daily at my gates and waiteth at the posts of my doors.
V. Prov. 8, 8, 35. He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord. Alleluia.
TRACT Prov. 8, 14, 17, 20, 21
Counsel and equity is mine, prudence is mine, strength is mine. V. I love them that love me: and they that early in the morning watch for me shall find me. V. I walk in the way of justice, in the midst of the paths of judgment. V. That I may enrich them that love me, and may fill their treasures.
V. Luke 1, 28. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women. Alleluia.
V. Through thee, O Mother of God, has the life we had lost been given back to us: for from Heaven receiving Him Who became thy Son, thou on the world hast bestowed its Savior. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 1:26-33
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
AT THAT time, the Angel Gabriel was sent from, God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the Angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner or salutation this should be. And the Angel said to her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of His kingdom there shall be no end.
OFFERTORY Jer. 18:20
Remember, O Virgin Mother, that thou speak good things for us in the sight of God, that He may also turn aside His wrath from us. Alleluia, alleluia.
SANCTIFY, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the libations offered Thee, and by the most salutary intercession of the blessed Mother of God, Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, grant them to be for our salvation. Through the same.
O Queen of the world, most worthy Mary, ever a virgin, intercede for our peace and safety, thou who didst bring forth Christ our Lord, the Savior of all. Alleluia, alleluia.
MAY the august intercession of Mary, Thy glorious and ever virgin Mother, be our help, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that it may make those whom it hath overwhelmed with incessant benefits ever to see what should be done and strengthen them to fulfill what they see. Who livest.