This day rightly should be known as the Incarnation of Our Lord, for on this day we remember and thank God for the fact that He sent His Son into this fallen world of ours, to redeem us and save us from our sins. This dramatic rescue-operation starts with a visit to the Most Blessed Virgin, Mary, who said, upon hearing the news that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God, “Let it be to me, according to Your Word” and then later, when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, she said, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Our souls magnify the Lord. Our souls rejoice, along with Mary’s, in God our Savior.
What a joyful/joyous festival the Annuciation is. We rejoice in the angel’s announcement to Mary that she will be the mother of God, and she, the dear and most highly favored Lady, responds in God-given humility, full of God’s grace: “Let it be done to me, even as you have said.” And with the angel’s announcement, the Holy Spirit conceived a son, the Son, within her womb and truly then the Second Adam looked at us and said, “I am flesh of your flesh and bone of your bones.” A great and awesome mystery here, before which finally words end and all we can do is bend our faces to the ground and adore the thrice-holy One who sends Himself to be with us, among us, and one of us us, in order, for us and for our salvation, to go to the cross and there purchase and win us from sin, death and the devil with His holy and innocent and precious blood.
The Old Testament Reading for the Day: Isaiah 7:10-14
The Gospel Reading for the Day: Luke 1:26-38
The Prayer of the Day:
O Lord, as we have known the incarnation of Your Son Jesus Christ by the message of the angel to the Virgin Mary, so by the message of His cross and passion bring us to the glory of His resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
In the extended entry, you’ll find J.S. Bach’s motet for this glorious festival, the Magnificat, the Latin text, with English translation, follows the videos.
Magnificat anima mea Dominum.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.
Et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.
and my spirit has exulted in God my saviour.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae;
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent
because he has regarded the lowly state of his slavegirl;
for look! from now on [they]will say that I am blessed
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius.
because he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
Et misericordia a progenie in progenies timentibus eum.
and his mercy [continues ] from generation to generation for those who fear him.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo, dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
He has made known the power of his arm, scattered those who are arrogant in the thoughts of their heart.
Deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles.
He has put down the mighty from their seats [of power] and raised up those who are lowly.
Esurientes implevit bonis
et divites dimisit inanes.
The hungry he has filled with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum recordatus misericordiae suae.
He has taken under his protection Israel his boy, and remembered his mercy.
Sicut locutus est ad Patres nostros,
Abraham et semini eius in saecula.
in accordance with what he said to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
Gloria Patri, gloria Filio,
gloria et Spiritui Sancto!
Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper
et in saecula saeculorum.
Glory to the Father, glory to the Son
glory also to the Holy Spirit!
As it was in the beginning and [is] now and always
and throughout ages of ages.
English Translation by Francis Browne (July 2009)
Contributed by Francis Browne (July 2009)