"‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.’”
Nine months before the Nativity of the Lord is celebrated on December 25, the Church celebrates His conception within the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We should not be distracted by the fact that this solemnity of the Annunciation falls during the midst of the holy season of Lent. On the contrary, we ought to reflect on the relationship between today’s feast and the holy season within which it’s celebrated.
How are the Lord Jesus’ conception and His death related? Are they no more than ends of a spectrum? In fact, both are about new life. They draw out, and celebrate, the unity of the person of Jesus Christ: the unity of his humanity and divinity in His divine Person.
Yet consider also a related parallel: the relationship between the Annunciation and the Day of Pentecost. Both the Annunciation and Pentecost are about new life.
Both the Annunciation and Pentecost are feasts which reflect on the act of accepting the Holy Spirit in humble submission to the will of God the Father. Mary is the proto-type of the Church: she is our mother and the Mother of the Church. She who, after questioning, says “Fiat”, accepts the Holy Spirit and bears the Body of Christ within her own body. She is the model for us who will pray repeatedly throughout the Easter Season: “Come Holy Ghost, Creator blest, and in our hearts take up thy rest.”