"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God."
Joshua, Chapter 4, Verse 23-24
23 For the LORD, your God, dried up the waters of the Jordan in front of you until you crossed over, just as the LORD, your God, had done at the Red Sea, drying it up in front of us until we crossed over, 24 in order that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, and that you may fear the LORD, your God, forever.”
Often times we are afraid of shadows but when are eyes are fixed on the promise of God we are filled with optimism. When Joshua crossed the Jordan he had a representative from each tribe take up a stone from the river to immortalize the day God stopped the Jordan and to recall the day Israel received the promise of God. So today I would like you to reflect what has been the 12 most memorial events for you in the past year in order to focus ourselves on the light rather than the shadows.
So what are the 12 memorial stones of your life you would like to present to the Lord? Are there some areas you need help from the Lord in order to be successful?
1. Emotional: How have I grown in love?
2. Mental: Have I developed any new paradigms?
3. Physical: Have I overcome a physical weakness?
4. Spiritual: Have I developed Holy Fear and walked with the Lord? Have I developed any new virtues?
5. Career: Have I progressed in my career or aided someone in theirs?
6. Family: Have I had family successes and been open to new life?
7. Financial: Have I made progress in stewardship of the resources that God has given me?
8. Learning: Has my mind been open to the Lord and new learning?
9. Community: Has there been success in areas where I work with my local community?
10. Church: Has there been growth in my participation with my parish?
11. Environment: Have I done my part to be environmentally responsible?
12. Companionship: Have I listened, been nurturing, and positive?
Remember when you finish reflecting to thank the Lord for your successes and have a grateful heart.
Feast of the Annunciation
Lent's austerity is interrupted as we solemnly keep a feast in honor of the Annunciation. The feast commemorates the most sublime moment in the history of time, the moment when the Second Divine Person of the most Holy Trinity assumed human nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Thus it is a feast of our Lord, even as it is of Mary, although the liturgy centers wholly around the Mother of God. — The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
The words “Hail Mary” indicate that profound veneration for the Blessed Virgin which was felt by the archangel Gabriel, and which we, in imitation of his example, ought also to cherish. The words full of grace remind us that God bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin greater graces than upon all men and angels together; and that not for herself alone, but for us also; they therefore encourage us to pray to Mary with fervor and confidence, that by her powerful intercession she will obtain for us the graces necessary for our salvation. “The Lord is with thee” these words express the peculiar complacency with which God has regarded her, on account of which He wrought in her special miracles of wisdom, omnipotence, and benignity. Let us rejoice with Mary over these prerogatives, and implore her to intercede for us, that God may be with us also, to sustain us by His almightiness, to govern us by His wisdom, to incite us to all that is good by the fire of His infinite love. Finally, the words c Blessed art thou among women are as much as to say: Thou art the happiest of all women, since thou alone of them all hast no stain of sin on thee; thou art chosen to be the Mother of God; thou shalt conceive Him by the Holy Ghost, and shalt bring Him forth without losing thy virginity. Thus it was that the angel saluted the most blessed Virgin, and yet there are men who are ashamed thus to salute Mary, and to give praise for the graces which God conferred upon her. (Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896)
Things to Do
· This feast is very important in the defense of the life of unborn children. Even with small children, this is a good day to begin teaching about the high value God places on human life. He loved us so much that he became one of us, took on our human nature and became an innocent, completely dependent infant.
· This is a Solemnity, so when this feast falls during the Lenten season, our Lenten penance obligations are lifted. We should celebrate by some special food or dinner. This feast day forecasts the blessed event of Christmas, and illustrates how the liturgical year is an endless circle of days. To celebrate this circle or cycle, serve a cake, coffee rings, or wreath-shaped cookies, or foods shaped in ring molds for this feast day. A perfect symbolic food would be an angel food cake for the archangel Gabriel, baked in a tube pan for the endless circle, decorated with the frosting highlighted with blue for Mary.
· A traditional food for this day is waffles. "Lady Day" or Annunciation, is the only feast of Mary that Sweden still celebrates since the Lutheran faith became the state religion in 1593. In most of Europe, waffles are a traditional feast day food, but on the feast of the Annunciation in Sweden this is THE "Waffle Day" (Vaffeldagen), where waffles are served either for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with lingonberries or cloudberries.