Thursday 23rd September 2021

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

The Annunciation . . . A Moment In Time That The Church Celebrates Every Day

July 7, 2021 Frontpage No Comments


One of the most remarkable dimensions of divine Providence is that while the great plan of God for the salvation of mankind unfolds on a scale spanning very many centuries and encompassing billions of souls on a physical stage reaching to the furthest galaxies, the specific course of this grand scheme He has chosen to make dependent upon events that transpire in a matter of just seconds or minutes in the most intimate of surroundings.
Few events fit this description as perfectly as does the Annunciation — a private conversation between an angel of the Lord and a young Virgin scarcely two minutes in length that changed the fate of man forever. If many of our Protestant friends find it difficult to understand why in the rosary we say the Hail Mary fifty-three times, this is reason enough: that each Hail Mary is a commemoration and celebration of that fateful conversation, the outcome of which has saved the world.
Three times a day, too, the Church universally commemorates the Annunciation with the recitation of the angelus, gently inviting the faithful wherever they are to join in this prayer of thanksgiving, reminded by the peal of church bells. There is, moreover, a reverent gesture for the moment of the Incarnation with which the Annunciation climaxes and concludes when at Sunday Mass our profession of faith in this sacred event is marked by a genuflection (Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) or bow (Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) during the singing or recitation of the Nicene Creed.
Across the ages, countless Catholic artists have sought to express visually the Annunciation, exploring its full magnitude, meaning and implications from a multitude of perspectives.
There is something quite “nuptial” about the Annunciation, for by the Incarnation God wedded humanity to Himself. Many late medieval painters allude to this quite directly by depicting in the background of their Annunciation portraits the bed chamber of Mary as a symbol of the bridal chamber of Christ the Divine Bridegroom.
In many depictions of the Annunciation, there is a special joy in the Archangel Gabriel’s face, his demeanor like that of a messenger sent to convey on behalf of his master the latter’s wedding proposal to the maiden He hopes to marry. For in a sense God through His angel Gabriel was indeed asking for the hand of Mary in the marriage of the Incarnation. And as Virgin of Virgins and Queen of Virgins, Mary is over and above all other consecrated virgins the Bride of Christ par excellence, the ultimate exemplar for the Church as the Bride of Christ.
A painting of the Annunciation attributed to Petrus Christus in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (ca. 1450) exemplifies well this jubilant nuptial vision of the event. Mary stands at a doorway as Gabriel comes before her, her face radiant with a gentle smile, raised to meet the archangel’s gaze as he courteously announces to her his message from the court of Heaven. Mary’s vesture suggests that of a queen, trimmed in ermine, considered a symbol of purity, and at her feet the first step of the doorway is inscribed in Latin with the opening words of the Marian antiphon of Eastertide, the Regina Caeli: “Queen of Heaven, rejoice.”
St. Gabriel is vested in a cope. The portrayal of the archangel in liturgical vestments was a common feature in late medieval northern European paintings of the Annunciation.
The doorway within which Mary stands is that of a gothic church, suggesting our Lady’s identity as the archetype of the Church, the Bride of Christ. The Holy Spirit is seen descending toward her, indicating that the moment of the Incarnation is about to take place. The depiction of this as transpiring at the threshold of a church evokes all the imagery associated with Psalm 24:
“Lift up your heads, O gates! / and be lifted up, O ancient doors! / that the King of glory may come in. / Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, / the Lord, mighty in battle!” (Psalm 24:7-8).
In the Church’s medieval liturgical ceremonies for the consecration of a new church and for the procession of Palm Sunday, the singing of this psalm marked the moment when the clergy would enter the main door of the church, representing particularly Christ’s entry into the Heavenly Jerusalem at His Ascension, but also His entry into the earthly Jerusalem at the outset of Holy Week, His entry into Sheol following His death to set free the souls of the just held there from the beginning of time until His coming, and, preceding all these entries, His entrance into the world at His Incarnation.
It is this latter association that is evoked by the placement of our Lady at the threshold of a church in the Petrus Christus Annunciation, for the Son of God is about to enter the temple of Mary’s virginal womb.
On the left side of the painting, where Gabriel stands, we see behind him a flowering meadow, suggesting the nuptial imagery of the Song of Solomon:
“Arise, my love, my fair one, / and come away; / for lo, the winter is past, / the rain is over and gone. / The flowers appear on the earth, / the time of singing has come, / and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land” (Song 2:10-12).
Indeed, one could well say that at the Annunciation “the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land,” considering that the Holy Spirit who wrought the Incarnation in the womb of our Lady appears in the Scriptures under the visible form of a dove.
By way of contrast, in the Flemish artist Gerard David’s 1506 depiction of the Annunciation, also in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, set on two separate panels for an altarpiece, with St. Gabriel in the left panel and the Blessed Virgin in the right, the more solemn dimension of this event is pervasive to the point of suggesting that David is directing the viewer’s mind to the Passion of Christ that will ultimately proceed from the Incarnation.
The face of our Lady is grave, seemingly tinged with sadness, as if even now, in the angel’s message, she is experiencing the first intimations of where this journey of God Incarnate, about to begin in her virginal womb, will eventually lead, and how she herself will share in that destiny on Golgotha. The very dark blue of her dress and cloak, almost black, and of the background behind her, including her bed, suggests this as well.
The face of Gabriel is likewise very serious, his hand raised as if he were delivering an admonition. The fringe of his cloak bears the words in Latin from his message, “…the power of the Most High will overshadow you….” (Luke 1:35). The suddenness of the Annunciation can also be seen in David’s depiction, with the book our Lady had been reading lying totally open, its pages fanned out, as happens when the hand is suddenly removed from an open book. On the floor before her lies a red pouch, its bright blood-red hue appearing to be yet another allusion to the Passion.
In both the Petrus Christus and the Gerard David paintings of the Annunciation, and in numerous other depictions as well, our Lady is portrayed as having been in the act of reading a book when the archangel came to her, with a vase of lilies near her. The meaning of the vase of lilies seems obvious, as a perennial symbol of Mary’s purity, but the lilies also symbolize the Incarnation as prophesied by Isaiah, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, / and a flower shall rise up out of his root” (Isaiah 11:1 — Douay-Reims translation), with the shoot (“rod”) representing Mary’s virginal motherhood and the flower representing the Son of God becoming man in her womb.
As for Mary’s reading, there was an ancient tradition that the Blessed Virgin was well read in the Psalter, and gifted with an exceptional wisdom and intelligence surpassing even that of the great doctors of the Church.
In the manner whereby our Lady received her calling to become the Mother of God, we can see in its most exalted form the way in which God calls each and every one of us to our respective vocations in life. It can and often does come as quickly and suddenly as it came to Mary. It is inspiring to hear and read the individual stories of how priests and nuns first heard the call of God in their lives, with vivid and emotional memories of where and how it happened.
We see this too in the Gospel accounts of how the apostles were called by our Lord, and find many beautiful descriptions of the call of God in the lives of the saints.

The End Of Time

All of these individual callings are woven together in the vast plan of God for the salvation of the world. There is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) a remarkable reflection upon how at the end of time God will reveal to the whole human race on the Day of Judgment this plan of His in its entirety, when the Father through His Son will “pronounce the final word on all history”:
“The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life. . . . We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything toward its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God’s love is stronger than death” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Vatican City, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994, and Washington, D.C., United States Catholic Conference, 1994, nn. 1039-1040, pp. 271-272 ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana).
May all of us in our own lives be as receptive as our Lady was to the call of God, whenever, wherever, and however it comes.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Pro-Life Group Calls for Removing Fauci After He's Caught Funding Aborted Baby Parts - - The Pro-Life News Source


Load More...

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Vatican observes ‘Earth Hour’

On Saturday, along with the Vatican, symbolic monuments of cities all across the globe turn off their lights, to demonstrate the serious global climate crisis. By Vatican News staff writer Vatican City State took part in the traditional international initiative Earth…Continue Reading

House passes bill setting up path to citizenship for millions of Dreamers

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday passed an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1


Adopt A Center

Today . . .

Abortion On Demand Act . . . House Set to Vote Friday on Massive Abortion Bill

CV NEWS FEED // Democrats in the House of Representatives will vote Friday to pass legislation that would enshrine the “right” to abortion in federal law. The “Women’s Health Protection Act,” which Republican opponents have dubbed the “Abortion On Demand Act,” would preemptively destroy all future state-level legislation to protect the unborn.  If the bill passes the House, it is not expected to pass the Senate, where it would need a 60-vote supermajority to overcome…Continue Reading

Federal judge rejects Biden admin’s demand to block Texas abortion ban before hearing

A federal judge has blocked Joe Biden’s emergency request to stop the Texas abortion ban, which has saved anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 babies from abortion. The Texas heartbeat law went into effect Sept. 1, prohibiting abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Unique from other state heartbeat laws, the Texas law includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law…Continue Reading

Archbishops criticize ‘outrageous’ claims against St Junipero Serra

A California bill to replace a statue of St. Junipero Serra at the state capitol unfairly slanders the saint’s legacy, two archbishops claimed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Sunday, Sept. 12.  Last month, California lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to pass Assembly Bill 338, which would replace the statue of St. Junipero Serra at the state capitol with one honoring local Indigenous populations. The bill text claims that 

Catholic health ministry head decries ‘unjust’ federal vaccine mandate

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for many private employers, drawing criticism from the head of one Catholic health care ministry. “Coercing individuals into making a medical intervention is unjust,” said Louis Brown, executive director of the Christ Medicus Foundation and former acting deputy director of the Civil Rights Division of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, in an interview with CNA on Thursday. “And a vaccine mandate that could…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone raises issue of excommunication for abortion advocates

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 5, 2021 / 18:07 pm Calling abortion “the most pressing human rights challenge of our time,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone on Sunday invoked the excommunication of prominent Catholic segregationists in the early 1960s as an example of a legitimate response to Catholics politicians who support “a great moral evil.” In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, the leader of the Archdiocese of San Francisco pushed back against recent statements by Catholic politicians…Continue Reading

New FDA Records Show . . . Purchases Of Fetal Organs, Heads And Tissue for ‘Humanized Mice’ Project

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Judicial Watch announced September 14, that it received 198 pages of records and communications from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) involving “humanized mice” research with human fetal heads, organs and tissue, including communications and contracts with human fetal tissue provider Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR). Most of the records are communications…Continue Reading

The Enduring Path To Financial Health: Graduate, Work, Marry And Have Children

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY The basic path to financial success in this country has been revealed once again by the Census Bureau’s annual report on income and poverty, which was released this week. What did it show?People who graduate from college, get a job, get married and have children generally earn more money than those…Continue Reading

Our Vindictive Culture

By REY FLORES We have all known political correctness as a way of life for years now. It seems that everyone gets offended by one thing or another, but as we spiral out of control into the unknown future, it’s no longer about pointing out political incorrectness — today it’s about punishing the accused in…Continue Reading

If Dems Trample U.S. Into The Dust … They’ll Have Cleared The Ground To Build New Dictatorship

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX – Like many other people who don’t determine the priorities for coverage by dominant left-wing media, conservative pundit Bill Bennett was puzzled at irrational behavior in Joe Biden’s proclaimed steely fight against the COVID virus.Commenting that 40,000 people a week come up to the southern border, Bennett said, “If this is…Continue Reading

A Philadelphia Lawyer In The Garden Of Eden

By DONALD DeMARCO There was no moment in the annals of biblical history, if we are to give full rein to our imagination, when the presence of a lawyer was more urgently needed than immediately after Adam and Eve ingested the forbidden fruit. His absence was most keenly felt, for he was not there to…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

“Abortion is Murder”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “Be a pastor, don’t go condemning.” was the Pope’s answer to a question from a reporter on the return flight from his recent apostolic journey to Slovakia and Hungary. The context was a question posed: “What must the pastor do?” in reference to pro-abortion politicians. On the subject of abortion, the Pope repeated the Church…Continue Reading

The Exorcistic Effect… Of The Word Of God

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this commentary on September 8 and it is reprinted here with permission. His blog is found at + + Many often think of exorcism only in relation to driving out demons from possessed people using ancient prayers. But, truth be told, we all have afflictions, oppressions, temptations, and other…Continue Reading

Love God With Your Whole Heart

BY FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Numb. 11:25-29James 5:1-6Mark 9:38-43; 45, 47-48 In the Gospel reading today our Lord tells us that if our hand or foot causes us to sin, cut it off; if our eye causes us to sin, pluck it out. Obviously, our hand, foot, or eye cannot be the cause…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: If the following lessons, which were prepared for Confirmation students, are of value to you, put them to whatever use you can. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well, so please send them along, either to the postal mailing address or the email address below, and we will interrupt this series to answer…Continue Reading

The Beating Heart Of Texas

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK When it comes to legalized baby killing, also known as abortion, untold numbers of Catholics are languishing spiritually under what I’ll call the “Biden delusion.” Some of them would begin to explain it by stating, “I’m personally opposed, but….”For a few years now Biden has survived politically as a Democrat, while claiming to be Catholic,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Nicholas Owen

By DEB PIROCH First you see him…and then you don’t. Dangerous times call for dangerous measures. During the reign of Elizabeth I and James I of England, St. Nicholas Owen was the expert at creating what became known as “priests’ holes,” or secret hiding spots for clergy. Located in the homes of wealthy recusant Catholics, these were hidden compartments or…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Mariam Of Jesus Crucified

By DEB PIROCH Her parents had tried so hard to have a child. Again and again they had a little boy, one after the other dying in infancy. After losing 12 boys, Mariam’s mother said to her father: Let’s go to the Holy Grotto in Jerusalem and pray to the Blessed Virgin to intercede for a girl.Mariam’s parents were Greek…Continue Reading