Advent 2019: The Virgin Mary’s joy and the miracle of the Annunciation

CARDINAL MAURO PIACENZA is the international president of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The following text is excerpted from an Advent homily he gave Dec. 5, 2019, during Mass at ACN’s international headquarters in Königstein, Germany.

… The angel salutes Mary as “Full of grace”. In essence this expression means the following: all the grace, all the divine favor that resides in you, is there for a particular purpose. By nature Christ alone is full of grace; Mary, a simple creature, is proclaimed as the chosen one by the special plan of benevolence that God has in mind for mankind; therefore she is filled with this benevolence. The expression “The Lord is with you” thereby acquires an altogether new and special value, which Mary intuitively understands: “God is with you in a new and altogether particular manner, because he wills to fulfil in you his designs.”

Cardinal Piacenza

… Having a son was surely the last thing Mary would have thought of. The same God who had inspired in her her virginity, was now offering her maternity – the motherhood of the Promised One, the Awaited One of Israel. Virginity and motherhood, which in this case are not opposites but marvelously harmonious.

… Mary knew what was essential. She had understood that the Lord wished her to become a mother and she also understood how, namely by remaining a virgin. Mary knew how to guard within her, from that moment on, the treasure of God.

… The Son who was now entrusted to her and the certainty of divine favor must undoubtedly have filled the Blessed Virgin with an immense joy. It was the day of the greatest happiness in her life; her soul sang with a holy joy and the only shadow would have been not being able to shout out her happiness to everyone, not being able to proclaim this joyful event to all Israel. But this was not her mission; it was not for her to divulge the plans of God. Mary always knew how to keep her place; she said nothing to anyone. She instead began to discover and see in a new light the meaning of the Psalms, the canticles, the biblical prophecies.

… Mary is not merely a girl singing her own joy to the Lord; she is the reduced and impoverished Jewish nation which God has now raised up as an instrument for the transmission of the Savior to all the nations. The past is recalled in light of the future. Israel is a people on the march towards the Messiah. It finds him in Mary. From this precise moment there begins the journey of the new people of God – the Church!

—Cardinal Mauro Piacenza