The Annunciation of Virgin Mary


The Annunciation.

Why was it that for His incarnation God chose precisely the Virgin Mary from Nazareth? Like is drawn to like.
The Son of God, by the will of God the Father and the action of the Holy Spirit, Could only take up His abode in such a Virgin, and could only receive human nature from such a human being, who was worthy thereof, and who according to the qualities of her soul was fitted to receive God in herself. From the account of the Annunciation to the All-holy Virgin it is clear that it was just such a Virgin that God sought, and that He found her in Mary.

With regard to the purposes of the incarnation of God, Mary was the best of all women on earth (“Blessed art thou among women”) and among all the tribes and generations of mankind (“All generations shall call her blessed”).

That she might receive God in herself and might minister at the “mystery of piety,” which is the appearance in the world of “God in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16),—Mary was already sufficiently prepared on the day of the Annunciation.

God saves man, but not without man. He seeks him who will receive Him. And God sought in the world for a person through whom He might come amongst men.

God sought a “ladder” which would unite heaven with earth (Genesis 28:12).

God sought a “thorn bush” which would not be burned by the presence of His Divinity (Exodus 3:2).

God sought an “ark”—not one in which to place the tablets of the Law, but for the Word Incarnate Himself (Genesis 10:5).

He sought a “golden vessel” for the manna, the Bread That came down from Heaven, for His Son (Heb. 9:4; John 6:33).

He sought a “sanctuary” and “tabernacle,” in which He might “take up His abode among-men” (Exodus 25:8).

The time came for the incarnation of God, and the ancient “figures for the time then present” (Heb. 9:9) were realized in the tabernacle and ladder with a soul, in the bush, and ark and vessel which had a soul—in the Virgin.

For a long time, through many generations the faith was fostered, and at the last in Mary it achieved its highest development and perfection, its final limit and fulfilment.

She remembered the ninety year-old Sarah, who bore a son, when her husband was a hundred years old. She knew that Sarah had wrongfully doubted the fulfilment of God’s promise: “is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). And the childless Rebecca received twins of God in no other way save by the fervent prayer of her husband (Gen. 25:2 1). The grief-stricken Rachel had children only by God’s mercy (Genesis 30:22). The mother of Sampson conceived him only after the annunciation from the Lord’s Angel (Judges 13:2-3). Hannah (Anna) gave birth to Samuel after many afflictions, prayers and warm tears, in accordance with the prophecy of the High Priest Eli (1 Kings 1:2-17). Finally, her kinswoman, Elizabeth, who had been called barren, conceived John the Baptist in her old age (Luke 1:36). But all these holy women had husbands, and God’s great help was manifested through natural human powers. For this reason, at the Angel’s greeting, Mary posed the question: “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” And then she makes a last effort of faith and the most exalted that is possible to man: that God overcomes the laws of nature and does whatsoever He wills. She believes, that without a husband, by the “power of the Most High,” she will have a Son.

The faith of the All-holy Virgin was marked by perfect selflessness and complete forgetfulness of self. To be pregnant in her condition as a virgin betrothed to an elder for the very purpose of guarding her virginity, [2] this entailed grieving the holy elder Joseph, to appear to have changed her calling, to subject herself to disgrace and dishonour before men, and even to a death sentence according to the law. But the power of her faith was so strong that such considerations did not restrain her, even though the danger was later to be manifest in actuality when the godly elder desired to put her away, surrendering her to the will of God and to personal responsibility for her action (Matthew 1:19). Her trust in God was without limit, and from this trust there was born humility and submission to God along with a courage and a fearlessness, which empowered her for this greatest of struggles.

The Angel testified to the Virgin: “Thou hast found grace with God” (Luke 1:30). Before the Angel’s greeting, throughout the course of her young life, she had found God’s mercy. In what way? How? Evidently, through faith, obedience and humility. By these virtues—which are the very essence of the holy nature common to all mankind and are the spiritual strength of the woman—with which, in her battle with the devil, she, by the dispensation of God, struck him, in his spirit of faithlessness, disobedience and pride, on the head. By the power of these virtues, even the “seed of the woman,” Jesus Christ, conquered the devil. He, Who was to appear among men as an example of humility, as the path to salvation—”I am meek and lowly of heart” (Matt. 11:29)—and by a humility which was precisely that of a human nature and not only of the Divine, He was to conquer the devil (Matt. 4:1-10). He had to receive that human nature, soul and body, from the most humble handmaiden of the Lord. Christ, “the seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15), so that He might crush the serpent in the bead, had to be authentically the seed of the woman, the bearer of a true humility taken from her common human nature. It was precisely for this reason that “He looked upon the lowliness of His handmaiden” and “exalted” her “of low degree” (Luke 1:48, 52).

Human nature in her was actually prepared for the saving Divine act by humility, the moral quality which is most important for the raising up again of humanity which had fallen through pride. “And upon him will I look,” says the Lord, “on him that is humble and broken of heart, and trembleth at My words” (Es. 66:2). And He looked upon her and made her a new throne of the Divinity, because He Himself said of His dwelling-place: “I dwell in the high heaven and the holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit” (Es. 57:15). Thus, the deeds and words of God closely correspond and are true to each other, and the All-holy Virgin Mary with the particular qualities of her character was distinctly and clearly indicated in the Sacred Scriptures in the strength of those qualities, which were not in her circumstantially, nor accidentally, nor as being commonly found among all virgins, with all their inadequacies, but that she might participate in the work of the salvation of mankind.

That which Eve threw off course and marred in her soul, Mary corrected, and raised up within herself and was made “amenable” to the Lord Himself, she responded to God’s purposes, she prepared the human nature within her to offer it as a gift to God for His work of salvation. All that could be done by human efforts for her personal sanctity Mary did, leaving to the Divine energies only the salvation of her nature unto life eternal, which salvation was worked in Christ for all mankind.

In her humanity was prepared, made ready for the reception of God, given in her all that it could be given: all the faith, all the humility, all the love towards God, all its perfection was offered to God as a gift. More than this it could not offer. After this there could only be the descent of the Divinity upon a soil tilled and made ready. And God perceived on the ground the beauty of man, and that in her, and so in her He found for Himself a place, where He might unite the earthly and the heavenly. The golden vessel for the heavenly manna was readied, and the tabernacle, in which God would dwell, was set up, the ark was made for the Word of God, the new tablets [i.e. as in the tablets of stone on which the Law was inscribed by God—ed.].

The Virgin Mary, it is she who is the objective of the Old Testament Church. If the race of man was prepared to receive the Saviour, for the coming of God upon earth, then it was prepared in her, that it might offer her. She is the one, through whom it was possible to receive Christ on earth. All the righteousness of the Old Testament Church was concentrated in her. She is the most exalted of all and the holiest that the Old Covenant could achieve in awaiting the Messiah.

The race of man had to give of itself the New Eve, the new mother of mankind, one being saved and faithful, in place of one unbelieving and sinning.

Thus the All-holy Virgin is the culmination and embodiment of all that had gone before in the Old Testament Church.



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