This feast, prepared by that of St. Gabriel (March 24), recalls the greatest event in history, the Incarnation of our Lord (Gospel) in the womb of a Virgin (Epistle). On this day the Word was made flesh, and united to itself for ever the humanity of Jesus. March 25th is indeed the anniversary of the ordination of Christ as priest, for it is by the anointing of the divinity that He has become Supreme Pontiff, Mediator between God and man.
The mystery of the Incarnation has earned for Blessed Mary her most glorious title, that of “Mother of God” (Collect), in Greek “Theotokos” a name which the Eastern Church always inscribed in letters of gold, like a diadem on the forehead of her images or statues. “Standing on the threshold of divinity” since she gave to the Word of God the flesh to which He was hypostatically united, the Virgin has always been honored by a supereminent worship, that of hyperdulia. “The Son of the Father and the Son of the Virgin naturally become a single and identical son, ” says St. Anselm : hence Mary is queen of the human race and is to be venerated by all (Introit).
To March 25th will correspond, nine months later, December 25th, the day on which will be manifested to the world the miracle as yet only known to Heaven and to the humble Virgin.
Since the title of Mother of God makes Mary all powerful with her Son, let us have recourse to her intercession with Him (Collect), so that by the merits of His passion and crucifixion we may have part in the glory of His resurrection (Postcommunion). Every parish priest celebrates Mass for the people of his parish.
INTROIT Psalm 44: 13, 15, 16
All the rich among the people shall entreat Thy countenance: after her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to Thee in gladness and rejoicing. (Psalm 44: 2) My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. V. Glory be…
O God, who didst will that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an Angel, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliant people, that we who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee. Through our Lord…
LESSON Isaias 7: 10-15
Lesson from the Prophet Isaias. In those days the Lord spoke to Achaz, saying: Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above. And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And He said: hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel. He shall eat butter and honey, that He may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good.
GRADUAL Psalm 44: 3 , 5
Grace is poured abroad in thy lips; therefore hath God blessed thee forever. V. Because of truth and meekness, and justice; and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.
TRACT Psalm 44: 11, 12
Hearken, O daughter, and see, incline thy ear: for the King hath greatly desired thy beauty. V. All the rich shall entreat thy countenance: the daughters of kings in thine honor. V. After her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to thee. V. They shall be brought with gladness and rejoicing: they shall be brought into the temple of the King.
GOSPEL St Luke 1: 26-28
At that time: And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of His kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren. Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Luke 1: 28,42
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women and blessed in the fruit of thy womb.
May the offering of our service and the prayer of the blessed Archangel Gabriel be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord ; that he whom we venerate on earth, may be our advocate before Thee in Heaven. Through our Lord…
PREFACE of the Annunciation
It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: and that we should praise and bless, and proclaim Thee, in the Annunciation of the Blessed Mary, ever-Virgin: Who also conceived Thine only-begotten Son by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, and the glory of her virginity still abiding, gave forth to the world the everlasting Light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, and the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Isaias 7: 14
Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel.
Having partaken in the mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, we implore Thy clemency, O Lord our God ; that we to whom Thy clememcy, O Lord our God; that we to whom Thine Incarnation was made known by the message of Gabriel, may likewise obtain through his help the benefits of that same Incarnation. Who livest and reignest…