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Thursday, March 25, 2004

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Annunciation of the Lord

Isaiah 7:10-14
Hebrews 10:4-10
Psalm 40
Luke 1:26-38

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the humility that changed the world

"Then said I, 'Behold I come.' " —Psalm 40:8

Today, and on the first day of Christmas, we fall to our knees when we pray in the Creed: "By the power of the Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man." We are awed by the extreme humility of the Lord in becoming man. Moreover, His Incarnation sets the tone for millennia of humility from the poverty of the manger at Bethlehem to the obscurity of His life in Nazareth as a carpenter, from the extreme humility of His death by crucifixion to the incomprehensible humility of the Lord giving Himself to us in Communion under the appearances of bread and wine.

Because God is Love (1 Jn 4:8, 16), He is humble to the extreme. The more experience we have of true love, the more we come to realize that growing deeper in love means going deeper in humility. Mary seems to have realized this, for when the archangel Gabriel announced the Incarnation, she responded in love: "I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say" (Lk 1:38). When we see ourselves as the Lord's servants (or more precisely His slaves), we are humble. Furthermore, when we let "it be done" to us rather than "doing it ourselves," we are loving the Lord and humbling ourselves.

The humility of the Lord as expressed in His Incarnation is an unfathomable mystery. What He means by humility may be very different than our ideas of humility. On this feast of the Annunciation of the Incarnation, let us ask the incarnate Jesus to teach us to be meek and "humble of heart" (Mt 11:29).

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to reveal to me the relationship between love and humility.

Promise:  "By this 'will,' we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." —Heb 10:10

Praise:  Praise You, Jesus, the incarnate Word! Praise You, Jesus, incarnate Love in mysterious humility!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 18, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 24, 2003