|The Annunciation - Fra Angelico|
Great lover of mankind that He is, He had a plan to bring about the Redemption of Man and, to set this plan in train He had sent the Archangel Gabriel on this day, to the Virgin Mary a young maiden of Nazareth. But unlike most Divine plans this plan depended for its operation on the prior consent of the young maiden.
One can imagine the unfamiliarity of the circumstance. God, who knows even what is yet to happen, knew that Mary would accept, but left the decision to her - the Angels did not know and we might imagine , in our limited terms,their keen interest in the matter.
The Blessed Virgin had been uniquely prepared for her sacred role, she had been in the "mind"of God from all Eternity, and so when the time came for her to be conceived , she was accorded Immaculate Conception. That is to say, from the very first moment of her existence she was preserved free of the taint of Original Sin. Little wonder the Archangel would say to her : "Hail full of grace"- the salutation recognised her unique status. And it was this fullness of grace that was to lead her response. to what was put to her.In her profound humility, she did not express doubt that it could happen. She humbly, modestly asked only how this could happen.The Archangel's explanation, though it must have been mysterious to her, was enough - now she knew God's Will fully.
The great silence was broken by her ready reply of complete trust: "Be it done unto me according to thy word." The most extraordinary exercise of Free Will in the history of the world.History was made at that moment , thanks be to God! Who at that moment became Man and took up His abode in the Womb of that Blessed Virgin who thus became the Ark of the New Covenant. Truly "full of Grace."