A New Note

A Meditation as a Preparation for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the B.V.M.
March 25, 2009

A composition is written. It's harmonious, tranquil, unified in sound and purpose. It satisfies the ear. It lifts the spirit. Then, suddenly, an instrumentalist plays a note unwritten. A discord reverberates, stirs the air with chaos and purposeless noise. The soul cringes, but the note goes on into eternity. What can right this sour note? The director can chose to replay the passage, or he may ignore the discord. What he chooses to do does not really change the matter — the note travels on out into space at a fast rate of about a thousand feet per second. The discord will travel in the universe without end.

How can it be stopped? How can harmony return? The only possible way is to take that note and use it as the first note of a new melody: "Behold I make all things new" (Rev 21:5).

Upon the Fall of Adam and Eve, God made a promise He would send a Savior to redeem mankind. That promise was later prophesied in many cultures throughout the world. Jews awaited the birth of a great king, a Wise Man, and a Savior. Plato and Socrates spoke of the logos (Word) and the universal Wise Man who was to come. Many civilizations believed that, from the East, salvation would come for the world. The Roman historian Tacitus, speaking for the ancient Romans, wrote, "People were generally persuaded in the faith of the ancient prophecies, that the East was to prevail, and that from Judea was to come the master and ruler of the world." As the annuls of the Celestial Empire reflect, China had this same expectation (but because it was on the other side of the world, it said the Great Wise Man would be born in the West).

Thus, civilizations have expected a new melody of life, a change for the better, the move that would bring total harmony back into the world. The Jewish records speak of the precise fall from innocence and blessedness through a woman tempting man. So it would be expected that a women would play the key role in making all things new.

So it is that an angel who spoke for God came to a virgin in prayer and asked her if she would give God a human nature. She said, "How can this be since I know not man." She had vowed virginity, so how could she be the mother of the Messiah, the long awaited of all nations?

A birth is the fruit of love, so Mary could not see herself as the mother of a man when she was not a lover of a man but one unambiguously in love with God. Human passion begets life, so the life conceived in Mary was of the passionate love of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit was announced as the One who would overshadow her, and from this cloud of passionate love came forth Emmanuel, which means "God with us."

When Mary declared her "fiat" — "be it done" — she burst forth upon the universe a sound greater than that of fiat lux ("let there be light"), which gave the sun that illumined the night. From her came forth the Son of God, Light from Light, true God from true God, the Word made flesh dwelling among us. Mary achieved the full role of all womenhood, bringing forth God's gift to man. She is the women who in the very beat of her heart — always pure — brought the harmony of the universe into the world, she lives out its rhythm, being the love of God, to the waiting love of man, so that the whole new creation is found for all in the Holy Spirit.

Mary willed to cooperate with God and so willed to be the mother of Jesus. This willing act of God in Mary is far beyond the reality of how children are normally born in the act of passionate love, though only in passions, the women receives the child not knowing if it will be and who it will be, always knowing that only the will of God does bring each person into being — to life. At the Annunciation, the child was willed in a foreseen way. Mary collaborated with the Spirit as Divine Love and agreed to the presence of the Word by free cooperation: "You shall name Him Jesus and He shall save mankind." Other women know they are with child by the physiological changes they experience; Mary became aware of her motherhood by the spiritual change wrought by the Holy Spirit. For nine months she would be the tabernacle of the Lord Most High. She would provide His food through the grapes and bread she ate, and through this she prepared Him to be the Bread and Wine Eternal. Jesus states in John's Gospel 6:35, "It is I Who am the Bread of Life; He who comes to me will never be hungry." Mary gave Jesus all He needed in human nature so as to journey from the crib to the cross and rise from the dead to give all who believe in Him Eternal Life, for it is He who takes away the sins of the world. Such a new note is possible in Him.