Posted by: fvbcdm | January 12, 2016

Feast of Saint Anthony Pucci (12 January 2016)

At the beginning of sacred history, when God began the establishment of a Chosen People from whom the promised Savior would spring, he chose Abraham and his wife Sarah to be the first parents of that special people. But they were very old and Sarah had no children. So how was this special people going to be established? We remember the story of the three strangers who came to Abraham and Sarah and told them that they would return the following year, and by then, Sarah would be holding her baby in her arms. Thus by the intervention of God in a miraculous way, Abraham and his wife Sarah become the progenitors of God’s people, from whom Christ would be born.

This tradition of a child being born in unlikely or even impossible situations goes on in the Old Testament. Hannah is childless, and deeply distressed because she sees her barrenness as a curse from God. She goes to the Tent of Meeting to pray; the priest Eli blesses her and assures her that God has heard her prayers, seen her tears. And she gives birth to the prophet Samuel. Then there is the story of Manoah whose wife had not been able to have a baby. An angel appears to her and assures her that she will conceive and give birth; that child became the judge, Samson of proverbial strength.

Coming closer to the moment of the incarnation, we find an elderly woman named Elizabeth conceiving and giving birth to Saint John the Baptist “because,” as the archangel points out to Our Lady later on, “nothing will be impossible for God.” And now we reach the climax of this tradition of improbable and even impossible conceptions and births: as the prophet Isaiah foretells, “The virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” Christ the Savior will be conceived by a woman through the overshadowing of the Spirit of God; he will have no human father. He is the highpoint of divine intervention into human generation.

When all this is explained to Our Lady, what is her reaction? Does she immediately begin to glory in this immense privilege that is being conferred upon her: “I am the virgin who will be mother of the Messiah! I am the most blessed among women! I am unique among human beings!” Not at all. She says to the announcing angel: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Even with all that honor conferred upon her; even with that divine choice of her to be the one who will clothe the Son of God with human flesh taken from her own virginal body, she shows no pride, no glorying in her own prerogatives. She always sees herself in relation to God. She is not the Supreme Being; she is his handmaid. She is only a creature, called out of nothingness into being by the Creator. However exalted she is in relation to other humans, she is the servant of God; his word is to be her vocation, the value for which she lives. She is our model in humility and obedience. Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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