Friday, March 25, 2011

"Today is the Beginning of our Salvation" - Great Feast of the Annunciation

On March 25th in the Life of the Church, we celebrate the Great Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord.  This Feast is described in the Gospel according to Luke 1:26-38.  Luke tells the story of the meeting between the Archangel Gabriel (being sent by God) to visit with Mary in the city of Nazareth. 

Annunciation of our Lord

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Mary hears the words of the angel Gabriel: "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"  She is troubled at his words and presence, but the angel Gabriel continues by saying, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus."  Mary is even more confused at this encounter and replies, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"  The angel Gabriel offers her this explanation, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God."

The laws of nature are suspended, for a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.  This great Mystery reaffirms the love of God for His creation.  Truly God becomes truly Man!  Our Lord will take upon himself our humanity in order to renew our blessed opportunity towards His Divinity.

The major hymns for this Feast are as follows:

Troparion (Tone 4):  Today is the beginning of our salvation, the revelation of the eternal mystery! The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin as Gabriel announces the coming of Grace. Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos: Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with You!

Kontakion (Tone 8):  To Thee the Champion Leader, I thy servant ascribe thank offerings of victory.  For thou hast delivered me from terrors, O Theotokos.  But as thou hast that power which is invincible from all danger set me free, that I may cry unto thee:  Hail, O Bride without Bridegroom! 

Dismissal Hymn (Tone 3):  At the Beauty of thy virginity and at the exceeding splendor of thy purity Gabriel stood amazed and cried out unto thee, O Theotokos.  "What hymn of praise is meet, for me to bring to thee?  What shall I call thee?  I hesitate and I stand in wonder.  Wherefore as I was commanded I cry out unto thee:  Hail, thou that art full of grace!" 

On a more personal note:  While researching for this blogpost I came across some life changing knowledge about myself.  My whole life I've honestly hated my middle name, which is "Evan."  I never used it, rarely told anyone what it is, etc.  But I found out today, that my middle name of Evan is of Greek origin (which totally changes my outlook)!  It comes from the Greek word "evangelion" or its English translation of "good news" as in the Christian gospels or this Great Feast of the Annunciation (Archangel Gabriel telling of the "good news" to the Virgin Mary).

Blessed Great Feast of the Annunciation to all & blessed Name's Day to those bearing the name of Evan!

- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director

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