Sunday, March 25, 2012

Feast of the Annunciation

"Mary became the Mother of God at the moment of the Incarnation. It was a moment for which God had richly prepared her. Through the fullness of grace which He gave her, Mary had lived a life of obedience to the will of God. Her every thought and action had been formed in the burning crucible of charity or the love of God. She had even conceived the resolution to devote herself to the service of God by a vow of virginity. At the moment chosen by God, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her in bodily form and announced to her the great purpose for which God had chosen her. 'Hail, full of grace,' he said, and his words signified her worthiness to fulfill the role for which she was destined. 'The Lord is with thee,' he continued, and in these words he announced the conception that was to take place. When Mary gave full consent of her loving, obedient heart in the words, 'Be it done unto me according to thy word,' the marriage between God and human nature was complete. God had become man, and in the consent of Mary all mankind consented to its own ennoblement in the God-man, Christ. Eve had seduced Adam to the destruction of the human race. Mary conceived Christ for the salvation of the human race."

-- My Way of Life: The Summa Simplified for Everyone by  Walter Farrell, OP, STM, and Martin J Healy, STD

** The painting is by Fra Angelico.

Ven Peter of the Mother of God

"Pedro Villagrasa (1565-1608), a native of Daroca (Zaragoza), was also studying at Alcalá when, at the early age of sixteen and a half, he joined the Carmelites at Pastrana, where he had John of Jesus and Mary as a fellow-novice. After his profession on 23 January 1583, he completed his studies for the priesthood at Alcalá. Very soon he was showing signs of the great oratorical talent for which he was so deservedly famous in later years.

It was probably about mid 1590 that Fr. Doria sent him to Rome to accompany and assist Juan de San Jerónimo who was going there as Procurator. Pedro's work included going to the market to do the shopping and this gave him the opportunity to mix with people and learn Italian quickly, an invaluable opportunity for so promising a young preacher. There is evidence that he was in Genoa from 1593 to 1595, and it was here that his oratorical talent began to be noticed in high places. It even reached the ears of Cardinal Pinelli, protector of the Order, and that brought an invitation to preach the Lenten sermone in Rome in 1596. Such was the effect which his sermons produced in Rome that Pope Clement VIII immediately appointed him Papal Preacher, an office in which he was confirmed by both Leo XI and Paul V. It was Pedro's fame that moved the Pope to request a Discalced monastery in Rome. So, when the superiors in Spain tried to raise difficulties lest Gracián find a way back and sought to bring the Carmelites who were in Rome back to Spain, the Pope exempted them from the jurisdiction of Spain and appointed Pedro Commissary of the new Congregation pending the election of a general by a chapter in due course. As we have said, the first general was Fr.Fernando in 1605. He was succeeded by Pedro in 1608, but Pedro died prematurely on 26 August of that year."

-- Teresian Carmel: Pages of History by Idelfonso Moriones, ocd