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From Crib to Cross

The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

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By Dan Valenti (Sep 19, 2014)
First of a 20-part series on the Mysteries of the Rosary. Next week: The Visitation.

Of all the children of Adam, God granted to one alone the exalted privilege of being conceived without sin. The question can be asked: Why was Mary alone exempt from the sinful condition to which every other human being before and since has been subjected? Why did God keep His Mother free from original sin?

"It means that since the moment of her conception, Our Lady was not only free from sin, but more important, she was full of grace," says Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC. Mary was not freed from sin like the rest of us. Rather, God in his great wisdom preserved her from sin in the first place.

Father Seraphim says the significance of this can be found in the first of the Rosary's Joyful Mysteries. At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel first addresses Mary as "full of grace." Since she was to be the Mother of God, she would be raised — exalted — above all other creatures.

Father Larry Dunn, MIC, focuses on the closing words of the Annunciation Gospel: "With that, the angel left her" (Lk 1:38). "With these words," Fr. Larry says, the scene of the Annunciation ends. "However, I wonder if there wasn't something that Our Lady, in her humility, left out. After all, she is the only witness to this miraculous scene."

What did the Archangel Gabriel do the moment that Mary made her consent to be the Mother of God, Fr. Larry asks.

"In that instance," he says, "God's Son was conceived within her, and she became a living tabernacle. It seems to me that Gabriel, realizing this, would have prostrated himself in admiration, not before Our Blessed Mother but before the Son she conceived in the tabernacle of her womb."

Father Larry continues: "Remember the story of Fatima? An angel appeared before the children to prepare them for the appearance of the Blessed Mother. At one time, he elevated a host, prostrated himself, and sang God's praises. Why wouldn't Gabriel do this at the Annunciation?

"The Israelites had been waiting for thousands of years for this moment, and when it occurred it was a quiet moment. There were no flags waving, no trumpets blaring, and no choir of angels singing. There was just a teenage girl from an insignificant town who changed the entire history of the world by surrendering to the will of God."

As St. Albert the Great, teacher of St. Thomas, wrote about the Annunciation: "To be the Mother of God is the highest dignity after that of being God."

Joyful Mysteries
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding in the Temple

Luminous Mysteries
1. The Baptism of Jesus
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Gospel
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist

Sorrowful Mysteries
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus

Glorious Mysteries
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation

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Reva - May 17, 2015

I love to meditate on the mysteries.. and put myself in the event. One such time when I was with Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and the Shepards in the manger, I wondered about Our Lord's birth and it was revealed that Mary was surrounded by light and a 'ball' of light came forth from her body and the next thing (I apologize if I use improper words) Baby Jesus was in the crib. Filled me with awe and joy!

Terry - Oct 7, 2014

If you read the book "The Life of Mary As Seen Through the Eyes of the Mystics" it was revealed that Mary did not experience a "normal" human birth. Rather she was caught up in an ecstasy of pure light and holiness. When it was over, the baby Jesus was there.

JR - Oct 3, 2014

Oh if the birth was a normal one?
And it was not the last question..
Yes absolutely without a doubt!
Since the birth of Jesus and through out his life simplicity and humility were his greatest attributes.God is a God of simplicity.. We are the complicated ones
And I humbly say this.

JR - Oct 3, 2014

Our Mother did not experienced labor pains at all! She was conceived without the original sin!I doubt her body changed at for she remains immaculate! St. Joseph
Was there to assist her, ofcourse why woundn't he.I forgot what the last question was.. for this im sorry.

Maria - Oct 1, 2014

Did the Blessed Virgin Mary experience labor pains before Jesus was born? Did her body change as every woman's ? If the birth was a normal one, who helped her deliver the Infant Jesus?