Today's feast commemorates how God made known to a young Jewish woman that she was to be the mother of his Son, and how Mary accepted her vocation with perfect conformity of will. It has been said, "God made us without us, and redeemed us without us, but cannot save us without us." Mary's assent to Gabriel's message opened the way for God to accomplish the salvation of the world. It is for this reason that all generations are to call her "blessed."
Innumerable writings, sermons, poems, and Christian art in both East and West have been composed about the Annunciation. The term coined by Cyril of Jerusalem for the Blessed Virgin, Theotokos, ("God-bearer"), was affirmed by the General Council of Ephesus in 451 A.D.
Mary's self-offering in response to God's call has been compared to that of Abraham, the father of believers. Just as Abraham was called to be the father of the chosen people, and accepted God's call, so Mary was called to be the mother of the faithful, the new Israel. She is God's human agent in the mystery of the Incarnation. Her response to the angel, "Let it be to me according to your word," is identical to the faith expressed in the words Jesus taught us to pray, "Your will be done on earth as in heaven."
Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have know the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen