St. John Paul II on the Annunciation


Annunciation, Fra Angelico

“Hail [Mary] full of grace!” (Luke 1:28). The later words “The Lord is with you! Blessed are you among women” refer to the same thing. The mystery of this choice, in which God remains free and at the same sense–a very real sense–he waits to be chosen himself . Because freedom is an essential prerequisite for loving God and giving oneself to God, the Virgin replies fully in harmony with her inner truth. Mary’s inner truth  was this: she had already made an unconditional choice and bestowed herself completely on the one and only divine spouse. That is why she was able to say: “How can this come about, since I know no man?” (Luke 1:34), and she said it immediately when she heard the angel announce that she would conceive and give birth to the Son. For motherhood entails “knowing a man,” and this is in direct contrast with her choice. When Mary asks her question, she is not contesting the divine plan: she is simply remarking that motherhood “according to the flesh” is difficult to reconcile with the choice she had made “according to the spirit.”

St. John Paul II, Sign of Contradiction


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