Monday, April 12, 2010

The Holy Spirit and the Annunciation

I try to begin every day with a Bible reading.  After discovering a wonderful Bible study a few years ago called The Great Adventure, I finally began to grasp what Salvation History really means.  I realize now the critical importance of becoming more familiar with both the Old and New Testament.

Before I start my reading, I always pray to the Holy Spirit to help me know, understand and live the Word of God.  I am often amazed when the selection I'm reading brings me insight, inspiration.or understanding.

The Holy Spirit is probably the most difficult of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity to comprehend.  He is depicted as a dove (Matthew 3:16), as the wind (Acts 2:2), as a cloud (Mark 9:7) or as tongues of fire (Acts 2:3).  Since I am no theologian, I direct you to this link for a very thorough teaching on the Holy Spirit.  (I refer to the Holy Spirit as "He" although there is no gender associated with a being who is pure spirit.  It would definitely be a mistake to refer to the Holy Spirit as "she," as you'll see below.)

The most important role, in my mind at least, of the Holy Spirit is His presence in the First Joyful Mystery, The Annunciation.  He is revealed rather subtly in the opening words of this scene when the Angel Gabriel greets Mary with the words, "Hail, full of grace." (Luke 1:28)  Since the Holy Spirit is the Giver of Grace, He has prepared Mary from conception to be the Mother of God (CCC 721)  Then He "overshadows" Mary and the "Word is made flesh." (John 1:14). 

Stop for a moment and reflect upon this scene.  The Holy Spirit has become the Divine Spouse of the Blessed Virgin.  Clearly not a "she" then.  This union is not a sexual one, but a great mystery.  Another Catholic truth that shines forth here is Mary's perpetual virginity.  As the spouse of the Holy Spirit, she could never enter into an intimate relationship with a mere human.  One more point to ponder:  At the beginning of the scene, Mary is "full of grace".  At the end, the Holy Spirit, Giver of Grace, has overshadowed her and God Incarnate enters her womb.  Now, Mary is literally overflowing with grace

Since today is Monday, the traditional day to pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, take some time to reflect on the First Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation, and the role of the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother.

As we approach the day of Pentecost, the great feast of the Holy Spirit, make a resolution to learn more about this Third Person of the Holy Trinity.  The links in this post will lead to more information, or try these:
Catholic Culture article on the Holy Spirit and Mary  (Search the library of this excellent site for more articles)
EWTN article (Also, many more articles on this site)

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