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quod pro nobis traditum est

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Annunciation

"That which is truly great grows unnoticed, and silence at the right moment is more fruitful than the constant activity that only too easily degenerates into spiritual idleness. In the present age, we are all possessed by a strange restlessness that suspects any silence of being a waste of time and any kind of repose as being negligence. We forget the real mystery of time, the real mystery present in growth and activity. That mystery involves silence and stillness. Even in the religious sphere we tend to expect and hope for everything from our own activity. We use all kinds of exercises and involvements to evade the real mystery of interior growth before God. And yet in the religious sphere receptivity is at least as important as activity. The mystery of the Annunciation to Mary is not only a mystery of silence; it is also, and even more, a mystery of grace. We must ask ourselves: What, is the real reason why Christ decided to be born of a Virgin? . . . Salvation comes not from human beings and their own powers but solely from God and his gracious action. God intervenes where there is a human vacuum; he starts at the point at which, from the human point of view, nothing can be done. He gives life to the bearer of the promise in the dead womb of Sarah, and follows the same pattern through history down to the Lord's birth from the Virgin . . . The salvation of the world is exclusively God's doing and therefore occurs in the midst of human weakness and powerlessness. From the viewpoint of the Bible the Virgin birth is in the last analysis a sign that what occurs is a pure act of grace on God's part."
(Benedictus, "The Annunciation to a Virgin," p. 100)

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