OLPH Church
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite

 


The Annunciation

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The Incarnation, it has been rightly said, “was not only the work of the Father, of His Power and His Spirit, it was also the work of the will and the faith of the Virgin.” On the Feast of the Annunciation, therefore, the Church commemorates not only the divine initiative, but also the human response, whereby Mary freely accepted the vocation set before her. God always respects human liberty, so when He elected to become man, He desired to do so with the willing agreement of the woman He chose to be His mother. Mary's answer to the angel was not a foregone conclusion: she could have refused! She was not a passive instrument, but an active participant, with a free and positive part to play in God's scheme of salvation.

In the services of the Church, Mary's doubts are set forth with the utmost directness; we see her incredulity and her embarrassment. This is done to make it clear that she acted in full freedom. This feast is celebrated nine months before Christ's birth, December 25th.

About the Icon In the center of the icon, a scroll on a stand reminds us of the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah that a virgin shall bear a child. The Angel Gabriel (on the left) points to Mary, with his hand centered over the scroll, as fulfillment of that prophecy. Mary, on the right, holds a spool of woolen yarn: as the sheep give their wool to clothe us, so she will give her flesh and blood to clothe the Son of God in a garment of humanity.