The Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessèd Virgin Mary

25 March -- Principal Feast -- White or Gold

The story of the announcement of the coming of God made flesh in the person of his Son, Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One, is heard in today's proclamation of the good news from the gospel of Luke. The feast marks the conception of Christ in the womb of Mary and has been celebrated in the Church at least since the late fourth century. The perfect humanity and the complete divinity of Jesus is affirmed, following the controversies around those orthodox assertions, which themselves led to the acknowledgement of Mary as Theotokos, God-bearer, which in the West became translated as Mother of God. The celebration thus took on strong associations with the person of Mary, and became known in England as Lady Day. In recent years, the Church has re-affirmed the day as a Feast of our Lord, on which his virgin- mother has a unique place of honour and veneration.

Collect

We beseech you, O Lord,
pour your grace into our hearts,
that as we have known the incarnation
   of your Son Jesus Christ
by the message of an angel,
so by his cross and passion
we may be brought to the glory of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the prophecy of Isaiah.

The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying: Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

This is the word of the Lord.         Isaiah 7. 10-14a

Responsorial Psalm

RWe have come to do your will, O God,
[for it is by your will that we are sanctified].
Great things are they that you have done, O Lord my God;
how great your wonders and your plans for us,
there is none who can be compared with you. R

O that I could make them known and tell them
but they are more than I can count.
In sacrifice and offering you take no pleasure;
you have given me ears to hear you. R

Burnt-offering and sin-offering you have not required,
and so I said: Behold, I come.
In the roll of the book it is written concerning me:
"I love to do your will, O my God;
your law is deep in my heart." R

I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation;
behold, I did not restrain my lips;
and that, O Lord, you know. R         From Psalm 40

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, 'See, God, I have come to do your will, O God' (in the scroll of the book it is written of me)." When he said, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), then he added, "See, I have come to do your will." He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God's will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

This is the word of the Lord.         Hebrews 10. 4-10

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

This is the gospel of Christ.         Luke 1. 26-38

Post Communion

God Most High,
whose handmaid bore the Word made flesh:
we thank you that in this sacrament of our redemption
you visit us with your Holy Spirit
and overshadow us by your power;
strengthen us to walk with Mary the joyful path of obedience
and so to bring forth the fruits of holiness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.