Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women…and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus (Lk 1:26-28, 31).
My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation (ibid, 46-50).
Rejoice, through whom is the joy to shine forth. Rejoice, through whom is the curse to vanish…Rejoice, restoration of Adam the fallen one. Rejoice, liberation of Eve from tears. Rejoice, through whom is creation recreated. Rejoice, by whom is the Creator procreated. Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!
Today is the summary of our salvation, and the revelation of the age-old mystery. For the Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel announces the good news of grace. Therefore, let us join him, and cry aloud to the Theotokos: "Rejoice, Maiden full of grace! The Lord is with you." (Festal Apolytikion)
The age-old mystery is revealed today, and the Son of God becomes the Son of man, so that by partaking of what is lower He may impart to me what is superior. Of old, Adam was deceived; and he did not become God, though this was his desire. But now, God becomes man, to make Adam god. Let creation sing for joy, and let nature be exultant. For the Archangel is standing with awe before the Virgin and is delivering the salutation, "Rejoice," the reverse of the pain and sorrow. O our God, who in Your tender mercy became man, glory to You! (Doxastikon of Festal Matins)
A graduate of Long Island University, College of Pharmacy, and Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, John works to share the richness and beauty of the Orthodox Faith with the wider community.
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