Happy Feast of the Annunciation!
March 25, 2009 § 2 Comments
Existing before time began, He began to exist at a moment in time. – St. Leo the Great
The above, taken from the Office of Readings for the Feast of the Annunciation, utterly blew me away. I’ve been reading a lot of Aristotle lately, and, in particular, his discussions regarding the nature of time. Quite honestly, I never gave time much thought in the past, but in my review have realized the importance of the topic. And now, time offers even more fruit in meditation!
Time is in essence a limitation, a limitation to which created physical bodies alone are subject. God is outside of time: His viewpoint has been described before as that of someone looking down on the timeline. He sees eternity laid out before Him in entirety, all at once.
It is fascinating to realize that Christ, while accepting the humbling limitations of a human nature and a human physical body, was at the same time accepting the humbling limitation of time. Suddenly He became a part of our timeline, and in the process revolutionized it when we began to count the years in reference to His coming. Before Christ. Anno Domini.
On to another, apparently unrelated quote, again religious in nature.
Anyone who wishes to give love must also receive love as a gift. Certainly as the Lord tells us, one can become a source from which rivers of living water flow (cf. Jn 7:37-38). Yet to become such a source, one must constantly drink anew from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God (cf. Jn 19:34). – Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est
Beautiful words from the Holy Father. How can we, limited human agents that we are, even presume to be able to give love from ourselves? We will only be frustrated if we try to search within ourselves for a source of love; on their own, our hearts are dry and empty like a piece of pumice. Our hearts are muscles, pumping blood mechanically. They are nothing more than atoms and molecules. And how could atoms and molecules be capable of love in the sense that we use the word? It is impossible.
But all things are possible with Christ Who is Love. Any and every form of love – even when mixed with impurities as it is bound to be in human nature – is derived from the Ultimate Source in Him. To be able to love more, we must “drink from the original source…from [His] pierced heart.” Love Christ. Embrace His cross, and in it your own cross and all your sufferings. Pray hard. Partake of the Sacraments. Take Him into your very heart and home in the Eucharist. Then, and only then, will you be able to really love.
How are these two quotes related, then, to the Feast of the Annunciation that we celebrate today? The angel Gabriel asked Mary if she would accept the will of God in her life and be the Mother of our Savior, Love itself. She accepted Love into her womb. She accepted Him into her heart as we do when we receive the Eucharist, and she became the wellspring of Love to humanity when Christ humbled himself to the limitations of human nature, the human body, and time and Mary gave Him to the world. If we accept Christ, Love itself, in our lives then we will also – in a very small way compared to Our Lady – be able to deliver Christ the Redeemer to the world.