Because yesterday was a Sunday of Lent, indeed 1st Passion Sunday, the Feast of the Incarnation, the moment of the Annunciation is observed today. Therefore, in the Ordinary form, today is one of only two days of the year when everyone kneels at the words in the Creed… et incarnatus est de Spiritu Santo ex Maria virgine et homo factus est.
The Incarnation heralded the Incarnation, that moment when our Lord elevated our humanity by taking our human nature into an indestructible bond with His Divinity. In the Incarnation God opened for us the path to “divinization”, His sharing of something of His own divine glory with us in the eternal happiness of heaven.
In the sin of our First Parents, offending God and loosing so many of our gifts, the whole human race sinned. In justice a human being had to correct the offense, but such a correction was entirely impossible for a mere mortal human. Such a correction required the intervention of one who was both man and God.
In the Incarnation, the Word made flesh, made man, made Jesus the Lord and Savior, not only begins to save us from our sins in His earthly ministry, but begins also the mysterious revelation of man more fully to himself (cf. GS 22).
Part of the Lord’s mission was also to teach man more fully who He is in the beauty of His own Person. However, He did not begin to do this only from the beginning of His public ministry. He began this from the very moment of the Incarnation.
From the instant of His conception, the Word made flesh begins to teach man more fully who man is.
Light from Light sheds light on the dignity of man, God’s image, from the instant of conception, from man’s humblest beginning.
Here are the Collects for this beautiful Feast of the Annunciation, Lady Day. Here are the “Opening Prayers” from both the older, traditional, extraordinary form of the Roman Rite and the newer, post-Conciliar, ordinary form.
You might discuss their differences, their respective strengths.
Deus, qui de beatae Mariae Virginis utero Verbum tuum,
Angelo nuntiante, carnem suscipere voluisti:
praesta supplicibus tuis;
ut, qui vere eam Genetricem Dei credimus,
eius apud te intercessionibus adiuvemur.
O God, who desired Your Word to take flesh from the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary
the angel announcing it:
grant to your supplicants;
that we who believe truly in the Mother of God,
may be helped in Your sight by her intercessions.
Deus, qui Verbum tuum in utero Virginis Mariae
veritatem carnis humanae suscipere voluisti,
ut, qui Redemptorem nostrum
Deum et hominem confitemur,
ipsius etiam divinae naturae mereamur esse consortes.
O God, who wanted Your Word to take up
the truth of human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
grant, we beseech,
that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man,
may also merit to be the sharers of His divine nature.
This is of new composition, though there is a reference here to Letter 123 Ad Eudociam Augustam – “De monachis Palaestinis” of St. Pope Leo I, “the Great” (+461).
“Fides enim catholica sicut damnat Nestorum, qui in uno domino nostro Iesu Christo duas ausus est praedicare personas, ita damnat etiam Eutychen cum Dioscoro, qui ab unigenito Deo Verbo negant in utero Virginis matris veritatem carnis humanae susceptam.”