Lady Day

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,
concede, quaesumus,
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.”


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tom Esteban says:

    Father did you mean to say instead that the Annunciation heralded the Incarnation rather than the “Incarnation heralded the Incarnation”? I may be totally off but I can’t make heads or tails of it :-?

  2. Charles E Flynn says:

    Ladyday, Frodo Baggins and Happy New Year, by Fr. Dwight Longenecker.

  3. Joe in Canada says:

    I don’t have my liturgical calendar handy. Does this mean that this year Christmas will be on Dec. 26?

  4. pkinsale says:

    Not only were we not invited to kneel at the right time during the Credo, but I also wonder why many of the new Mass cards (we use the OSV version) do not mention that one is to bow at that point, or strike one’s breast during the right momoent at the Confiteor. Should they not include those directions, especially given how controlling the bishops are when it comes to liturgical publications?

  5. On the feast of the Annunciation, I have a prayer request. The state of Idaho has a bill in the state legislature that would require an ultrasound as a condition of informed consent to abortion. You may have read about the ultrasound demonstration at the Statehouse, which touched off a firestorm among the abortion forces. The ultrasound bill was passed by the senate, but is now stalled in committee in the house. Today is a decisive day for the survival of this bill. Please pray for the success of the bill and the utter defeat of the abortion lobby.

    Also the ACLU is planning a candlelight vigil at the Statehouse against the bill this evening. Please pray for rain.

  6. Rachel K says:

    What a lovely picture Fr Z! Is it the Burne Jones Annunciation from the Lady Lever Gallery near Liverpool? I think I have seen it there. If so, the irony is that Lord Leverhulme, who collected the art there, was a prominent Freemason. Still, God is not mocked and he is witnessed to through many means.

  7. Bob B. says:

    On Annunciation every year, I think of the Golden Legend regarding this day.

  8. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Fr Z suggests, “You might discuss their differences, their respective strengths.”
    The earlier has “Deus,[…] praesta […] ut, qui vere eam Genetricem Dei credimus,
    eius apud te intercessionibus adiuvemur.” A lovely, and not uncommon, example of a prayer to God (the Father) that he enable A to benefit by the intercessions of B. Presumably, this form (so to call it) was “pre-Pian” and not an innovation in the Roman Missal, but what is its history?
    Are there any good resources about this, handily online?

  9. catholicmidwest says:

    There is a new page on the USCCB site entitled “Vatican Approves English and Spanish Texts for ‘Blessing of a Child in the Womb’.” This is new.

    On this day every year, Lady Day, we should make it a practice in the USA to publicly bless these children who have been conceived and not yet born in Church. We need the reminders.

  10. catholicmidwest says:

    There is a new page on the USCCB site entitled “Vatican Approves English and Spanish Texts for ‘Blessing of a Child in the Womb’.” This is new.

    On this day every year, Lady Day, we should make it a practice in the USA to publicly bless in Church these children who have been conceived and not yet born. We need the reminders.

  11. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Z,
    By way of explanation for my last comment, we need visual reminders of our identity and beliefs. Just assuming that poeple “get” it isn’t enough. As Catholics in union with Rome, Scripture & tradition, we DO believe that children are children from the moment of conception, and we need reminders of this since the culture is so strong and aggressive and regularly makes the case otherwise without proof or reason.

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