During Her first year in the house of Joseph, about six months after the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to Zachariah (see Luke 1:8-25), as the birth of the prophet John the Baptist was approaching, the Angel was sent by God into the town of Nazareth to the Holy Virgin with the joyous news that the Lord had chosen Her to become the Mother of the Savior of the world.
Angel, having appeared, told Her,
O Blessed One! (Literally, "filled with grace") The Lord is with
You! Blessed art Thou amongst
women." Mary was puzzled by the words of the Angel and
unsure what this greeting was supposed to mean. The Angel continued
by saying to Her: "Fear
not, Mary, for You have found favor with God. And therefore, You will bear a Son and
shall name Him Jesus. He shall be great
and shall be known as the Son of the Most-high, and to His Kingdom there
shall be no end." Still puzzled,
Mary asked the Angel: "How can that
be, since I know not a man?" The Angel replied that this would be
accomplished by the power of the omnipotent God: "The Holy Spirit shall
come upon Thee, and the power of the Most-high shall overshadow Thee;
therefore, accordingly, that Holy One which shall be born of Thee
shall be called the Son of God. Your relative, Elizabeth, not having
had any offspring till her very old age, shall soon give birth to a son;
for with God nothing shall be impossible." Then Mary humbly answered, ”Behold the handmaid of the
Lord; be it unto me according to thy word" (Luke -38).
After this reply the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary, and She conceived the Word of God.
Thus, in the most modest circumstances happened the greatest miracle in the life of mankind!
Here the Infinite joined the finite; the Light, unapproachable to Angels,
descended into the Virgin's womb!
In discussing this Angelic appearance, the Fathers of the Church underline the wisdom of the young Mary. She was careful not to accept Gabriel's message in haste, remembering what happened to Eve when she believed the serpent. Although God decided to make the Virgin Mary the Mother of the Savior, He wanted Her voluntary consent because He never overpowers or disregards the gift of free will that He gave us.
March 25th Troparion (Tone 4)
Today is the beginning of our salvation, the revelation of the eternal mystery! The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin as Gabriel announces the coming of Grace. Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos: "Rejoice, O full of grace. The Lord is with you!"