The Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord was marked by three significant acts during a televised Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, at Our Lady’s Chapel at Assumption Seminary March 25, demonstrating a disposition to do the will of God and being open to His mystery.
During this liturgy the archbishop signed a revised Proclamation of the Pastoral Vision of the archdiocese, awaiting the fruits of the Synodal process.
He also prayed for the protection of all life from conception through natural death. “The Annunciation is the event of the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb and thus is a very appropriate time for such prayer,” said Archbishop Gustavo.
Additionally, he joined Pope Francis in praying for the consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and asked all pastors to join with the Holy Father in the prayer of consecration at any time convenient for them and their people.
Explaining the significance of the Annunication of the Lord, the archbishop described how the Word of God — God Himself — through whom all things came to be, became man and made his dwelling among us through the “handmaid of the Lord.” And we know where, when and how this happened: in Nazareth, 20 centuries ago. “The whole Christ — who is the only mediator between God and the human race — truly, really, and substantially continues to make himself present for us through the Church. That is precisely what happens through Synodality. We are barely able to understand how we cannot understand,” exclaimed Archbishop Gustavo. “How immensely unfathomable is this mystery! Such is the measure of the good news of God’s love for us! ‘Hail, full of grace!’”
The archbishop acknowledged that sometimes we are tempted to impose external acts of penance on ourselves as payment to God in exchange for certain favors or — at best — for favors received. But our relationship with God is not based on trade. “Purely external acts are not truly relational. They are acts of our will that spring from the illusion that we are capable of reaching God. External sacrifices and burnt offerings do not erase sins,” he stressed. “We have come back to life because He came to meet our death. It is through our disposition to do the will of the Father how we are sanctified. And those He sanctifies become mediators for the sanctification of others.”
The Missionary of the Holy Spirit highlighted how Mary was never tainted by sin and therefore needed no conversion of heart. However, by the work of the Holy Spirit she became the Mother of God. “She offered her life as a blank page to the Lord at the moment of the Annunciation and every day. God himself would be the author of her whole life. By her example, the Lord invites us to surrender our will to God’s, offering him in sacrifice everything which makes us feel safe in this life,” he told listeners. “We imagine many things in the script of our future. We can try to force the plot or we can let the Holy Spirit guide the pen. Let God’s plan truly be our plan.”
The San Antonio prelate said our faith should be the source of our security, leading us to ask God: “How can this be, if I cannot make it happen?” He replied, “Let God undo our projects for us to carry out his work in us and through us. God asks us for a true sacrifice, that we abandon of our whole being — including our understanding and our will — into his Mystery and his will: ‘Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.’ That is what Mary did: ‘May it be done to me according to your word.’”
John 1:4-5 states that, “What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
“Through the tender encounter between God and Mary — mediated by the angel — God communicated his own life to her and to the world,” Archbishop Gustavo concluded. “To use the beautiful language of Pope Francis, by starting the revolution of tenderness, God founded the culture of encounter, which conceives the culture of life.”