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Tomorrow, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lady's Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and declared the coming of the Messiah.
In tonight's In-Depth Report, Church Militant's Nick Wylie discusses the Incarnation and Mary's role in our lives.
Fr. Edward Looney, diocese of Green Bay, Wis.: "If the Annunciation teaches us anything, it's probably that we respond to that movement of God in our life just as Mary is responding to what the angel is saying."
On March 25, the Church honors the visit of the archangel Gabriel to Our Lady, exactly nine months before we celebrate the birth of Our Lord.
Venerable Mary of Ágreda, in her work The Mystical City of God, recounts the events — as revealed to her — that brought about the Incarnation.
Looney: "Mary kind of had this premonition, in a sense, that something was going to happen. So God prepared her nine days beforehand to receive this news of the announcement of the angel."
Mary, being a good daughter of Israel, would have known about the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah and prayed for His arrival.
Looney: "The angel makes that announcement that we know so familiar. But I think what's very interesting is that Maria of Ágreda says, as is revealed to her, that this took place at 6 p.m. in the evening. And we know that we pray the Angelus at 6 p.m."
In Mary's Annunciation account, multiple Old Testament parallels can be drawn as the fulfillment of the prophecy is announced.
When Zephaniah says "the Lord is in your midst," he was talking about the Ark of the Covenant and the Ark of the Covenant containing the presence of God. And so now you have Mary, who "the Lord is in your midst," that now she is the new Ark of the Covenant.
The Annunciation indicates Mary is the new Eve, while Jesus is the new Adam, bringing redemption to the world for the sins of our first parents.
Looney: "It seems that Jesus Himself, as one of the last things He said, wanted Mary to be our companion throughout our life, not just to be a companion but to be our intercessor, to be our mother."
All the Church's saints have had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and many have promoted seeking Jesus' favor through her.
Fulton Sheen, he always said that he hoped that at the end of his life, that when he would get to the gates of Heaven, Jesus would just say, "Come on in. My mother has told me all about you." And that's the beauty of Marian devotion, is that she's always whispering our name in her Son's ear.
Just as Mary brought Jesus physically into the world in the first century, she continues to bring Jesus to those devoted to her, even now, through her powerful intercession.
Click here to watch our full interview with Fr. Edward Looney about all things Mary.