Father Stefan reflects on the Annunciation of the Lord

We read in the Gospel, “But Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?’ And the angel said to her in reply, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”

The Holy Spirit made the womb of Mary fertile. It was the Holy Spirit that created the life within Mary.

At baptism the priest or deacon says these words of blessing over the water, “We ask you, Father, with your son to send the Holy Spirit upon the water of this font. May all who are buried with Christ in the death of baptism rise also with him to newness of life. We ask this through Christ our Lord.” It is the Holy Spirit that gives new life to the water of baptism. 

Before the priests prays the word of consecration he asks the Holy Spirit to descend on the bread and wine. The priest prays, “You are indeed Holy, O Lord. the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Holy Spirit is asked to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. The priest also asks the Holy Spirit to descend on the People of God and to change us into the Body of Christ. The priest prays also, “Humbly we pray that partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we may be gathered onto one by the Holy Spirit. Raniero Cantalamessa writes in his book, ‘This is my Body’ “Initially, this way a common conviction, both of the Latins as well as the Greek Fathers. This affirmation of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem ‘it is the Holy Spirit who makes the body of Christ and the wine the his blood’ is echoed in the west by Saint Augustine: ‘The visible gifts brought by the hands of man are sanctified to become this great sacrament by the operation of the Spirit of God”

Today let us hear these words of the angel addressed to us, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”

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