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First Joyful Mystery—The Annunciation

By: Allison Gingras on January 16th, 2023

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First Joyful Mystery—The Annunciation

Annunciation  |  Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary  |  pray the rosary

"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God."  

An interesting choice of words from the archangel Gabriel, this "favor with God." When I first read this, I questioned if Gabriel and I shared the same definition and understanding of "favor," as it turns out, we don't. This favor is not partiality, benefit, or worldly; instead, it is quite heavenly. Favor with God, of which Gabriel speaks, refers to the privilege of sharing in the Divine life of God—of accepting, receiving, and cooperating with grace. Mary, full of grace, models how your life can be a rollercoaster, but your faith, hope, and love can remain steadfast. 

In the first Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation, we hear this profound statement spoken to the Blessed Virgin Mary, along with the astounding news that God has chosen her to bear His beloved Son. Although I try to place myself in that room, hearing those words, I cannot fathom the depth of Mary's emotions at that moment, that unique experience, the singular grace that Mary alone has been blessed to experience.  

Mary's questioning was brief, and not about what God can or cannot do (unlike Zechariah) but instead concerned with how this conception was to happen. Gabriel assured her with a simple, yet again profound statement from the angel, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God"(Luke 1:35). With Mary's response, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word," she modeled for us how one can accept the will of God, with incredible peace and faith.  

This 'favor' found with Mary becomes increasingly harder to imagine as the rest of the story of Mary's life with Jesus unfolds — in what we, who are not full of grace, might see as a complete unraveling of God's favor or blessings. Mary is the ultimate model of a life of devotion, of absolute faith, hope, and love in our God. Nowhere in scripture or tradition do we witness the Blessed Mother's faith unravel or weaken regardless of the trial or uncertainty of God's plan.     

These are a few of the events and situations at that time in Mary's life that most would not imagine befalling someone expecting the Son of God:  

  • I would not have expected to travel immediately to assist a pregnant kinswoman right after finding out I was giving birth, especially if that baby was the Messiah!  
  • I would have expected to have the baby at home with my beloved mother, Ann, along with kin from Nazareth, not in a barn all the way in Bethlehem, alone with my husband's assistance and a manger menagerie.  
  • After my Son's unexpected birth in a stable I would have expected to return to my home in Nazareth, again to the comfort of my home, family, and community to help me raise my newborn Son.  
  • I would have never expected an urgent, frightening escape from a maniacal king, sending my sweet family from Bethlehem into Egypt.   

Life is filled with the unexpected; how we respond reveals our faith and willingness to allow the grace of God to move within us. Grace is a gift best utilized when we ask, accept, and cooperate with it. Mary's fiat at the Annunciation serves as the embodiment of what grace can do.  The word “fiat” translates to “let it be done” in Latin; Mary's fiat was an acceptance of and consent to God's will for her life. 

In the end, it is irrefutable (to me, at least) that Mary has indeed found favor with God. This grace may not align with our thoughts and understanding of 'favor.' Still, I continue, like her, to ponder all these things in my heart, praying that I will never lose my faith, hope, and love in the Lord, and always be ready with Mary's glorious response to God's call, "Let it be to me according to your word." 

Click here to learn how to pray the Rosary. 

About Allison Gingras

Allison Gingras ( ReconciledToYou.com) considers herself a new media evangelist. Authoring The Handy Little Guide to Novenas (OSV), Encountering Signs of Faith (Ave Maria Press) and the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (Our Sunday Visitor), which includes a new title in 2025, Jesus Heals. Allison is a Digital Content and Social Media Specialist for Family Rosary, Catholic Mom, and the Fall River Diocese.