03/25/2022 – Feast of the Annunciation
Today is the Feast of the Annunciation.
In this feast (and in the corresponding first decade of the Joyful Mysteries, indeed the very first decade of the rosary), we see, God through the Angel Gabriel, announcing to Mary that the time of redemption has arrived and is only awaiting her consent.
The Blessed Virgin, in giving her humble but whole hearted consent in her Fiat is overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceived the redeemer.
That is why this feast is also the Feast of the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Tradition has it that it is the date of the Crucifixion. For this reason, March 25th is the feast day of the Good Thief.
Pope Pius IX had a very special devotion to Our Lady, her rosary and its mysteries. It would seem that he deliberately chose the Church of St Mary Major in Rome and the feast of the Annunciation/incarnation, 175 years ago today, to issue an urgent encyclical letter to every diocese in the world informing the faithful of the suffering of the Irish people in the Great Famine.
He asked for three days of dedicated prayer for Ireland and continued prayer and the collection of alms to alleviate the suffering. Historians estimate that this letter yielded the equivalent of €450 million in aid and that it stimulated aid action from governments around the world. Only in heaven will we know what connection there was between this great outpouring of prayer for Ireland and the Blessed Virgins visitation in Knock 32 years later.