The Annunciation

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On 25 March, nine months prior to the Birth of our Lord the Church celebrates the Annunciation to Our Lady. This feast is celebrated in both the East and West. The feast celebrates the events described in Luke 1:30-35.

“The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

The announcement by the angel fulfilled a prophecy revealed in the book of Isaiah.

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

The feast holds great significance in the Syriac Churches and the Syriac fathers often taught about events through a literary technique called the dispute dialogue. They would select a certain scene from the Gospel and expand on it creating a dialogue between two characters. One remaining dialogue expands on the Annunciation and captures a conversation between Mary and the Angel. There are about 40 of these poems in existence and they are worthwhile reviving for modern catechetical use. This literary device originated in Mesopotamia and was widely adapted by the Syriac Fathers.

The dialogue poem between Mary and the Angel explores the conflict between reason and faith. It explores the initial hesitation that Mary must have felt when she received the astounding words of the Angel. However, it is when the Angel mentions the coming of the Holy Spirit, that Mary accepts that this is indeed a message from God and her faith leads her to believe.

God purposely chose a young humble girl and in the poem we learn why: (stanzas 40-43)

“Angel: Your womb will be filled with sanctity sealed with the hidden divinity: a place that is holy is greatly beloved by God as a place where to appear.

Mary: Angel, reveal to me why it has pleased your Lord to dwell in a mere poor girl: the world is full of king’s daughters, so why does he want me, who am totally destitute?

Angel: It would have been easy for him to dwell in a rich girl, but it is with your poverty that he has fallen in love, so that he may become one with the poor and enrich them when he has been revealed.”

You can read more dialogue poems and the full text of the Annunciation dialogue poem at this link:

https://archive.org/…/Brock,%20Sogiatha,%20Syriac%20Dialogu…


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