The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
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.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
In Mary alone a Child waited not on nature but on her acceptance of the Divine will. All she had to say was Fiat, and she conceived. This is what all birth would have been without sin—a matter of human wills uniting themselves with the Divine will and, through the union of bodies, sharing in the creation of new life through the usual processes of human generation. The Virgin Birth is, therefore, synonymous with Birth in Freedom.
Mary!—we poor creatures of earth are stumbling over our freedoms, fumbling over our choices. Millions of us are seeking to give up their freedom—some by repudiating it, because of burden of their guilt—some, by surrendering it to the moods and fashions of the time—others, by absorption into Communism, where there is only one will, which is the dictator’s, and where the only love is hate and revolution!
We speak much of freedom today, Mary, because we are losing it—just as we speak most of health when we are sick. Thou art the Mistress of Freedom because thou didst undo the false freedoms that makes men slaves to their passions by pronouncing the word God Himself said when He made light and again when thy Son redeemed the world—Fiat! Or, be it done unto me according to God’s will. As the “no” of Eve proves that the creature was made by love, and is therefore free, so thy Fiat proves that the Creature was made for love as well. Teach us, then, that there is no freedom except in doing, out of love, what thou didst do in the Annunciation, namely, saying Yes to what Jesus asks.
(Fulton J. Sheen, The World’s First Love, p. 36-37)