nicholas_cabasilasWith a blessed tongue, an unperturbed soul, and thoughts full of tranquillity she said: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

These were the words that she said, and they were fulfilled at once: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

And, after giving her reply to God, she received the Spirit that created from her that flesh which was one with God.

Her voice was a “mighty voice,” as David puts it (Psalm 67:34 [LXX]) and the Word of the Father isformed by the word of a mother, and the Creator is created by the voice of a creature.

And just as when God said, “Let there be light,” “at once there was light” (Genesis 1:3), so, as soon as the Virgin spoke, the true Light dawned; and He Who “lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9) was joined to the flesh and carried in the womb.

O sacred voice! O words of great power! O blessed tongue, which restored the entire inhabited earth in one fell swoop! O treasury of a heart which, by a few words, poured out upon us an abundance of good things!

These words made the earth Heaven, emptied Hades of its prisoners, caused Heaven to be inhabited by men, joined Angels with men, and formed the Heavenly and earthly races into a single chorus around Him who is both, being God but becoming man.

What gratitude could we express to you for these words? What should we call you, of whom nothing human is worthy? Our words derive from existing things, whereas you surpass the whole world beyond every sublimity.

If words are to be offered to you, this, I ween, is a task for Angels, for a Cherubic mind, for a fiery tongue. Hence, having mentioned, as far as we are able, those things which redound to your praise, and having chanted hymns to you, our salvation, to the best of our ability, we ask next for an Angelic voice.

We will conclude with the salutation of Gabriel, adorning the sum of our oration with this additament: “Rejoice, thou who art full of Grace, the Lord is with thee” (Luke 1:28).

May you prepare us to make a habitation for Him within ourselves, for this is conducive to His glory and to the laudation of you who gave birth to Him, when we not only talk about it, but also put it into practice, for unto Him belongs glory unto the ages. Amen.

Nicholas Cabasilas (1319/1323–after 1391): On the Occasion of the Feast of the Annunciation, 9-10, Translated from the Greek text in “Homélies Mariales Byzantines (II),” ed. M. Jugie, in Patrologia Orientalis, Vol. XIX, pp. 484-495@ Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Greece.

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