"Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection." This is the Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Advent and the final prayer in the Angelus, a prayer prayed by many Catholics one or three times a day at 6 a.m, noon, and 6 p.m (The Angelus).
The Angelus and the fourth Sunday of Advent recall for us the events of the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel coming to the Blessed Virgin and telling her that she will become the Mother of God. We have been told all throughout Advent that we need to prepare, to make ready for the coming of the Lord but we are not sure when or how he is to come. The fourth Sunday of Advent gives us the answer, the Lord comes in the most unexpected of ways in the most unexpected places: The heir of David shouldn't be born in a manger to an unwed mother, he should come with all the pomp and circumstance befitting a royal ruler.
As we reflect on the Annunciation, both on the fourth Sunday of Advent, and every time the Angelus is prayed, we remember that it is just the start of the story of our redemption. The story will find its fulfillment when we are "brought to the glory of his Resurrection", but on this Sunday of Advent it is important to remember that it all started with a message, given by an Angel, and by a young woman saying "be done unto me according to your Word."
If you do not already pray the Angelus, consider starting. Take just a moment at noon to pray the words of Mary and the Angel and to reflect on the wonderful love of God that caused Him to send His Son into the world in the most unexpected of ways.