Today's the great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. (What a fabulous title!) It's the day of the "Behold the handmaid of the Lord" (Ecce ancilla Domini), but also the dawn of the "Behold the Man" ("Ecce Homo"), because it is the day the eternal Word took on the human nature he retains forever.
One person who doesn't get a lot of attention today, but who really deserves it, is St. Joseph. Even though "the Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary," and it was she who "conceived of the Holy Spirit," Joseph's life was also being changed forever by what happened--only he didn't find out about it right away.
That happens with us, too, doesn't it? Something done by someone else, in another place, may have a profound and lasting impact on us, but we may not come to know about it. We go on, day by day, unaware that things are no longer what we thought they were. All along, something new had entered in. Most frequently and most significantly on this earth, this is the experience of fathers--which makes today's feast particularly suitable for praying for the fathers of newly-conceived children.
Today is also the day of my annual "Angelus Project" campaign to promote the praying of the Angelus three times a day as the Catholic "call to prayer." Just this week I read yet another study* showing how far American Catholics are from a deep understanding of what the Church teaches, and how it is based on Divine Revelation. If we could restore the practice of the Angelus, three times a day remembering the core of our faith and three times a day taking Mary's response as our own, I think we could transform the face of Catholicism.
*Later in the day...
See here for an interesting peek inside the agenda-driven funding for that "study." A bit of a relief to realize that it wasn't a genuine study after all.