This year, the Solemnity of the Annunciation is transferred to Monday 8 April, after the Easter Octave.

Today we have the first of the Servant Songs of Isaiah, and here is part of it: ‘Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law’.

St Athanasius wrote in his ‘Life of Antony’: ‘It is possible, with the help of God, easily to distinguish the presence of the good and the bad; a vision of the holy ones is not agitated. “He shall not protest and cry out; none will hear his voice.” It occurs so quietly and gently that joy and gladness and confidence are at once born in the soul.… The soul’s thoughts remain untroubled and calm, so that, enlightened of itself, it contemplates those who appear.”’.

Joy and gladness in God’s presence move now towards the pain of the Crucifixion; both are held together in love. ‘God so loved the world, that He have His only begotten Son …’. May we give love in return for love and may God bless you this day.