The Annunciation

Annunc.14th.centThe First and Indispensable School of Holy Preaching

Reading this sermon of Pope Saint Leo the Great, given for Matins of today’s feast in the monastic breviary, I am struck both by its poetic beauty and theological precision. The Fathers are, for all who are called to announce the Word of God in the midst of the Church, the first and indispensable school of holy preaching. While academic courses in homiletics may have their place in seminaries, and while certain technical skills must be acquired if one is to speak well, nothing, absolutely nothing can replace the familiarity with the Fathers that comes from reading them aloud day in and day out, as the Church does at Matins (Vigils), and from allowing their words to strike the ear of the heart.

When the time appointed for the redemption of mankind had come,
our Lord Jesus Christ entered this lower world,
descended from His heavenly throne, and,
without receding from the glory that He had with the Father,
took flesh by a new means, by a new birth:
invisible in His own nature,
He became visible in ours;
being incomprehensible,
He willed to be comprehended;
remaining before time began,
He began to exist in time;
the Lord of the universe veiled the glory of His majesty
and took the form of a servant;
impassible God
did not disdain to become a suffering man;
and immortal God
subjected Himself to the laws of death.

(Saint Leo the Great
Sermon at the Second Nocturn of Matins
Feast of the Annunciation)