Happy Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord! This feast commemorates the Angel Gabriel’s visit to the Virgin Mary in the privacy of her home in Nazareth. At the command of God the Father, Gabriel announced to Mary that she had been chosen to be the Mother of the long-awaited Messiah. She had only to accept God’s invitation, and the Incarnation of God would occur on earth. With her yes, her Fiat: “Let it be done to me according to thy will”, the Son of God assumed a human nature in her womb and our redemption became assured. Since then, Mary of Nazareth has been inseparably tied to the salvation of all humanity.
Traversing two millennia of Marian interventions on behalf of all God’s children, we come to our times. On this feast of the Annunciation in 1984, Pope St. John Paul II consecrated the world to Our Lady. Five years later, in 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and many millions of people, mostly Christian, were liberated from the slavery of atheistic Communism. On that same day in 1984, the feast of the Annunciation, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to 150 people in an obscure tropical farm called Betania of the Holy Waters, in Venezuela. She came from heaven under the title, "Mary, Virgin and Mother, Reconciler of All Peoples and Nations." These apparitions were approved by the local Bishop in consultation with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), in 1987. The principal visionary of the apparitions at Betania was the Servant of God Maria Esperanza, a Venezuelan wife, mother, mystic and missionary whose beatification cause was opened in 2010.
Maria Esperanza has prophesied that a new world of Divine Love is coming, and Our Lady is the herald of this new age of peace, love and justice. Our Lady also announced this promised reign of love at Fatima. As we pass through this trying time of a pandemic, it is vital to know that a new world awaits us on the other side of this Way of the Cross. For protection in these uncertain times, Maria Esperanza recommended that we recite Psalm 91 seven times a day, and before retiring each night the prayer of the Magnificat (LK 1:46-55). Take courage and be at peace my dear friends, the victory of love is coming!
May Our Lady of Betania protect you and your loved ones always!
Happy Feast Day,