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Zaccaria e Maria: incredulità e fede 

14. “Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this happen since I do not know man?’” (Luke 1:34). Here, if you do not pay careful attention, Mary might seem to be lacking in faith; yet it is unseemly that the one chosen to give birth to the only-begotten Son of God should seem to be lacking in faith. But how could this happen? 

It is understood, of course, that the mother has a right to be more fully informed. Yet the greater her privilege, the greater ought to be the faith reserved to her. How then could it happen that Zacchary, who had not believed, should be condemned to speechlessness, but Mary, if it be true that she did not believe, should be exalted by the infusion of the Holy Spirit? But it was not fitting that Mary should express unbelief, or that she should be rashly presumptuous: that she should distrust the angel’s message, or presume for herself divine things. It was not easy to learn “the mystery hidden from eternity in God” (Eph. 3:9) (Col. 1:26), a mystery which not even the angels could know. And yet Mary did not refuse her assent nor reject her duty, but she conformed her will and promised obedience. Even when she says, “How will this happen?” she does not doubt concerning the result, but merely questions the manner of accomplishing the result. 

15. How much more moderate is that reply than are the words of the priest Zacchary! Mary says, “How shall this happen?” Zacchary replied, “How shall I know this?” Mary is already busying herself with the role entrusted to her, whereas Zacchary is still in doubt concerning the truth of the message. He who says that he doesn’t understand is actually saying that he does not believe, and he is still asking for another authority on which to rest his belief. She avows that she is ready for the accomplishment of the work and does not doubt that it will take place, since she asks how it shall be done. For you have the words, “How can this happen, since I do not know man?” Before she can believe in giving birth in such an incredible and unheard of manner, Mary must first hear about it. That a virgin should bear a child is a mark of a mystery that is divine, not human. Then too the prophet says, “Receive this sign: behold a virgin shall conceive in her womb and shall bear a son” (Isa. 7:14). Mary had read this, she also believed in its accomplishment; but she had not read how it would be accomplished, for the way in which it would come about had not been revealed even to so great a prophet. For such a great mystery as Mary’s mission had to be promulgated by the mouth not of a man but of an angel. Today for the first time is heard, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.” It is both heard and believed.

ST. AMBROSE, Expositio in Lucam, II, 14-15. 




Santa Maria, gloriosa Genitrice di Dio e Semprevergine, che hai meritato di generare al mondo la salvezza, esaudisci me e abbi pietà di me ora e dovunque, per 1'onore e la gloria della tua eccellentissima verginità. Umilmente ti prego: sii mia salvatrice e soccorritrice presso l’onnipotente Dio e Signore nostro Gesú Cristo, affinché egli, pio Padre e Principe della pace, lavi le macchie dei miei peccati, mi strappi dalle tenebre dell'inferno, mi conduca alla vita eterna. Egli che per te, o castissima Vergine Maria, è venuto in questo mondo immondo e col suo sangue ha salvato il genere umano e l'ha sottratto dalla morte, infrangendo le sbarre dell'inferno e aprendo le porte del regno celeste, per la sua misericordia si degni di salvarmi nel tempo presente, di mondarmi, di custodirmi; egli, il Signore nostro Gesú Cristo, al termine di questa vita fugace, mi conceda di aver parte all'eterna beatitudine nella comunione dei santi. A lui onore e gloria col Padre e con lo Spirito Santo negli infiniti secoli dei secoli. Amen.


A cura della Pontificia Facoltà Teologica «Marianum»