In 2007 on Holy Thursday Pope Benedict said: “According to John, Jesus died on the cross precisely in the moment in which, in time, the paschal lambs were slaughtered. His death and the sacrifice of the lambs coincided. We’re now in a place to say that what John related is historically precise. Jesus really spared his blood on the vigil of the Pasch in the hour of the slaughter of the lambs.” Today it is believed that it was 25th of March.
This belief also come from an intuition of faith of the People of God that “the mysteries of March”—the Incarnation, the Cross, and the Resurrection—are inseparably connected. St Ephrem if the fourth century wrote: “In the month of Nisan, when the seed sprouts in the warm air, the Sheaf sowed itself in the earth. Death reaped and swallowed it up in Sheol, but the medicine of life, hidden within, burst Sheol open. In Nisan, when lambs bleat in the meadow, the Paschal Lamb entered His Mother’s womb.” In 1608 when Good Friday fell on 25th of March and English poet John Donne wrote a piece on Mary’s participation in both events: Annunciation and Crucifixion:
She sees him nothing twice at once, who is all;
She sees a cedar plant itself and fall;
Her Maker put to making; and the head
Of life, at once, nor yet alive, yet dead.
She sees at once the virgin mother stay
Reclus’d at home, publique at Golgotha.
Sad and rejoiced she’s seen at once, and seen
At almost fifty, and at scarce fifteen.
At once a son is promised her, and gone,
Gabriel gives Christ to her—He her to John.
Not fully a mother, she’s in orbit,
And once the receiver and the legacy.
All this, and all between, this day has shown,
Th’ abridgement of Christ’s story, which makes one
(As in plaine maps the furthest West is East)
Of the angels Ave and Consummatum est.
How well the Church, God’s court of faculties,
Deals, in some times, and seldom, joining these;
This Church, by letting those days join, has shown
Death and conception in mankind is one.
The mysteries of March meet in Mary, the Virgin Mother of God. At the Annunciation she says Yes to the Incarnation of God the Son in her womb. On Calvary she consents to the Sacrifice he offers for the sins of the world. Mary gives her undivided assent to the whole mission of Jesus, from Lady Day to Easter Day and to the ages of ages.
At the beginning, at the very heart of the Incarnation event, stands Mary, the perfect Virgin, who “let it be done unto her,” who was prepared to enter into a physical and spiritual motherly relationship with the person and also the whole work of her Son.
Maybe the Day of the Annunciation passes so quietly every year because only in silence one can contemplate that greatest mystery of God “who for us and for our salvation was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.”
I think that when we are questioned by non-Catholics why we pray the Rosary we should simply say: “Because we cannot have enough contemplating the mystery of Incarnation” Every time we start saying Hail Mary we go back to that quiet day in Nazareth when the silence was broken by Gabriel’s words: “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Then the world entered a new era, the era of Salvation.