“Rejoice!” – An Advent Gem from Benedict XVI’s Infancy Narratives

A striking feature of the angel’s greeting is that he does not address Mary with the usual Hebrew salutation shalom – peace be with you – chaíre, which we might well translate with the word “Hail,” as in the Church’s Marian prayer, pieced together from the words of the annunciation narrative (cf. Lk 1:28, 42). Yet at this point it is only right to draw out the true meaning of the word chaíre: rejoice! This exclamation from the angel – we could say – marks the true beginning of the New Testament.

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