The Annunication and the first moment of the fullness of time

Henry Tanner, , 1898, Philadelphia Museum of Art
In the beginning of his encyclical letter Mother of the Redeemer, Pope explores the mystery of “the fullness of time.” The first sentence reads: “The Mother of the Redeemer has a precise place in the plan of salvation, for ‘when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”‘ (Gal. 4:4-6).”
In a footnote John Paul explains “the expression ‘fullness of time’ (pleroma tou chronou) is parallel with similar expressions of Judaism, both Biblical (cf. Gen. 29:21; 1 Sam. 7:12; Tob. 14:5) and extra-Biblical, and especially of the New Testament (cf. Mk. 1:15; Lk. 21:24; Jn. 7:8; Eph. 1:10). From the point of view of form, it means not only the conclusion of a chronological process but also and especially the coming to maturity or completion of a particularly important period, one directed towards the fulfillment of an expectation, a coming to completion which thus takes on an eschatological dimension. According to Gal. 4:4 and its context, it is the coming of the Son of God that reveals that time has, so to speak, reached its limit.” 
The first moment of the fulfillment of time “marks the moment when the Holy Spirit, who had already infused the fullness of grace into Mary of Nazareth, formed in her virginal womb the human nature of Christ.” The moment begins at the Annunciation with the “Ecce/Fiat” of Mary.
John Paul reminds us the full significance of this moment: “This ‘fullness’ marks the moment when, with the entrance of the eternal into time, time itself is redeemed, and being filled with the mystery of Christ becomes definitively ‘salvation time.'” §1 St. Elizabeth spoke for all human beings when he said: “Blessed art thou amongst women.”
John Paul II reminds us as well that this moment at the Annunciation “designates the hidden beginning of the Church’s journey.” Introduction §1


Join us!

* indicates required