The Call of Beauty: The Annunciation

Insert Liturgical Connection Title Here

Lesson Overview

Among the most beautiful words recorded in Scripture are those of Our Lady at the Annunciation. Her answer to God’s invitation to freely participate in the salvation of the world was “be it done unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38, Douay-Rheims version). Mary’s humble response to the angel Gabriel’s message is a perfect expression of love and faith in God. Her free consent to God’s divine will brought to fruition God’s masterpiece of
salvation, prepared from the beginning, the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Catechism states, “The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates ‘the fullness of time,’ the time of the fulfillment of God’s promises and preparations” (CCC 484).

As March 25th (the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord) approaches, we would do well to meditate on the wonder of that angelic salutation, and the beauty of Mary’s response. As we prepare to celebrate and remember this precious moment in our Salvation history, may we imitate Mary’s obedience and love of God in our own lives, and in doing so grow ever closer to her son, Jesus.

In this lesson, students will meditate on five depictions of the Annunciation in art, and listen to a beautiful hymn to the Virgin Mary. They will then reflect on their experience, and discuss how the paintings and music affirm, celebrate, or illuminate our Holy Catholic Faith.

Lesson Materials

Teacher Directions



A. Begin by asking your students if they know who prayed the very first Hail Mary. The Angel Gabriel, at the Annunciation.

B. Then ask your students if they can think of other prayers, particularly in the Liturgy, that are repetitions, or echoes, of angelic prayers in Scripture. The Gloria (Luke 2:14, the Sanctus (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8). Explain that just as with the angelic prayers of Holy Mass, when we pray the Hail Mary, we are repeating an angel’s prayer, and honoring Our Lady for her special role in the mystery of the Incarnation and in the history of our salvation.

C. Then, distribute the Warm Up activity to your students. Read aloud, or have a student volunteer read aloud, the Scripture passage recounting the Annunciation and have your students answer the reflection questions individually.

D. When they are finished, have students share their reflections with the class.

E. Then, create a prayerful atmosphere and play for the class the video At The Beauty (Hymn to the Theotokos), found at SophiaOnline.Org/AtTheBeauty. Be sure to use external speakers in order for your students to experience the full effects and nuances of the recording.

F. When the song has played, ask your class the following questions as part of a class conversation:

  • What struck you most about this hymn? Why? Accept reasoned answers.
  • What does Theotokos mean? Mother of God. Students may or may not know, yet should be able to make an accurate guess based on the context of the hymn.
  • Why do you think this hymn is sung from the angel’s perspective? How does this influence our understanding of the Annunciation? Accept reasoned answers.

G. Next, distribute the Slideshow Viewing Questions Handout, and project the slideshow found at Pause at each slide to allow your students to observe the image and thoughtfully answer the questions on the handout.

H. When they are finished, call on students to share and discuss their responses with the class. In the course of conversation, ask the following discussion questions:

  • Why do you think many of the artists depicted the angel Gabriel kneeling as he greets Mary?
  • Which of the depictions of the Annunciation do you think best pairs with the hymn we listened to? Why?
  • In the final painting, the Annunciation is depicted very differently. Why might the artist have chosen to depict Mary and Gabriel in the way he did?

I. Close by playing through the slideshow one more time and having your students vote by show of hands on their favorite painting. When the winner is determined, project it and lead your class in praying a decade of the Rosary, meditating upon the mystery of the Annunciation. You may wish to use the passage from the warm up to pray a Scriptural Rosary, reading a verse aloud before each Hail Mary as follows:

Before 1st Hail Mary: [T]he angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:26–27, Douay-Rheims version)

Before 2nd: And the angel being come in, said to her: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is
with thee: blessed art thou among women.” (Luke 1:28, Douay-Rheims version)

Before 3rd: [Mary] having heard, was troubled at this saying, and thought within
herself what manner of salutation this should be. (Luke 1:29, Douay-Rheims version)

Before 4th: And the angel said to her: “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace
with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and
thou shalt call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:30–31, Douay-Rheims version)

Before 5th: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever.” (Luke 1:32, Douay-Rheims version)

Before 6th: “And of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:33, Douay-Rheims version)

Before 7th: And Mary said to the angel: “How shall this be done, because I know not man?” (Luke 1:34, Douay-Rheims version)

Before 8th: And the angel answering, said to her: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee.” (Luke 1:35, Douay-Rheims version)

Before 9th: “And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35, Douay-Rheims version)

Before 10th: And Mary said: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38, Douay-Rheims version)

Answer Key:


  1. The angel called her full of grace, and blessed among women, and in her
    humility Mary must have wondered at such a lofty greeting. Accept additional
    reasoned answers.
  2. They both proclaim that God’s will be done: “Be it done unto me according to
    thy word” (Luke 1:38), and “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10).
    Being without sin, Mary’s prayer reflects her holiness, humility, and love of
    God, and is a perfect example for us to imitate. Accept additional reasoned
  3. Accept reasoned answers.

Annunciation Slideshow

  • Accept reasoned answers for all questions.


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