484 The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates “the fullness of time”, The time of the fulfillment of God’s promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the “whole fullness of deity” would dwell “bodily”. The divine response to her question, “How can this be, since I know not man?”, was given by the power of the Spirit: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.”
489 Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living. By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age. Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women. Mary “stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established.”
A couple things to note here: The Catechism refers to the Annunciation as the inauguration of the “Fullness of time.” The incarnation is the culmination of everything the Old Testament pointed to. Further to that, after the life and teachings of Jesus on this earth passed, public and doctrinal revelation reached its completeness over the life of the Apostles. We still work to understand it all, but nothing new is revealed to us through private revelation. The End Times is often thought of as the period immediately preceding the Second Coming of Christ. This certainly makes sense in a specific way, but the truth is that when Catholics speak of the End Times, it is the entirety of the period since Christ. In the spiritual and religious sense, the fullness of time has been reached.
Similar to the preparation for Christ, the Old Testament prepares us for Mary, as well. It is through Mary that the rejection of God by Eve is reversed. Most important as a prophetic note, though, is the recognition here that Eve received the promise of an ultimate victory over the Evil One. Sure, this is nothing new, but it goes to show that the plan of all time and salvation were laid out at our origins, and that regardless of how much it may seem in our time that evil is getting the upper hand, in reality we know the ultimate outcome. It may seem impossible at times, but good will triumph. In fact, many private revelations very clearly paint a picture of faithlessness and spiritual destitution in the world around us as a precursor to chastisements, but such chastisements ultimately lead to rejuvenations of faith, and this is something that is a continued cycle to the bitter end. It’s easy to read the Old Testament and ridicule Israel for abandoning God after being greatly blessed, only to fall back into being cursed, but if you take a look around, it’s not rocket science to figure out that we are doing the same thing. And we are doing it despite much more knowledge of God through Christ. Collectively, we’re idiots, we always have been, and we always will be.