25 Mar 2017

25th March 2017 - The Annunciation of the Lord

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." 

And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.


The Annunciation
John William Waterhouse
1914
Annunciation - Today we mark the beginning of time, the new creation, a kairos moment. We mark the day when all the universe paused and waited with bated breath for the response of a simple young woman; who was asked to undertake a unique motherhood, to be God-bearer, Theotokas, and through the Cross mother of us all.........Where do we stand in that room at the Annunciation? Are we the messenger? Are we the ones who can go to another and remind ourselves because of Mary's "Yes" that we are all indeed "full of grace"? 
The grace of being children of God, co-heirs with Christ, made in the image of the Divine Light? Do we provide that moment of reflection where we remind each other, God has a special plan for you too? Often we are asked to focus on Miriam, Mary, Maria. Her 'fiat' given to us as exemplar and example. 
Virgin Madonna, Holy inviolate Mother, Ark of the Covenant, Tower of David, Gate of Ivory. But have we wrapped the woman-child in too many layers of mystical pastiche? Where is the trembling, frightened, awe struck young lady who makes the ultimate sacrifice? And what if she has said "No!"?

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