Day 13 - Call
Day 13 - listen here
Luke 1: 26-31
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent to a city of Galilee whose name is Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the name of the virgin was Mary.
And going in to her he said, ‘Rejoice, you who have received favour: the Lord is with you.’She was deeply disturbed at the remark, and wondered what kind of thing this greeting might be.
And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary. For you have found favour with God. And look! you will conceive in the womb, and bear a son. And you shall call his name Jesus.
The Annunciation. Perhaps we regularly pray it in the Rosary, the first joyful mystery. Or perhaps we recall one of a host of artistic representations. My favourite is the tender and holy painting by Renaissance artist Fra Angelico – a work so beautiful it makes me tremble.
We rightly make much of this moment. It is the hinge of history, the turning of the tide from empires ruled by men to the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. The archangel Gabriel had promised this reign a half millennium previously to the prophet Daniel. Now, on a second visitation, he announces it to Mary.
Down through the Christian centuries, the angel’s salutation calls back an antiphonal crescendo. Mary is mentioned reverently in the Nicene creed, her high title as “Mother of God” defended in the Council of Ephesus. Believers invoke her aid as first among saints, theologians speculate on her power and knowledge. At the moment in Nazareth where it all began, however, Mary is a diffident girl – puzzled, “deeply troubled.” Complicated theological words like “incarnate” will be invented centuries later. The moment after Mary conceived the mystery in her own body, there was only silence. The world had changed forever, and only she knew.
Your Word came to Mary and she conceived Jesus – Your Son and her Son. I don’t understand how this can be. I am encouraged to reflect that she also did not fully understand, and yet said “yes.” I say “yes” to you now. Be it done unto me according to your word. At my baptism, your word was conceived within me – a living and imperishable seed. May it grow until I attain the full stature of my image in Christ.
Mary, pray for me.
My guardian angel, pray for me.