Tuesday, March 25, 2014


As divine presence draws near, perhaps Mary senses her inadequacy, the fear of incapacity, a space too modest for God. And so for all its beauty, the scene is essentially, tremendously frightening. Imagine the existential loneliness of Our Lady at this moment. How wise the Angel Gabriel is to remind her not to be afraid. This heavenly messenger knows too well that Mary will need great courage as she abandons herself to God's desire.

Perhaps Mary understands in this moment of all moments the pure, almost intolerable desire for God alone which is deep within her, deep inside each of us, this space that only God can fill. And perhaps even as she realizes and experiences most deeply her emptiness and longing, she senses that it is in this very moment that all of her will be most available to God. 

She is made for this moment of all moments. And her fear turns into a vast, ineffable joy. “How can this be? I do not understand, but I trust. Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me.” God’s power is made perfect in weakness, in Mary’s smallness, her emptiness, in our seeming human incapacity for God. Mary has the courage to trust God’s choice of her. Her nothingness, our nothingness is space enough for God to overshadow and make fecund and fill to overflowing.
Fra Angelico, The Annunciation, c. 1438-47, fresco, 230 x 321 cm, Convent of San Marco, Florence.