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Annunciation by Paolo de Matteis, 1712. The white lily in the angel's hand is symbolic of Mary's purity [1] in Marian art.[2]. Public Domain

Annunciation by Paolo de Matteis, 1712. The white lily in the angel’s hand is symbolic of Mary’s purity [1] in Marian art.[2]. Public Domain

Today’s text, Luke 1:26-38, is illustrated throughout our world’s art galleries and museums as the “Annunciation.”  The imposing and other-worldly figure of Gabriel is depicted speaking words of life-changing import to a young woman, Mary, who seems simultaneously beatific and non-plussed. Tradition has emphasised her piety and holiness. The narrative in the text highlights her perplexity at being told that she will bear a child of divine import and the manner in which she will conceive. The personal and social impact of Gabriel’s announcement might have been most troubling.

Mary’s final response is, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

These are strong words – more than mere submission. They are alignment with revealed purpose – and thus a true Advent voice!

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