Annunciation c. 1475 by Andrea Della Robbia, Glazed Terracotta 210 X 210 cm, Chiesa Maggiore La Verna Sanctuary in Tuscany Apennines. Image courtesy Web Gallery of Art
Apostles’ Creed: Week Two
“I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only son, our Lord, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.”
I remember many years ago sitting in a darkened College classroom staring at slides of Annunciation scenes. I really couldn’t understand, from the lecture, anything about the meaning of Mary. My professor did seem to hold Raphael, Fra Angelico and others like them in great esteem, but that was all. We would spend a great deal of time looking at the perfection of the artists technique and honoring the advancement of their art form but nothing about the heart of the message. I wonder now if it was the lack of content in the lecturer or maybe I just wasn’t ready for the lessons of Mary….
So at some point, after many years of looking at Mary, rather flatly, I began to really study this scene and to think about what Mary could teach me, not really knowing where it would lead. I just wanted to understand those who devoted their lives to the devotion of Mary.
I know now this is the first step: to come to Mary not knowing, letting yourself be empty…this is when God can speak to your heart; this was when he spoke to mine. It was when I became open to Mary that I really began to feel and believe in Jesus Christ as God living among us…..to have a faith that moved mountains and carried me through the valleys…..I needed to really meditate on Mary, like an artist. To imagine what it must have been like to capture this scene and to express it in their own way. To put yourself in their shoes you need to say “I wonder” what that moment must have been like for her.
I can now see that Mary, in this moment, shows us how to give birth to a faith in a loving God; one who works in miraculous and unexpected ways. She shares with us her sense of wonder and her ultimate trust in God. Wow! to have been there……
But this is it, this is the way of Christ. To know and to realize God’s miracle in your own life. To grab hold of the good news when you hear and wonder how it can be born in someone such as yourself? Who am I to bear Christ into the world? And then you realize the beauty of God’s love for you and you cannot resist Him, you find that you must say this is my destiny. When we really look at Mary in the Annunciation, each of us can say: “I am the Lord’s servant,…May it be to me as you have said.” Luke 1:38
Heavenly Father and lover of my soul, let me be transformed by your Holy Spirit and let the Good News of Jesus Christ seep down deep into my heart. Help me to bear your love into the world as Mary bore our Savior Jesus Christ into the world.