Annunciation

Today is the second white feast of Lent. Christmas minus nine months. When the parishioner who oversees vestment dry cleaning came in for the “spring cleaning” Sunday, I remembered to have her save a white chasuble.

Aside from white, the Annunciation is one Biblical event I enjoy seeing in contemporary renderings.

A priest friend gave me a card several years ago showing Henry Ossawa Tanner‘s depiction, above, an 1898 work. Possibly my favorite Annunciation and likely one of my very favorite religious paintings.

John Collier describes his 2000 painting in this podcast. The parish for whom he painted this didn’t put it in their church. An interesting choice, perhaps one with which I don’t agree. He cites Mary reading Isaiah during this visitation, but I was struck by today’s Lectionary psalm, especially verse 9:

I delight to do your will, my God;
your law is in my inner being!

This painting by Máire Gartland is new to me this year. Mary in red. Egg in blue, like a robin’s. Chessboard window, set up to play left and right, not up and down. Graffiti of God-knows-what.

I clearly recall this feast thirty-one years ago. I was on a young man’s pilgrimage that March of 1983, and I didn’t clearly know where I was going–that day, that trip, or even in my life. I went to noon Mass at the student center at the University of Dayton. The priest walked out in a blue vestment, then explained. An anchor of familiarity, and while I was not prepared to say “yes” that day–I hadn’t even heard God’s question–I do remember that liturgy, something that was part of being nudged into the future that was ahead of me.

My personal reflection on this feast is the reality that God nudges me, and all believers. We are invited, sometimes urged, to say yes to something we may not understand. Do we trust God? Do we trust enough to say yes, even when the way ahead is not clear? God did not disappoint me on my pilgrimage more than half a life ago. I’m inclined to say yes more often because of that memory. And because it worked out for Mary too.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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