Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee,
Blessed art thou amongst women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
When the Angel Gabriel comes to Mary, his announcement brings the message that Something in the world is changing. God’s way of dealing, of interacting, with humanity, is radically changing. What the prophets had foretold is now coming to pass–in this very moment, this small space!
The angel comes to Mary, bowing before her with the greeting, “Hail, Full of Grace! The Lord is with you!” Mary is troubled at this greeting, wondering what it could mean–and indeed, we too must pause and consider the angel’s greeting, and what it means: for it is a mystery within a mystery.
Throughout history, artists have often painted this scene, and in so doing, many, such as Fra Angelico, present a startling arrangement: Gabriel is bowing to Mary! While St. Luke does not record Gabriel’s posture before Mary, and while no angel has ever bowed in the presence of a mere human before or since, this artistic depiction nevertheless expresses several profound and related truths: The first is the uniqueness of the greeting and what it signifies–that Mary is unique among all of God’s creatures. She is “Full of Grace”. Second, the depiction of the kneeling angel is completely parallel to truth gleaned directly from Luke’s Gospel: that is that Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant. The third is that, while all apparitions of angels to people are extraordinary and unique circumstances, this one far surpasses them all, as it announces the New and Definitive Covenant in which God will save His people, in Jesus Christ.
But note here the risk of God–the divine, omniscient risk-taker! He has chosen the lowly of this world, as Mary herself will express in her Magnificat, in order to bring about His great Purpose! That is, God made Himself dependent on Mary’s “Yes.”
Thus, let us emulate the humility and the obedience of the New Eve, who has undone the curse of the First Eve, as Christ has undone the disobedience of the First Adam! Let us with reverence venerate the New Ark just as the ancient Israelites venerated the Old Ark, and recognise Mary as the sure path to meeting with Jesus, whom we honour and worship and adore above all else, forever and ever! Amen.
If publishing article online please attribute source Serviam Ministries with link to original article.