Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Earlier today I put a post on Facebook about this picture. I came across it recently at a gathering with my colleagues. Painted at the end of the 1470s by Messina, it depicts what Christians call the Annunciation - the moment when Mary received the news from the angel that she will  be the mother of Jesus.

I'm not an expert on art, nor am I from a church background that makes a lot of church festivals about the Virgin Mary, but I think this is great image. Far from being a meek and submissive image, Mary comes across as strong (and literate!) and attentive. Unlike many of the pictures painted of this scene, we do not see the angel; we only see light on Mary's face.

This strong woman, reaching out toward the light, seems like she has some control; she is not overwhelmed. Despite news which must have been incomprehensibly significant, she looks like she is deciding yes. In the gospel story, this is the start of light coming in to the world. Perhaps we need something of her faith, her hope and her strength to find some light in our own darkness.

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