In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.
And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In the intimacy of a bedchamber
Your soul is awakened from sleep,
Fragile flesh before angelic brilliance.
Your rumpled night sheets tossed aside,
You listen in peace with your whole self.
To the question that will define history,
Holding its breath for your answer,
All heaven pauses.
“LET IT BE DONE TO ME…”
Here it begins,
In such utter simplicity,
In quiet strength, at the appointed hour,
With the rippled rungs of time at your feet,
And the broad lines of history at your back.
At the balance of His grace in your will,
Eve reborn, humanity to be redeemed
Through a child, from a virgin
Whose name is Mary.
This poem is based on the painting The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner, housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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.