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Have you ever wondered about the encounter of Mary and the angel who brought her the news that she was to be the mother of Jesus? I know that we have the gospel passages that help us put the pieces together but we don’t have much to go on – especially because there were no witnesses to the event except Mary herself. The fact that it is one of the foundational tenets of Christianity and has been celebrated in art for centuries and written about and debated in theological circles for nearly two millennia should be convincing enough for us. But how was it for Mary really? Did she see an angel with her human eyes? Was it a being of light or a human form? Did she hear the message as if spoken from human lips or was the message transmitted by telepathy? Was she really as quick to answer as the gospel tells us or did she hesitate longer than just that one question: “How can this be since I do not know man?” (or closer to our language “I have not had intimate relations with a man.”)

Some of us have deeper devotion to Mary than others of us so we may conjecture different scenarios. Some of us probably never spend any time with the scene at all. Today, I suggest that we do spend some time in what some call “the imaginal realm.” Go to a place in your inner self where you can reconstruct the event of Mary coming to know that she was to carry the child that would become Jesus the Christ.

Then put yourself in the equation.

I suggest this last practice after having read the reflection from Franciscan Media this morning. It just carries the experience toward us to a place that perhaps we have never gone. See what happens, if you will.

Sometimes spiritual writers are accused of putting Mary on a pedestal and thereby, discouraging ordinary humans from imitating her. Perhaps such an observation is misguided. God did put Mary on a a pedestal and has put all human beings on a pedestal. We have scarcely begun to realize the magnificence of divine grace, the wonder of God’s freely given love. The marvel of Mary—even in the midst of her ordinary life—is God’s shout to us to wake up to the marvelous creatures that we all are by divine design. (www.franciscanmedia.org)