Monday, 8 April 2013

Annunciation 2013

This stunning stained glass window is in Klarysew parish church, near Warsaw in Poland. It represents the announcement by the Angel Gabriel to a young girl called Mary that she would become the mother of Jesus. This story is told in Luke 1: 26 - 38. 

What used to be called 'Lady Day' is normally 25 March. This year that date was in Holy Week so the celebration of 'The Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary' is transferred to today 8 April.

In the stained glass window, I love the way that Mary is bathed in light yet at the same time looks ordinary. I'm not sure if the expression on her face is meant to be one of awe or fear, confusion or shock. I'm sure Mary probably felt all of those things. She did say 'yes' but not before asking 'how can this be?'

Mary was probably only about 13-15 years old, but already engaged to be married to the carpenter Joseph. What went through her head as her expectations turned upside-down? "Part of the Plan" - for Lady Day says it all really,
"This really wasn't part of my plan. 
Was this really my part in the plan?"
The annunciation is a mystery that only music, art and poetry can really convey. Here's one poem on this theme that speaks to me. It is by Mary Howe and is the climax of a sequence of poems about Mary the Virgin leading up to the visit of the angel.

ANNUNCIATION 
Even if I don't see it again - nor ever feel it 
I know it is - and if it once hailed me  
it ever does - 

And so it is myself I want to turn in that direction 
not as towards a place, but it was a tilting 
within myself, 

as one turns to a mirror to flash the light to where 
it isn't - I was blinded like that - and swam 
in what shone at me 

only able to endure it by being no one and so   
specifically myself I thought I'd die 
from being loved like that.



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