Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Let it be with me as you say.
In the modern Church of the Annunciation in the Holy Land there are many representations of the Annunciation and of the Madonna and Child from a variety of countries. There are so many that they spill out in the courtyard around the church.
Luke tells the story in 1:26-38. I find much for meditation in this passage. I have always been told that Mary was very young, but I just read yesterday that in Roman law the minimum age of marriage for girls was 10 and Jewish practices were similar. Marriage usually took place before a girl reached 12 and a half. Mary, then, would have been about 12 or 13 when the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to have a child who would be the Son of God. How prepared could she be to make a decison? I don't know of any representation of the Annunciation in art that pictures her that young. I am shocked nowadays when I hear about a culture in which girls are married that young.
As I prayed about this yesterday I was caught up short when I realized that I had left home and gone to the minor seminary when I was 14. Of course I was not making the earth shattering decision with which Mary was faced. I was even far from making a final decision to become a priest; but I did, at that young age, make a decision that put me on a path to where I am now. I found myself grateful for God's favor to the very young Mary and to me.