The Feast of the Annunciation
Fra Angelico, who was born just outside Florence about 1395, has left us one of the most beautiful paintings of this holy scene. The angel Gabriel stands before Mary, who is seated with her arms folded beneath her breasts, and asks her to be the Mother of the Lord.
Gabriel also has his arms folded and is leaning forward, his body language carries the signs of a person asking a favour, while Mary, who sits also in a very similar position, sits in contemplation. It is the wonder of this painting that the two characters, while in almost the same pose, portray completely different attitudes.
Surely this must be one of the most beautiful feasts of the Church year, a day when we reflect upon the fact that God had to ask permission of a humble virgin to be born into the world. If the painting of Fra Angelico shows nothing else, it shows the massive respect that God has for human free will. He does not force himself or his will upon Mary, she is free to say no if she wants too. Fran Angelico is also able to convey this in his painting.
So what should we reflect on today? This is the day that the whole process of the redemption of humanity began in this world, that God finally, after all the time from Adam to Jesus, decided to make his move.
When you think of it: We are Christians because Mary decided to say Yes.
If you look at it like that, surely this must be one of the most important feasts of the Church Year.