Our Lady said yes for the human race. Each one of us must echo that yes for our own lives.(Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God)This beautiful quote came my way via Helen at Castle of the Immaculate.
For more resources on the Feast of the Annunciation, visit:
Oh, and I have a quick story to share in honor of this great feast. Once when I was doing my student teaching in Paris, I took the train down to Florence, Italy. Other than grazie, I don’t speak a word of Italian, so it was a very “interior” weekend for me. I wandered about the city and took in the sights quietly and pensively.
On my last day there, I decided to use my Eurorail pass to go to Siena for a few hours before returning to Paris. Having some time before my train left, I went to a small church to look at the frescoes.
There was one other man there at the time: a distinguished looking older man (as they say) with a cane. We struck up a conversation in front of one of the paintings, and since he didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Italian, we chose a common language: French. His name was Marco. He asked what my plans were for the day, and when I told him I was going to spend a half a day in Siena he exclaimed, “You can’t do that city justice in a few hours! Have you been to the Uffizi gallery here in town yet?”
I hadn’t and once again he gave a little cry. I got the impression at that point that Marco considered me a “work in progress” and needed to help me along in the path of my poor decision-making. “I’ll take you,” he declared.
And with that we made our way to the gallery.
And with that I made a friend I’ll long remember.
The line descended down the steps and around the building, which gave us plenty of time to talk. I don’t remember a lot of the conversation, other than the fact that he had older children and was just a wonderful person in general. He was also very mysterious, because when we got to the room that he most wanted to show me (the room where this painting was hung), there was yet another line to enter it. He grew a bit frustrated at this point because we didn’t have a lot of time left. To my great curiosity, he approached the security guard and they conversed briefly, at which time the guard all but ushered us in with fanfare! Who was this Mr. Marco?
I will never forget the art lesson that ensued. Marco spoke of the painting with great tenderness and knowledge. “Look at the angel’s expression,” he murmured. “Clearly, this is a being that has been in the presence of God!” He spoke about what a great artist da Vinci was, of his devotion to God and to Our Lady and his amazingly transcendant ability to convey that love in his artwork.
What a morning that was for me, and what a beautiful man he was.
We said our goodbyes shortly thereafter, and as I shook his hand and took his picture I thought, “I’ll see you in heaven, Marco.”
And you’ll look just like that angel.
Have a blessed, beautiful day, everyone!
PS. I pray you don’t mind my self-indulgence, but I am leaving the comments open on this post in honor of today’s solemnity. : )
The above painting is the Cestello Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli (1489-90: Uffizi Gallery, Florence)