After attending a quiet day at Bethany House of Prayer earlier this month, on the theme of Annunciation and Incarnation, I wrote the following reflection on the Annunciation.
What was I doing before he came?
Over the years many have tried to picture it.
The images are so religious.
I am kneeling at a prie-dieu, dressed in blue, looking pious.
How wrong they are.
Zefferelli was nearer the mark:
washing clothes by the river, the sun sparkling on the water,
but there was no sun and I did not look up to heaven.
He approached, but I had not seen him.
“Hail, thou that art highly-favoured, full of grace!
You have found favour with God.”
Strange words that pierced my soul:
gentle yet full of conviction,
firm and purposeful,
yet quiet and respectful.
He who stands at God’s right hand
called me “blessed”
and waited for my response.
“Be it unto me, according to your word.”
I had said it and there would be no turning back.
What lay ahead I didn’t know,
but as time passed,
and I felt new life growing within me,
I grew afraid.
I heard them murmur behind me,
weighing up the stones.
So I took to the hills,
where I heard Elizabeth:
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
I knew I’d be safe for a while,
and my soul did “magnify the Lord”.