Fra Angelico’s Annunciation

After my post of yesterday explaining the origin of the title of my blog, my friend Gerry wrote with the suggestion that I also explain why I chose Fra Angelico’s Annunciation as the banner picture for Creo en Dios! This is another subject I did write about when I first set up the blog. Again, since it was so long ago, here is what I wrote:

When I was setting up this blog, there was no question what picture would appear – Fra Angelico’s Annunciation

The fresco itself is at the top of a flight of stairs in the San Marco in Florence.  You walk halfway up the stairs, turn a corner to continue the rest of the way up, and as you turn, there it is on the wall facing you.  The first time I turned the corner and saw it, it took my breath away.  Each subsequent time I’ve been to Florence, I’ve gone back to the San Marco to see “my Annunciation”, and each time I have the same reaction – I know what is coming as I turn on the landing, but still, it takes my breath away.

As does Mary.  As a child I did all the normal Mary stuff kids in Catholic schools did in the 60s – the crowning of the statue and all the Mary songs, especially in May.  As a young adult, I had no relationship with Mary.  But over the years, she has come to be someone of significance to me.

The moment captured in the Fra Angelico painting is one I go back to again and again in my prayer.  A young girl is given what can only have been astonishing news.  One can only imagine what went through her mind.  What will my parents say?  And Joseph?  And the neighbors and my friends? Who will believe I conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit (whatever that means)?  What will happen to me?  I’m not old enough to raise any child, let alone this special child.  Questions….fears….doubts. 

And despite all the questions, fears and doubts, “Yes,” she says.  I don’t understand all of what you are asking, I can’t see what this is going to look like, but yes.   I am yours, do with me what you will. 

When I want to say yes but have questions and fear, when the ramifications of the yes are not clear, I look to Mary as my model.  And I pray for her strength and her faith.

[Since I wrote that post, back early in 2008, I’ve written and spoken about Mary many times. If you take a look at the podcast page, you’ll find links to several talks about Mary.]


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