Greetings, my fellow port swillers and happy Feast of the Annunciation!
Ol’ Robbo is going with this rendition of the Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1898) this year because he recently reread C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy and Tanner’s image of an angelic presence closely matches Lewis’s descriptions of the same thing. (I’m guessing Lewis probably saw it. As a general matter, angels are not cute n’ cuddly, but tend to scare the daylights out of people when they come visiting.)
I was wondering today why the Annunciation is not a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church (and, apparently, never has been). The Immaculate Conception is, as is the Assumption of the Virgin, but arguably today, the day of the great “Yes”, is far more important theologically than either of those days:
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
-Luke, 1:26-38 (KJV – Yes, I swam the Tiber but I still appreciate the beauty of the language so deal with it.)
My question is completely honest, by the way, and is not meant to be snarky or flippant.
Incidentally, it was only a few years ago that I came to realize the significance of J.R.R. Tolkien placing the destruction of the Ring and the downfall of Sauron on March 25. If I recall correctly, my exact response was, “Oooooooooooh…..”
Relatedly, ol’ Robbo has had a very good Lent so far. I have been less concerned with denials (which I will focus on during Holy Week) and more concerned with reflection and really feel that I’ve dug deeper into the Faith, particularly with respect to the matter of charity. I don’t believe I posted it here, but I had a dream a week or two ago in which I was surrounded by a group of utterly selfless people and was keenly aware of my own shortcomings compared to them. I woke up with both the shame of this comparison and the resolve to do something about it. I like to think I’m already making a bit of progress.