The Mystery of the Annunciation

We continue our look at the Rosary with the first Joyful Mystery.

The things we think are big can be curiously small to God. We often forget this when we watch the news. When the TV starts chattering about Washington or New York or inflation or politics, an incautious person could easily get the impression these things are of ultimate importance. But in light of the way God deals with us, this geopolitical big think stuff—like virtually everything on television—usually vanishes into microscopic insignificance.

Consider ancient Israel. Gobs of Old Testament ink is spilled on the fortunes of kings and the policies of princes. Just like when we watch the news, we may think we know what we’re seeing. Real life is what happens to top people. What happens to a bunch of obscure peasants is small beer. Yet despite the sweep and scope of the vast Old Testament drama with nations rising and falling, kingdoms in conflict, armies marching, and enormous geopolitical forces at work, God saw in all this, at best, a metaphor for where life really happens: in an encounter with Jesus Christ. Everything in the Old Testament was leading up not to more politics and bigger armies but to a Jewish girl named Mary in conversation with an angel that went unnoticed by the rest of the world.

Similarly, giant miracles like the parting of Red Sea and the manna in the wilderness point not to bigger and better Cinemascope productions but to quiet human encounters with God in the simple miracles of Baptism, Eucharist, and the repentance of a human heart. His annunciations are made not to millions of people broadcast like an impersonal public service announcement, but to each one of us, like a proposal of marriage.


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