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SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD, MARCH 25, 2021


The Annunciation, circa 1426 by Fra Angelico. Museo del Prado, Spain


A Gospel according to Lk 1:26-38


The angel Gabriel was sent from God

to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,

to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,

of the house of David,

and the virgin’s name was Mary.

And coming to her, he said,

“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”

But she was greatly troubled at what was said

and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

Then the angel said to her,

“Do not be afraid, Mary,

for you have found favor with God.

Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,

and you shall name him Jesus.

He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,

and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,

and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,

and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel,

“How can this be,

since I have no relations with a man?”

And the angel said to her in reply,

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,

and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.

Therefore the child to be born

will be called holy, the Son of God.

And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,

has also conceived a son in her old age,

and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;

for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.

May it be done to me according to your word.”

Then the angel departed from her.


REFLECTION: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”


One of my favorite activities is to visit "Fine Arts" museums. I really enjoy the arts throughout the millennia. Through these collections we can learn about other people's cultures, habits, likes and dislikes.


Religion is a big part of the fine arts. This is especially true in the middle ages up until the 19th century. Great masterpieces have come down the centuries to us through paintings and sculptures.


We have been so lucky as to see astonishing masterpieces through collections from El Prado Museum in Spain: "The Immaculate Conception" by Murillo; "Jacob's dream" by Ribera; the works of El Greco; etc.


Standing or sitting while observing these works, really makes one think about the saints. They bring the Bible and Christian tradition to life. They make you think, and appreciate the beauty of our faith and traditions.


One of the works we can find in El Prado is the Annunciation by Fra Angelico. In this beautiful altarpiece the painter connects the Old Testament with the New. The fall of men with the beginning of redemption.


If you look at the image above, or click on it to take you to the high resolution picture, you can see many details, like Adam and Eve being expelled from Paradise; their clothes and gestures. They are already dressed, aware of their nakedness. Adam seems regretful and worried for his actions. Eve joins her hands in prayer. They are girded with thorns. to represent the future that awaits outside of paradise.


You will not find an apple, but roses at their feet representing the rosary.


There is also a swallow perched by the arch. The white color of its breast represents the joy of the birth of Jesus, and the black feathers the Passion, where He pays for our sins.


Look at the gesture of Mary. She is assuming her mission with uttermost humility. She has an open book on her knees, representing the fulfilment of the Scriptures. Her mantle is lapis Lazuli, very expensive color that represents her role as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven. She is shown here sitting down as Seat of Wisdom.


And in the top left corner we see the hands of God the Father. A ray bearing a dove, the Holy Spirit will make Mary conceive the Son of God, Jesus Christ.


The stars represent the cosmos; this is a cosmic event that affects all creation.


There is even an image of Jesus himself in between the arches.


We don't need to be art connoisseurs to appreciate good works of fine arts. But it is very good to spend some time looking at some classic works, to help us visualize our beliefs better. A simple google search on a specific painting or sculpture can tell us the meaning of the details of such work.


And maybe that way, when we are all allowed to travel, we will be ready to understand the treasures of El Prado, National Gallery, Louvre, the Vatican, even the Holy Land.


In the meantime, we can study them and learn. And appreciate and fall more in love with our faith and traditions.


God bless y'all!



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