Rejoice, beautiful woman,
you who are filled with God’s grace!
This grace, my dear child,
is poured into you from the beginning:
like the radiance of the sun undimmed,
like waters cascading into a receptive well
that on receiving is not filled
but rather expands to accommodate the gift.
Rejoice, beloved one, daughter of God.
You have been loved, loved eternally,
loved at every moment of your life.
Because you are loved you are made,
and because you are made you are seen,
and because you are seen you are loved.
For God has seen from all eternity
the beauty that he would create in you,
and from this seeing he has made you
so as to be able to see you before him, created,
and in seeing you to delight in your beauty,
and to come to you to espouse you to himself.
God delights in what he has made in you,
young virgin espoused and yet untouched,
dedicated to the Almighty by a vow.
You are a virgin and know not man,
but I come to announce to you
that you, little one, have been chosen.
You have chosen God as your inheritance,
the infinite and eternal One as your Love,
but he has chosen you to be his bride
and to be a mother of his only-begotten Son.
Who am I that you come to me,
angel blazing with a radiant light,
and bow before me, a tiny creature?
My heart trembles with awe and fear,
the blossoming of my hopes before fulfillment,
a gasp of breath as if before the plunge.
In my heart I bear my people, my beloved,
whom I know are God’s beloved first of all.
A woman, I know, was someday to be chosen
to bear the Son of David, the Prophet we await,
the Anointed One who till take away from us
the burden that we bear, heavy on our hearts.
But here, in my simplicity before you,
I can only believe it is true in simple faith,
and perhaps that is, after all,
the only way to truly believe at all.
But I have a question, dear angel,
because I don’t know how to cooperate
with what you are asking of me.
For if I am to be his alone completely,
dedicated to God in lifelong virginity,
then how is it that I am to conceive?
Beloved daughter, precious bride,
do you accept to be touched by him,
the One whose touch does not violate,
nor take from you the virginal mystery?
His touch brings yet more deeply
what the touch of men takes away.
Do you accept to be overshadowed
by his Spirit, coming upon you,
as he came upon the sanctuary of old:
so that you may conceive by his power
the eternal One in your heart and in your womb?
This One, you see, will be the Son of David,
the promised King and Messiah
for which your people ardently long.
But he will surpass every hope and expectation,
while also, because of his immensity,
being a scandal and a contradiction to many.
Yet to those who are little and childlike,
he is the power and the wisdom of God revealed.
I feel like a bride on the day of her wedding,
veiled by the reverence of the other,
and yet open to sharing with the other her mystery:
for her heart thirsts to be loved, and to love,
to welcome the gift and to give, completely.
But more! But more, my heart cries!
For I knew that this mystery was deeper
than any man of flesh could ever know.
This is why I dedicated myself to him
whose Love sustains the universe itself…
so that what in humanity is merely an image
may return to the source in pure love,
in the virginal and bridal dedication
of all that I am to the King Most High.
And now you say, Gabriel the angel,
that I am to conceive in virginity,
from the overshadowing of the Spirit,
and not from any carnal touch or will.
I do not understand this mystery,
but understanding always falls short anyway.
Faith it is that leads to understand,
for it allows the heart to dilate to mystery,
expanding beyond its own horizons,
and making the horizons of Love its own.
If this is truly possible, if it is what he asks,
then I will open my heart to accept it,
to accept the One who is inviting me.
My dear one, it is indeed possible,
for you see, for God all things are possible.
You need not be in any way afraid.
Then I say “Yes” with all of my being,
with every last reverberation of my heart!
I give complete and willing permission
that he may touch me and my life totally,
here and now, and in past and future,
to make it all his forever and eternally.
Let him only carry me in his grace,
as he has done from my conception,
henceforth all the way until the end.
If he gives me my “Yes” at every moment,
then I will be able to say “Yes” every time,
for my consent will be but a reception
of his own Love for me ceaselessly outpoured,
and cradling me always in his embrace.