The Annunciation Through the Eyes of an Angel

The whole of human history has always been marked with supernatural intervention, and God has been on a constant connection with world events. The entire Old Testament has seen God’s fingerprint written everywhere. None of those, though, has reached an equal status of magnitude as to what God did in the fullness of time 2000 years ago when He Himself did the greatest intervention for love of us. He did the incomprehensible.

The first Joyful mystery of the Holy Rosary recalls this moment when God did the impossible and the entire celestial order became silent out of shock and confusion. Many biblical scholars believed that this great Divine Plan was the reason behind Lucifer’s rebellion. God asked him to play a major role in His Plan but Lucifer was so confused and dumbfounded that he just cannot accept this fact that God, in His greatness and majesty, would become a mere man — even lower than the angels. All of the heavenly court remained silent. There was only one voice that echoed through the eternal halls of Paradise — Lucifer’s confusion manifested in rebellion. God, on the other hand, stayed true to His intention and chose another to play the part.

This celestial being was Gabriel, an Archangel of God, magnificent in stature and a wonder in appearance, who was given the task to announce to a specific person in Nazareth a news that does not make any sense. And of all places, Nazareth, a place of reputation where nothing good seems to come out (John 1: 46). And of all people, a woman, treated as 2nd class citizens during those times. Gabriel, the great archangel, was to be the bearer of the greatest message to the lowliest creature. What an irony?

In this meditation of the Annunciation, using the “Composition of Place” exercise, I see the 1st Joyful mystery unravel through Gabriel’s eyes as he recalls what happened on that fateful day 2000 years ago. I look through the memory of that great Archangel – present with God from all eternity, firsthand recipient of the Divine Plan and one of the dumbfounded creatures who remained silent after the plan of the Incarnation was revealed to the entire order of Heaven – as he narrates the event that altered the course of history.

“Yes, I, Gabriel, was there when God created everything out of nothing, when He spoke and all came to be. I was there when He, the One who is outside of time, revealed His plan to enter time, and join and save the human race. I was there when, for the first time in eternity, the Heavenly music of the angelic choir went silent out of confusion. I was there when the eternal hymn of “Holy, Holy, Holy” was hushed for a moment because none of us were able to fathom what was exposed to our limited consciousness. And yes, I was there during the great rebellion of Lucifer when he, same as us, became so confused and disordered about what was just uncovered. But unlike Lucifer, my fellow Archangel, I remained faithful to the Creator.

“It has been a common understanding by the minds of old that Divine Justice, God’s wrath, brought Lucifer to damnation. But what I saw was different. God did not abandon Lucifer. God even extended His hand to him as an offering of reconciliation. It was Lucifer’s pride that refused to accept God’s forgiving embrace. As I saw my brother fall like lightning by his own doing, I felt what sadness is like. It was a sensation alien to me yet feeling it for the first time brought a sting unimaginable, like a sword piercing through a heart, cutting every vein, unable to heal. God allowed me, and all angels, to feel the pain of sadness because this was a preview of what was to come. His Divine Plan for humanity, after all, was not God-like in appearance, majestic and awe-inspiring, it was very human — covered in challenges, sadness, pain and glory.

“Lucifer’s refusal to cooperate brought about a Divine decision that involved me, Gabriel. I became the new messenger of the Lord, sent to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph of the house of David, whose name is Mary (Luke 1:26-27). As soon as I received the command from the Most High, I took flight to this little town — insignificant in the eyes of men but to me, a great marvel to see. I needed not know the details of what was going to happen or how it will come to pass after I ‘ve done what was commanded. I only needed to deliver a message. And this message of utmost importance needed a response and cooperation from a lowliest mortal, a woman and a virgin.

“History remembered this event as only I who went to Nazareth, but truth be told, with me were legions of angels, countless in number, all of whom came to be part of this momentous occasion. Yet most of them, as I, were much more curious as to see who this Mary was and why, of all people, was she chosen for such a role. As I was transitioning from eternity to history, I felt a sense of excitement and, at the same time, fear for I will be meeting face to face with the person who was singlehandedly handpicked by God, selected in His all-knowing wisdom from the moment of creation. I will be meeting the person who will be the doorway between Heaven and Earth. The thought of the meeting brought trembling to my entire being.

“As I entered in time, Nazareth did not seem to give the impression that something great and important could flow from it. It was mundane and typical, a small town with nothing much going on. I walked through it and the rest of the heavenly hosts were hovering in the heavens, observing and praying, waiting and anticipating. It has begun.

“Then I saw her, Mary, walking towards her house. At far, she looked like your any ordinary teenager, nothing special, nothing extraordinary. But she walked with such grace that she could be dancing. I cannot yet clearly see her face for I was a bit far off yet from what I saw, there was a glow of inner beauty that cannot be hidden. This was the handmaid of God, chosen before time.

“I was there, invisibly standing in front of her house. Joachim was at the back working. Anne was in the kitchen preparing food. I went in and saw Mary in her room, serenely sitting with faraway gaze as if waiting for something or someone. I can feel her sighs. She was praying. Her veil was lowered at the shoulder since she was at the privacy of her home. As I slowly walked towards Mary’s room, I was having the sensation of excitement, anticipation, and fear – a kind of fear that’s rooted from being in awe with someone.

“Then, I was at her door, still invisible. All of a sudden, my fear left me at the sight of her when I saw her face completely. Her beauty was indescribable, and she really had an inner glow. Something was different with her from all other humans, she’s pure, immaculate – pureness that can only be compared to God Himself. There’s no trace of any stain of sin in her soul. Now I understand why she was chosen. She’s to be the undefiled dwelling of the Most High.

“With all the angels behind me I slowly, and as gentle as the rising sun, revealed myself to her. My visible presence seemed to have frozen time. All of a sudden, it was as if we were the only ones in the world. Me gazing at her and she’s staring at me with a lovely glare that can melt even the hardest hearts. She cannot see the rest of the angels, they remained invisible for the sole purpose of not to stir too much commotion. My sole presence was enough to create a frightful experience to any mortal, how much more a multitude of celestial beings? And yet, fearful as she may be from the most unusual sight she just beheld, her countenance remained calm and serene, stemming from an inner peace that has the inability to be disturbed.

“She raised her veil to cover her head and I heard her heart utter a prayer for protection. I realized that she didn’t know that I am from God. And so, I said: “Hail, Kecharitomene (which means Favored One)! The Lord is with you.” Kecharitomene – the name God gave to her, her eternal name in the Heavens, a name that perfectly described her relationship with the Lord – God favored her from all creation. There was a look of surprise and bewilderment at her face, making her look even more beautiful, if it was even possible. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God”, I said. Mary did not panic nor tremble, she just remained silent, closing her eyes and folding her hands in deep meditation on what was just said of her. As for me, I was amazed at the calmness that she exhibited, very unusual for a person who has encountered an immortal being. Usually, they either scramble out of fear or collapse in terror. And yet, Mary was not a usual person. She was predestined for this great moment. She was gifted with extraordinary peace.

“Few moments passed when she raised her gaze upon me, and I continued: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” At the mention of this glorious name, all invisible angels and I genuflected in adoration. Many of them prostrated in worship. “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”, I continued. Then I stood.

“For the first time, Mary replied with the sweetest voice I have ever heard, more sweeter than the angelic choirs of Heaven, a voice that penetrates the very being, enveloping those who hear them with indescribable joy and peace, like being embraced with security. “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” Her reply was a question not coming from doubt but a clarification of her duty. This impressed me even more since it gave a glimpse of her submission, even if she did not give her consent yet. Her discreet yes was poised as a question of clarification, as if she was saying: “yes, I will do what you said but please tell me how to do it for I am but a simple girl”. Her inquiry also exposed her profound humility, unseen even from among the angels. She was willing to let go of her will for the greater good.

“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.” At this, Mary let go of a smile so beautiful and so radiant that all of us, the invisible angels and I, were captivated and fell in love. She was silent in intense adoration. Suddenly, we were looking at her as God sees her – His beloved. From thence, I made a promise to myself that I will be her soldier, her servant, and her slave for all eternity. I will be at her beck and call, ready to take her requests as my command. In my heart I was singing: “take me, Mary, as your own. Be pleased to do with me as you will. To the ends of the Earth, I will go. To the farthest corners of the universe, I will traverse. To the bottomless pit, I will travel. To the depths of the netherworld, I will take flight, if it is your desire. Just give me a sigh and my will is yours. Oh, sweet name of Mary, you are my delight and my joy.” Mary was taking-in the wonderful news she received, and I was taking-in her boundless beauty, and I was thankful to God for making me His messenger. Praise be the Most High!

“I resumed with more good news: “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 stared directly into me, and her eyes were filled with delight at the glad tidings of her kinswoman. I was gazing at the beauty of the universe, trapped within her eyes – dark yet brilliant, discreet yet full of life, totally exposed yet full of mystery. I can stare at it forever. These are the eyes that says a thousand words. These are the eyes that are blessed to look God eye to eye.

“Then, the moment all the Heavens, all the Earth, and all the souls of the prophets, patriarchs and the elect from eras gone by have been waiting for such a long time – Mary’s response, her precious consent, her holy cooperation: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Oh glorious words, Oh marvelous utterance, Oh blissful communication! At these words, all angels prostrated, and I genuflected with a deep bow towards Mary for at the release of her verses, the sky opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on her, and with Him was the entire Heavenly Paradise, embracing her with light so bright that we have to cover our faces for we are unworthy to witness the greatest miracle – the Word made flesh. The Second Person of the Trinitarian God was planted in her womb in that Divine embrace. Heaven kissed Earth. God became man. Mary is the new Heaven of the Most High, His new dwelling place where He takes His rest, His Paradise where He alone resides.

“In a split of a second, in a moment that cannot be captured by memory, we were again back at her room with Mary praying. I dare not disturb her contemplation. In my eyes, she was radiating with Divine light, emanating from her womb and into every part of her and all around her. She was serenity personified. Quietly, I stepped backwards ever so discreetly, fading into the invisible realm from whence I came, never turning my back at her. Once I found myself outside her home, with one command from me, and with one unified deep genuflection towards Mary, all angels were back on flight towards Heaven. I remained behind to keep guard on this most precious treasure. Heaven has become her. Where she is, there will I always be, invisibly watching, guarding, serving, and venerating.

“Inside the little home of Nazareth, Mary was busy packing her things. She was to travel as soon as possible to Ein Kerem, to her relative Elizabeth, to be of assistance. I was on a constant watch over her and worshipping the Sacred Babe forming in her holy womb. Mary received the greatest blessing, and her response was service. Blessed be her Holy Name.

“As the rest of the angels were ecstatically gliding from time to eternity, from here on Earth, I can hear their victorious supplications to God. Their voices resounded throughout time, space, and eternity as they were singing the eternal hymn of jubilation: “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and Earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna in the highest!”

The 2nd Joyful Mystery, soon.

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