There are so many artistic depictions of the Annunciation, but one of my all-time favorites is one that a good friend of mine gave me a few years ago. You can see it below. Not too long afterward I came across a poem by Luci Shaw that seemed to have been written for it. I share that with you as well. Thank you, Mary, for your earth-changing yes. . .
As if until that moment
had happened since Creation
As if outside the world were empty
so that she and he were all
there was–he mover, she moved upon
As if her submission were the most
dynamic of all works; as if
no one had ever said Yes like that
As if that day the sun had no place
in all the universe to pour its gold
but her small room
Found this excellent article on walking through Lent with Mary:
In the wee hours of the morning, shivering from the cold, damp interior of the darkened Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, I lingered in prayer at the rock of Calvary. Resting my hand on the cold rock where the noble cross of Jesus Christ stood upright on the first Good Friday, I prayed. Oh, how I poured my heart out! I was in a spiritual place of desolation when I arrived on retreat in the Holy Land having just gone through a big upheaval in my life. Doors closed, paths turned, and the future seemed unclear to me. I was searching and completely open, available and docile to the next phase of God’s plan for my life.
“O you, whoever you are, who feel that in the tidal wave of this world you are nearer to being tossed about among the squalls and gales than treading on dry land, if you do not want to founder in the tempest, do not avert your eyes from the brightness of this star. When the wind of temptation blows up within you, when you strike upon the rock of temptation, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary. Whether you are being tossed about by the waves of pride or ambition or slander or jealousy, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary. When rage or greed or fleshly desires are battering the skiff of your soul, gaze up at Mary. When the immensity of your sins weighs you down and you are bewildered by the loathsomeness of your conscience, when the terrifying thought of judgment appalls you and you begin to founder in the gulf of sadness and despair, think of Mary. In dangers, in hardships, in every doubt, think of Mary, call out to Mary. Keep her in your mouth, keep her in your heart. Follow the example of her life and you will obtain the favor of her prayer. Following her, you will never go astray. Asking her help, you will never despair. Keeping her in your thoughts, you will never wander away. With your hand in hers, you will never stumble. With her protecting you, you will not be afraid. With her leading you, you will never tire. Her kindness will see you through.” (Bernard of Clairvaux}
“Through the Incarnation of the Word the all-holy Virgin has been given to us as an all-powerful intercessor, who protects us from sins, misfortunes and disasters, praying for us day and night, our queen whose power no enemy–visible or invisible–can withstand, truly our mother by grace in accordance with the words uttered by Christ on the cross to the beloved disciple: Behold thy mother! and to her: Behold thy son!” (Father John of Krondstadt)
Lastly, you never think of Mary without Mary thinking of God for you. You never praise of honor Mary without Mary joining you in praising and honoring God. Mary is entirely relative to God. Indeed I would say that she was relative only to God, because she exists uniquely in reference to him.
She is an echo of God, speaking and repeating only God. If you say ‘Mary’ she says ‘God’. When St. Elizabeth praised Mary calling her blessed because she had believed, Mary, the faithful echo of God responded with her canticle, ‘My soul glorifies the Lord.’ What Mary did on that day, she does every day. When we praise her, when we love and honor her, when we present anything to her, then God is praised, honored and loved and receives our gift through Mary and in Mary.