Sunday, 21 December 2008

Mary, the Handmaid of the Lord

While the characters of the prophet Isaiah and St John the Baptist dominate the first half of Advent, in these latter days of the season it is Mary, the mother of Jesus, who comes to the fore. In the Gospel at Mass today we hear of the Annunciation: God announces through the angel Gabriel that He is to send His Son as our Saviour. Mary speaks not only for herself but for the whole human race when she accepts this gift, submitting to God's will and describing herself as 'the handmaid of the Lord'. The above image is taken from the reredos in the Cathedral Lady Chapel. The angel is seen on the left, Mary on the right. Above them the Holy Spirit is depicted in the form of a dove, as it was by the Spirit's power that Jesus was miraculously conceived.