Something has struck me about the Annunciation. Read carefully.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, â€œGreetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!â€ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, â€œDo not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.â€
And Mary said to the angel, â€œHow will this be, since I am a virgin?â€
And the angel answered her, â€œThe 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 holyâ€”the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.â€ And Mary said, â€œBehold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.â€ And the angel departed from her.
(Luke 1:26-38 ESV)
Here’s the thing. It strikes me that God simply decides to use Mary to bear Jesus. There is no option given, there is no decision to be made (apart from that of accepting the will of God). Gabriel states a simple fact – “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus”. That which God has decreed to occur occurs and there is no choice of man or woman that will stop it being so. Mary’s two responses are just to ask a quick biology question (which Gabriel has easily covered) and then to accept God’s plan for her. No decision. No options.
How does that square with people who claim that “God would never force himself upon us”? Strikes me that in the Annunciation that is *exactly* what he does.
Anyway, it’s a perfect excuse to play this. Best version of Gaudete ever.