Monday, December 21, 2009

Gabriel and Mary

12th-century icon of Archangel Gabriel from No...Image via Wikipedia

Reading a lovely story over at Lucy's place this last week, I was inwardly encouraged to share a small story bouncing around in my heard for a while; it might be categorized more as a myth or a tale or even a story -

His name was Gabriel and he was the most honored and powerful angel in that far off and wonderful place called heaven. Gabriel had been in heaven so many years that even he couldn't remember so occasionally he liked to go "on assignment" to explore more of what was happening outside of heaven. However, this latest assignment was beginning to be a bit more difficult than he expected and he was eager to return home.

The assignment had been explicit but never having dealt much with teenage maidens he had no idea the single-mindedness nor self-centered young women he might encounter while carrying out his sacred duty.

He had visited several young girls in the evenings just prior to their extinguishing the last candle; seemed like a good time, but many of them never even noticed his presence and gave no thought to kneeling in prayer prior to the whoosh of their candle. They just plumped on their beds, mostly dreaming of the young boys they had seen in the marketplace, and the good looking shepherd boys that would soon be returning with their flocks - so rugged, so handsome, so, so, so really cute! Gabriel was astonished at the thoughts running through these girls' heads.

After trying to meet the girls face on and having no luck, Gabriel had resorted to consulting with the girls' mothers; most of the mothers, if they even recognized his presence, just flat out said, "no way, no how - they would not consider such a fate for their daughter. Out of wedlock, God's child, no husband, no dowry, no donkeys - what was with that?! " "Oh God," cried out old Gabe, "are you sure you want to do this?" He truly expected no answer to his prayer as he had volunteered when the boss laid out the plan. What had he been thinking?!

He only had one more day to interview, enlist, bribe, entreat some maiden into being a part of the plan. He had heard at the well that the young girl Mary was a level-headed, devout young woman of character and honor. Raised well by her mother, Mary already was engaged to a respectable young man named Joseph. The engagement might be a problem but perhaps he could persuade Joseph to be a part of the plan as well. At any rate, this Mary was the one, he just knew she was the one so he set out to meet her.

Well, I could go on with my story but mine may bring a version you're more familiar with in Luke 1:26-35 to mind; you may actually remember how that Holy Bible version ends. A far more eminent author and storyteller than I, has a bit of a story of his own about Gabriel and Mary's perhaps actual meeting; I close with it here now and for you to see someday for yourself in a charming book entitled, Peculiar Treasures - by Frederick Buechner, page 39.

"She struck the angel Gabriel as hardly old enough to have a child at all, let alone this child, but he'd been entrusted with a message to give her, and he gave it.

He told her what the child was to be named, and who he was to be, and something about the mystery that was to come upon her. "You mustn't be afraid, Mary," he said.

As he said it, he only hoped she wouldn't notice that beneath the great, golden wings he himself was trembling with fear to think that the whole future of creation hung now on the answer of a girl."

Photo from Wikipedia - 12th Century Icon of Archangel Gabriel

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  1. Marvelous post. I enjoyed every bit of it.

    I was just reading somewhere earlier today about Gabriel, how little we know about this angel, and how he is depicted at a remove from Mary.

    What do we know of angels! What would do without them!

  2. Thanks Maureen. My mind goes "waaayy" out there with the Virgin Mary. Not to overturn traditional thoughts about her, rather the story is so amazing and it stretches my mind to think of the young girl that she was.

  3. oh, i adore this post of mary. you have captured the teenage girls SOOOO well. ah, the frustration for an angel, no doubt.

    wonderful story!!! xoxoxo