Mary Pregnant -- Surprise, or Terror?

by Arthur Jones

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In Full of Grace: Encountering Mary in Faith, Art and Life, Judith Dupré writes:

"Mary's consent to become the Mother of God—the Annunciation—reveals the utter strangeness of God's interventions in human history. In Simone Martini's 14th century "Annunciation," created for Siena Cathedral's Saint Ansano Chapel, we experience the shock of Gabriel's arrival along with Mary, whose gestures convey her surprise. She pulls her cloak to her face, averts her eyes and puts down her book."

The author quotes Yeats' description of Mary's response as "Terror of all terrors that I bore the Heavens in my womb.” Is this an even more apt description of a teenager suddenly confronted with the news she is pregnant with the Son of God?

In The Marian Blog, NCR books editor Arthur Jones invites a discussion on envisioning Mary, the mother of Jesus, in 21st-century terms.

Jones has been a Catholic journalist since before the Second Vatican Council. This month, Paulist Press releases his latest book, Mary, a Mother Waiting, Raising the Messiah. Jones describes his book as an exploration of the mother-son relationship of Mary and Jesus during the “hidden years,” until she eases him front and center into his ministry at Cana.

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