“All is now ready for the Moment I was made for: the Moment all Creation has awaited.”
Gabriel received Roma’s report with satisfaction and now he tingled with expectation. He had done little in the Divine Plan since he had prophesied to Daniel 500 years before. Carefully, he had traced David’s line through the Exile and Return, counting down the years to the Fullness of Time. With singular joy, he had announced Mary’s birth to Joachim and Anne. At last! His Queen had arrived, the Aurora of Salvation! Now, Gabriel’s own Confession of Faith, from the beginning of the Aevum, could be confirmed by her!
That is, if this girl were the one God had chosen. Though Gabriel could see her complete virginity, her docility, her great natural grace, and her miraculous birth, he had not seen her inner soul. That sanctum in every man is revealed to his guardian only at God’s Will, or at the permission of the man himself. Neither Gabriel nor Mary’s guardian, a little Angel named Lily, had seen her commit any sin, but even that did not make this 15-year-old Temple virgin the one the Eternal Father wanted. If she refused Gabriel’s request, how would he find the true Queen? There seemed no others of David’s line who were worthy, but Providence had His own ways…
Now, Gabriel nodded to Sacerdos and Angelo to accompany him down to Nazareth. This would be no fantastic entourage he would bring for his Message. Mary’s role in Salvation, large or small, was hidden even from himself, another precaution against the spies of the infernal powers.
Angelo trembled as he followed Gabriel down to earth. He knew, with the intuition only a pure spirit can have, how to guide a man to virtue. He needed no experience for that. But here, for the only time in all history, Time would now contain some Truth no angel had known: a God-Man.
“Could we be any less ready?” Sacerdos wondered. “Hardly had we glimpsed the Godhead, and already he wants us to be His very guardians, after a mere age of time! What is your thought, Angelo?”
Angelo examined his gladius, wondering what sort of tactics the demons would unleash on his charge: the King of kings. “It looks like our unreadiness is another opportunity for you to do what you do best: make it an offering.”
Sacerdos brightened at the mention of his special charism, but his countenance darkened immediately after. “I’m just afraid of what we were told at the Test: that this Son of Man must suffer and die. There is no way I can prepare for that.”
“Friends,” Gabriel interjected, “remember that your mission may not begin here and now. We may have misinterpreted the prophesies, and this girl, Mary, is free to reject the Divine Offer to become His Mother. Pray God we are not wrong; this world will feel my most intense disappointment if this dear one is not the Queen and I must find another.”
They arrived in Nazareth. Angelo realized just how much secrecy the heavenly hosts had planned in the endeavor. The village held nothing kingly, nothing powerful for earth or heaven. Galilee had been under the Baals and Ishtar for a long time, and could hardly be farther away from the sway of Jerusalem. The Jews here had learned to live alongside the Gentiles more quietly, making revolution rather unwanted and a Messiah less urgent for them. The only reason the devils kept any watch here was the rather ill-known prophesy, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” No, far more demons surrounded Jerusalem and little Bethlehem than unimportant Nazareth.
The demons were even ready to dismiss Mary as the promised Mother: she was betrothed, and her husband, Joseph, could take her virginity any day now. Nevertheless, the three messengers came to her home without any show of special favor.
Entering the house of Joachim, Gabriel looked intently at the girl, with Lily kneeling at her side. Mary was standing near the door, facing south, towards Jerusalem. Her eyes closed, she was whispering in prayer.
“Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brought us out of Egypt! Prepare me to travel to your holy City to join in the feast of Passover. And, O Lord, send your People the Prophet, so we, your children, may be finally delivered from exile, and from sin.”
Lily looked up at her, moved by the prayer’s purity. Gabriel and the two others knelt as well, honoring this Princess among Men. Surely, this was the one the Most High had chosen!
Mary stood in prayer for several minutes, and the angels drank in her spiritual beauty. Gabriel dared not disturb her contemplation.
Then, she bowed her head. “If only the Most High would heal the suffering in my heart for my people,” she sighed.
Then, she turned her head. Gabriel had taken visible form as he knelt on the floor. Lily rose, ready to catch Mary if she should fall prostrate in fear at the Dominion before her. But Mary did not fall, unlike all others who had seen the spirits.
Gabriel began his message, which he had prepared from the very beginning of Time on earth: “Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” But already he stopped, taken in by her expression. She was not exactly afraid, nor even quite puzzled. No, she was…troubled. He could read it in her face, “Why is this son of God kneeling to me?” Ah! She is not aware of her rank or her own sinlessness!
“Fear not, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Here, Gabriel continued his planned speech: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.”
Angelo bowed low at this Name. Would she accept? Would the Mission of all missions begin for Angelo?
“He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
Angelo marveled at this. In this question, he saw how much she valued her consecration of virginity to God. She wanted to know if God desired to take it. Lily was beaming with joy at this beautiful purity.
Gabriel spoke with a voice full of happiness and wonder. “The 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 holy, the Son of God.” Overflowing with happiness at merely talking to such a Lady as this, Gabriel added, “And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
The last bit, the “proof” Gabriel gave of the Divine Power, was completely unnecessary for Mary. All four knew she would accept, from her first words. But Sacerdos fairly burst into flames of love at her response.
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Such purity! Such humility! Such self-offering! Sacerdos fell down before her, and Gabriel stared at her for a bit longer as a quiet Wind blew in through the door. Then Gabriel and Lily departed, unworthy to kneel in her presence, or in That Which had arrived in the room. They stood guard outside: this Union must be seen by no powers of Hell.
Angelo fell down beside Sacerdos as the Spirit blew through the little house. Mary had sat down on a little stool and allowed the Spirit into her being. The two angels looked up as they heard small bells tinkling from above: thousands of Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim rang bells and sang softly as the Eternal Breath created the Man in her womb: “Et Verbum caro factum est, hic et nunc.” She gave her consent and the Father sent His Eternal Word.
In ecstasy, Angelo and Sacerdos shook with the Power she took into herself. Then, the Spirit left and all was quiet. They looked up. She sat, calm and composed, fully aware of the Divinity…but as calm as if she had known Him all her life. She felt her bosom, then stood up, clearly feeling a little ill. She recovered and began to busy herself around the room.
Mary began gathering a few things into a sack, clearly preparing for travel. Angelo stood, awed. She was going, pregnant, to visit her cousin Elizabeth before she went to Jerusalem for the Passover!
Sacerdos stood as well, nudging his companion. “And the Child?” he asked.
Angelo shook himself. Of course! Together, they examined the little baby, nestled in the virginal womb: the Christ, the Son of God, whom they were to guard throughout his life.
As expected, they found two little cells, held together by a human soul. There was no sight, hearing, touch, or brain activity; naturally, no knowledge could be there at all. The ovum clearly came from Mary, but the other cell? The one God created from nothing? Where had Angelo seen that configuration of a human cell before?
“Angelo!” Sacerdos cried, “Look into his soul!”
His soul? Was God revealing inside his soul to them already?
Light filled his soul: the Light of God’s Life, since he, too, was “Full of Grace.” They had expected this: the God-Man would not know sin at conception. But both fell back from the Child when they looked into his intellect. Jesus had seen nothing, heard nothing, learned nothing by sense. But already, God the Son had human knowledge, imparted by the Divine:
“I Am, Who Am.”