A Woman, An Angel, A Sign

A Woman, An Angel, A Sign March 26, 2024

a carving depicting the Angel Gabriel kneeling before the Virgin Mary
image via Pixabay


The most important person in the world is a woman.

Barely even a woman, really. A teenage girl.

The most important person in the world is a woman of a conquered race in an occupied country. The most important person is an only child, in a culture that views large numbers of children as a sign of Divine favor. She is a virgin in a culture where a woman’s identity depends on who she’s married to.

The most important thing is that God is coming to Earth to make things right. He is coming to earth to make things right, by becoming a part of the earth and living rightly on earth until the earth kills Him. That will undo what Adam did wrong. That will open Paradise and wed Heaven to Earth.  That’s been the plan from the beginning. God is able to do this by living and dying. We are not.

Before He does this, God sends the angel. The name of the angels is Gabriel, which means  God is my strength, God is strong, Hero of God, God is Able, God can do, the Able-bodied one of God, Man of God. 

The angel does not go to a king or a warrior or a wealthy man to make this announcement. They went to the temple to talk to the priest six months ago, but that was to tell the priest that the priest would be the father of God’s Forerunner. When the priest asked how this miracle was possible, the angel cursed him to be unable to speak until the day the Forerunner receives his name. The priest is still silent. Priests have told us the will of God for centuries, but now, the priest cannot speak. We have heard enough from them, and the Lord is going to speak through somebody more important.

The angel goes to the most important person in the world: a young woman named Miriam.

They greet her with “Ave,” an address that’s used for important people. She’s never been greeted that way. He praises her for being full of grace and the Lord’s favor, which she’s surely never been told before.  They tell her what God would like to do for her, and through her, for the world.

She asks the same question the priest asked: how?

The angel doesn’t curse her for that. She’s far too important. He explains the mystery, ever so politely, something he wouldn’t do for the priest.

All of eternity waits on her consent.

The choice is hers. It’s not the priest’s and it’s not the king’s.  It’s not the choice of the Roman Emperor. It’s not the choice of some rich, important man, or of any man at all, not even the man she’s been betrothed to marry. The Incarnation of God depends upon the consent of the most important person in the world. And she knows just what to say.

Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.

Then Almighty God becomes incarnate– gently, ever so gently, impossibly gently, without wind, without earthquake, without fire, without conquest, without violence, without lust, without sex, without breaking her hymen, because God loves God’s creation, and did not come to break it. Breaking is something that human beings do. Violence is ours and not God’s.

The priest is silent now. He cannot tell us what God wills. Miriam the ever-virgin Mother of God is become the sign of God’s Will, and the will of God is to enter the world without breaking.

And Miriam goes off into the hill country to visit her cousin, and the two women prophesy to one another about the miracles God is performing, and still, the priest is silent.

Everything that happened later, happened because of this.



Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.


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