The National Catholic Review
Yet you do not blink.
In the intimacy of a bedchamber
Your soul is awakened from sleep,
Fragile flesh before angelic brilliance.
Your rumpled night sheets tossed aside,
You listen in peace with your whole self
To the question that will define history.
Holding its breath for your answer,
All heaven pauses.
Here it begins.
In such utter simplicity,
In quiet strength, at the appointed hour,
With the rippled rungs of time at your feet,
And the broad lines of history at your back.
At the balance of His grace in your will,
Eve reborn, humanity to be redeemed
Through a child, from a virgin
Whose name is Mary.

J. Michael Sparough, S.J., is director of Charis Ministries, a center for retreats and spiritual direction for young adults in the Chicago area. Art: The Annunciation, 1898. Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937). Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1

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