The Annunciation

Traditionally on Monday we pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. In that connection, here is one of my favorite paintings of the Annunciation (the first Joyful Mystery):

Click to see a larger version of the image.

Click to see a larger version of the image.

It was painted by Jan van Eyck ca. 1435, and now hangs in our own National Gallery of Art in the United States. One is surprised to see how small it is in person.

If you click on the above image you can get a better view of it. The Angel Gabriel has the words “Ave, gratia plena” (Hail, full of grace) issuing from his mouth. The words of Our Lady are “Ecce, ancilla Domini” (Behold, the handmaid of the Lord). But the interesting thing is that her words are painted upside down! This is to show that she was speaking them to God (i.e. they are visible to Him “above”).

May we make her words our own, each day of our lives, especially today: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to Your will”!

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