Imaging the story:
It is March 25, with in a few years of the year we call 1, and a 14-year old named Mary or Myriam in Hebrew goes out to graze a small flock of goats on a rocky hillside in Galilee. A typical Jewish girl of her time, she wears a straight sun-bleached dress, is deeply tanned, and has dark brown hair woven into a braid that swings across her back as she runs happily up the hill. She is thinking about Joseph, a local woodworker to whom she is engaged.
Mary is as ordinary as her name and expectations. Marriage and motherhood lie ahead, and the hard life of the very poor. After the ceremony she will wear a long veil and move to a shabby one-room house just like her parents', made of stone with an earthen floor and high-placed air vents admitting a bit of light. Like her ancestors for may centuries, Mary will cook over an open fire, sit on the ground to eat, and sleep on a thin mat. Her mother and grandmother have trained her well in women's ways of nurturing a family, tending to the sick and dying with home-grown herbal medicines, and helping in childbirth.
Picture Mary in you imagination as she finds a patch of dusty land with just enough grass to feed her small flock for the day. Already thirsty, she takes a small drink of water from her wineskin when something alarming happens, something too amazing to be real, and she is shaken to her core. An angel has appeared right in front of her. Imagine your self in her place. What would you be feeling and thinking?
Mary is afraid, but the angel is beautiful, and he speaks to her in a soothing, tender voice. Quickly, she calms herself. The message is curious, inappropriate, as though it were meant for someone else, and she struggles with herself before she speaks. What is it like for you to be there with Mary, listing to her conversation with Gabriel? If you could speak to Mary, what would you say? What would she reply? Continue your conversation with her if you wish. What did you learn from your conversation with Mary?
The Way of Mary, Following Her footsteps Toward God ~ Mary Ford-Grabowsky, pg 51,52