Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Shalom, Mary" by Kathleen Techler

This is the first letter from "Shalom, Mary: Letters the Blessed Virgin Might Have Written" by Kathleen Techler, available at

Dear Rebekah,

I have just received the most wondrous blessing possible, and now I am sitting here trying to comprehend it.

Today I was alone in the house weaving a new cloak for Father. The day was dreary and dark, so that even with the light from the doorway it was difficult to see my work.

Suddenly a brilliant light shone on the wool, as though the sun had come from behind a cloud. Startled, I looked up—into the eyes of an angel! Really, Rebekah! He was standing beside the loom. His face was so bright that he was hard to look upon. He wore a white robe with a golden sash, and long silvery hair curled around his shoulders.

He smiled. “Rejoice, oh highly favored daughter,” he said. “Blessed are you among women.”

My heart was beating fast, and my mouth was so dry I could not speak. Deeply troubled, I stared up at him, wondering why he had come.

“Do not fear, Mary,” he said gently. “You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. Great will be his dignity, and he will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his reign will be without end.”

I knew this must be a messenger from God, so I believed him, but I was very puzzled. “How can this be, since I do not know man?” I asked. And I immediately thought of Joseph, my betrothed.

The angel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon me, and the power of the Most High overshadow me. So my baby would be called Son of God. And then the angel told me that my cousin Elizabeth is in her sixth month! She is very old and has always believed she was sterile, but she is going to have a child. As the angel said, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

I looked into the angel’s kind face as he waited for my answer. God was asking me for a favor, and of course I would obey! Bowing my head, I said, “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.”

At that, the angel disappeared! One minute he was there, and the next minute he was gone. The room was shadowy again, and I blinked my eyes to accustom them to the dimness. Stunned, I sat on my stool and fingered the soft wool on the loom while my heart slowed to normal and an incredible peace came over me. Whatever the future brings, I want only to do God’s will.

My son, the Son of God! How can I tell my parents? Will they understand and believe me? Or will they think I was dreaming? And what of Joseph? I am fourteen and old enough for marriage now. How could he possibly accept this news as the truth? I pray that he will not be angry! What if he publicly denounces me? I do not believe I could bear it!

Maybe I should wait a few weeks before telling anyone. But then Mother would say, “Why have you kept this secret from us?” No, I must tell her today, and I am sure God will help me.

When Rabbi Eleazar taught us to read and write and told us about the coming Messiah, remember how we wondered what it would be like to be His mother? How little I knew then what was in store for me!

I wish you had not moved away, Rebekah, so we could talk. But fortunately, Father’s friend gave me this papyrus, so I am sure you will receive many letters from me. I am sending this with Azor, the merchant, who will be traveling to Damascus next week.
I hope your father’s new dyeing business is doing well. Greet your parents for me. I miss you very much! Please try to answer soon.


1 comment:

  1. Kathleen, this is beautiful. I love the image of the light shining through the wool on the is so perfect a metaphor for the Incarnation - heavenly light emerging from within a human matrix (matrix = womb!). I will look for more of your letters, thank you. Charlotte Ostermann