Monday, August 22, 2005

What Happened Then

[A note from Dr. Thursday: This playlet appears by special permission from the Editor-in-Chief of Something Good To Read. As August 22 is the feast of the Queenship of Mary and the gospel today was St. Luke's story of the Annunciation, I thought this would be especially good today...]

What Happened Then

[This playlet was written a long time ago by our staff, and we have traditionally printed it in our March 25 anniversary issue. Eds.]


Everyone knows that there have been several important milestones in the history of communication: the first spoken word, the first written word, the double discovery of Europe and of America in 1492, the "What hath God wrought" of Morse, the "Mr. Watson, come here, I need you" of Bell, the trans-Atlantic "S" of Marconi, the video signal of the moon landing in 1969. None of these was the greatest message of all time. Nor yet was even The Announcement of Gabriel to Mary that she was to be the Mother of God. It was the reply which Gabriel brought back to God from her. It is part of the same conversation of Mary and the angel Gabriel - but one upon which very little emphasis seems to be placed. In Luke 1:38, just after Mary utters the greatest words ever spoken on earth - "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to thy word" - comes the short phrase which states "with that, the angel left her."

Now this moment is of the greatest fascination, since for a "time" infinitely shorter than any physical interval of time, Gabriel "knew" Mary's answer, and with speed beyond speed he "flew" back to the throne of God to report it. That's why they are called "angels" - because they carry messages. Of course God is omniscient, and cannot ever be in the position of not knowing anything. But, in that happy phrase known as the "economy of salvation," it is possible for us to imagine Him waiting anxiously, with all the yearning and hope of the Jews down through the centuries... Then up flies Gabriel with a special delivery "Celestial Express" package:

Scene: Heaven. In the center, God is seated on His throne. Crowds of angels are hovering around; the appearance is of a very busy but perfectly orderly office. Desks, computer terminals, big ledger books with quill pens, immense filing cabinets stretch out into the distance. Gabriel enters, dressed as an overnight deliveryman, wearing a beeper, and carrying a clipboard and an envelope.

Gabriel looks at the package, then back at the Beatific Vision, as if there might be some doubt. He reads the label:

Gabriel: "God?"

God: excitedly, with great anticipation Yes?

Gabriel: nods, and hands Him the package, and a delivery slip. Message for You from Mary in Nazareth. Gabriel hands Him the clipboard. Sign here.

God: Signs, and takes the envelope. Thanks. He reads the outside of the envelope, fumbles with the seal, pulls out the letter and reads.

Gabriel: to a nearby angel Well, it looks like another Earth project. He scratches below his halo with the pen. It's gonna mean a lot more work for us. Maybe even more than that week-long construction project a while back. Lots of messages. He taps the clipboard meaningfully.

God: Excitedly, very loudly: Aaaalriiiight! The sound echoes through the immense room, and all the angels look up from their work. She said yes!

Gabriel: to angel See? to God Will there be a reply?

God: with a slight shake of His head. You need not bother, I'll handle it Myself. Actually with a slight chuckle, or perhaps a loud guffaw, I AM the Reply.

At this, the celestial choirs break into gales of laughter, and immediately begin rehearsals for their Christmas performance... Perhaps the chorus from "Angels We Have Heard on High."


At 22 August, 2005 14:23, Blogger Nancy C. Brown said...

Your sense of fine humor is so excellent, and your imagination well-excercised.
What a fun thing to read for today's feast!
Thank you.


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