The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.’ (Luke 1.19)
It’s not a bad job really. Some of the other angels have a tougher time than I do. Take Michael – always fighting; take Raphael – always with sick people. But you see, I am Gabriel and it’s my job, when there’s a bit of good news to be shared, to take it from God to whoever needs to hear it. I don’t know why I got the job, but I’m not looking for another one.
But what surprises me, when I turn up, unannounced – that’s the way we do it, we just appear – some people aren’t as happy with good news as you’d imagine they would be. I went with a message to a priest –now you would have thought he would have been receptive to a messenger from God. And the thing was it was something that he and his wife had been longing for for so many years. Every one assumed that that was it as far as having a family was concerned. But I found him at his duties in the Temple and surprised him with the news that his wife, Elizabeth, was to have a child. But instead of leaping for joy he questioned what I said to the extent that he was struck dumb until the child was born.
But it was different with Mary. I found her at her prayers. She was quiet, nothing more than a girl really and I tried not to shock her. She listened, she asked a question and then she simply accepted what I’d say ‘Let it be with me according to your word.’ And with that I left her.
I made sure, of course, that I was there when the baby was born, but I wasn’t alone, we all turned out, angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven. We filled the skies with a choir and we sang and sang and sang to God’s glory.
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
And on earth peace amongst those whom he favours.’
Now I watch the children pretending to be me. All the little girls, and some of the boys, want to be angels, to have a halo, some tinsel, some wings reminding people of what we did, what I did. I don’t blame them – it’s one of the best bits of the story. And I rejoice when I hear my own words repeated around the world as people pray
Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.