Luke 1:43. “Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’”
In the innermost courts of the temple in Jerusalem, a veil separated humanity from the Holy of Holies, where the Spirit of God rested upon the Ark of the Covenant. An ancient, non-biblical story says that the Virgin Mary was one of the young women chosen to weave a new veil for the temple and that she was doing so when the Angel Gabriel arrived to announce his strange and beautiful message. One way to interpret Mary’s question to Gabriel is that she sees her virginity as a veil separating her from the reality of Gabriel’s announcement.
We all have veils that separate us from God—veils of fear, shame, and guilt. We live behind the veil of what we have done and left undone. We are veiled in logic and rationalism, unable or unwilling to abandon ourselves to Mystery. Often, our veils are the lives we have created for ourselves, what we see is what we get.
We may offer excuses and hide ourselves behind all the veils we can find, explaining and exclaiming why Gabriel’s announcement cannot be true for each of us, and the angel will proclaim in our own ears: “Nothing will be impossible with God.”
*Originally written for and published by Forward Day by Day.