Mary is Pregnant
When I was Archdeacon of Italy, I lived in Milan, where I became friendly with many of the clergy of the Ambrosian Catholic Church, as they preferred to be called (rather than “Roman Catholic”, which they in fact were). It was because I knew the Servite priests, who run the church of San Carlo in the Corso, that I was allowed to spend an hour or so in that church alone, after the doors had been locked one evening.
I wanted to do this because they had a quite wonderful exhibition of about forty paintings from all over Italy, each showing “Maria in Attesa” as the exhibition was called – “Mary Waiting” is the literal English translation. And what she was waiting for in every painting was the birth of the Son of God.
Almost all the great Italian masters had painted the pregnant Mary, and the exhibition was worth tens of millions. So a muscular guard accompanied me as I made my way round the exhibit. Or, rather, as I prayed my way round: each painting was like a rosary bead, and the Mystery I was contemplating as I studied each Mary was the glory of her patient trust in God’s will for her and her soon-to-be-born baby.
I sang a Mass this morning for the Feast of the Expectation of Mary, as the English Missal calls it, and it took me right back to San Carlo and that fine gathering of pictures of Pregnant Mary, which I presume have all returned to the many corners of Italy from which they were borrowed.
Soon she will be delivered of the Baby. May she pray for us all, and help us to be delivered into God’s Kingdom.