On this March twenty-sixth we celebrate Our Lord’s conception in Mary’s womb. The aspect of the event that struck folk in the Middle Ages was the quiet of it. In an indelicate comparison to most copulation, they sang about the stillness of that moment.
“He came all so still to his mother’s bower as dew in April that falleth on the flower. He came all so still where his mother lay, as dew in April that falleth on the spray.
Mother and maiden, was never none but she. Well may such a maiden God’s mother be.”
I often think of this feast day in 1976. It fell on a Thursday. I was saying weekday Masses in a little chapel in Crescent City, ninety miles south of here. The same eight or nine people showed up on weekdays.
We had a bigger church on Highway 17 for Sunday Mass. The Sunday before, with no ideas for a homily I told the people that the Annunciation should be our biggest feast day. With God taking on human form it was the most eventful happening in history.
My remarks registered with people. After Mass some of them asked me if Thursday, the Feast of the Annunciation were a holyday of obligation. Even during the week people phoned to ask if the Feast of the Annunciation were a holy day of obligation.
I thought all the inquiries would lead to people packing the chapel On Thursday, but only four people came.
Back then people came to Sunday Mass and Mass on Holy Days of Obligation because missing meant a mortal sin. People didn’t come on Thursday because they didn’t want to look like overly pious people who came when they didn’t have to.