|Ivanov Alexander Andreevich's The Annunciation (1850)|
Huh? A married woman still in the dark about the "birds and the bees"? The Bible has other accounts of angels announcing the birth of children, but none of them record the mother needing a lesson in the facts of life. I don't think Mary did either, and I'm not alone. A long line of biblical interpreters have understood Mary's question as revealing a decision on her part - a vow to God - to remain a virgin, even after she went to live with Joseph. If that was the case then her question to the angel makes sense. "I have consecrated my virginity to the Lord, I have made my life a virginal offering to him. How can I conceive a child?"
Gabriel's response is one of my favorite verses in the whole of Scripture, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called the Son of God" (Lk.1:35). Only God could conceive of a way of serving Him in which physical virginity and physical motherhood can exist side-by-side. It wasn't the way Mary had conceived of in serving Him. She had heard the call to consecrated virginity, never imagining that there could be a subsequent call to Motherhood! How could she imagine something like that? Naturally speaking it makes no sense! But God is above nature.
He is above nature, and He is above you and me. When life takes a "wrong" turn and our plans to serve God seem in shambles, take a step back. It's possible that you heard incorrectly, but it's also quite possible that the Lord has only revealed a small portion of the larger work He intends for you. Rest assured, nothing is wasted. Even the sins committed against us have been woven into God's plan (Gen.5:20; Rom.8:28). Take your Mother's hand, throw yourself into your Father's arms, and be at peace. ("Hail Mary ..., Our Father ...)