Today, the 25th March, the Solemnity of The Annunciation of the Lord, is traditionally called ‘Lady Day’. Anyone who has a liking for the novels of Thomas Hardy would know that Lady Day had massive significance for rural life a century or more ago. Back in the Middle Ages this was the beginning of the civil year, it coincides with the spring equinox and the Old Lady Day (6th April) is still the start of the fiscal (the tax) year here in Great Britain.
The wonderful thing about this day is you can really begin to see that spring has sprung, the garden is coming to life and the birds are giving it full on in the morning. How fitting then that Mary was visited by Gabriel and given the ‘good’ news that she was to be the mother of Our Lord. This is truly a most wonderful solemnity – nature and the heavens rejoice this day at the momentous events, the momentous decision made by Mary all those years ago. It is so so sad that we cannot at least open up our churches in these infected days. However, there is something in which we can rejoice – for today there is no Lenten discipline. It is good to remember that to keep Lent well also involves knowing when to relax and embrace the holy pleasure of this day.
So do enjoy this day the best you can in these difficult times – it is after all a holy duty. And do remember those who are isolated at this time, and give them a phone call.