And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,…
One morning, according to the old legend, "as she went to draw water from the spring or well in the green open space at the north-west extremity of the town," the Angel met her with the Salutation. And Mary was troubled at the tidings and the praise. It was the trouble of a beautiful unconsciousness. She had never thought of herself, never asked herself whether she were pure or lovely, did not care what people thought of her, made no effort to appear to the little world of Nazareth other than she was A rare excellence in man or woman, this fair unconsciousness! — rarer than ever now. Our miscalled education, which looks chiefly to this, how a young girl may make a good figure in society, destroys often from the earliest years the beauty of unconsciousness of self. There are many who have never had a real childhood, never been unconscious, who possess already the thoughts and airs of womanhood, and who are applauded as objects to admire, instead of being pitied as victims of an unnatural training. Their manners, conversation, attitudes, are the result of art. Already they tremble, as we do, for the verdict of the world. They grow up and enter into society, and there is either a violent reaction against conventionality, or a paralyzing sensitiveness to opinion, or a dull repose of character all but equivalent to stagnation. We see many who are afraid of saying openly what they think or feel, if it be in opposition to the accredited opinions of the world; we see others who rejoice in shocking opinion for the sake of making themselves remarkable — perhaps the basest form of social vanity, for it gives pain, and does not spring from conviction. Both forms arise from the education which makes the child self-conscious. It is miserable to see how we actually take pains to root out of our children the beauty of the Virgin's early life, the beauty of a more Divine life in Christ — the beauty of unconsciousness of self.
(Stopford A. Brooke, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,