This one on Mary and the Angels…:
” . . .
Heaven preserves the courtesy without the snobbery. And so the angel Gabriel, a creature vastly superior to humans in the natural order, bows to a young peasant Jewish girl and speaks with the utmost reverence and courtesy in language reserved for greeting a monarch or Emperor. Normally, you said (if you were a Roman) “Hail, Caesar!” But Gabriel bows himself before a teenager in patched clothes from some ditchwater town in a forgotten backwater of Caesar’s great empire and addresses her as royalty. This superhuman being who has perhaps existed since before the Big Bang, who witnessed the breakup of Pangaea, the age of the dinosaurs, the formation of the Himalayas, and the long slow anguish of the human race since the Fall has come to this little shack of sticks and stones in Nazareth to declare to this delicate thing of water, protein, and spirit that she is to give to Gabriel’s God what Gabriel will never have: the flesh and blood of a man. And, even more astonishingly, she consents — without three years of continual training like Peter, without getting knocked off a horse like Paul, without any of the long preliminary hesitations and backpedalings that characterize Moses, Gideon, Isaiah or even her cousin Zechariah. She hits the ground running: ready, willing and able to say, “Be it unto me according to thy word!”
. . .
For surrender is death, according to the world. And so the world produces men and women who distill the worship of power down to truly bitter dregs, to gain the whole world while losing their own souls. But Mary’s surrender to God leads to the mystery of total dependence on God — and the paradox of happiness through the bitter cross. The Son before whom she kneels is not some selfish boor of this fallen world, but the second Adam who undergoes a defeat far more profound than her own self-surrender so that He may exalt her to a glory above all other creatures. In Him and Him alone, power and love are reconciled, and we find not servility crushed by domination, but humility crowned with glory.
That’s why Gabriel bows to her. For, as Padre Pio said, angels envy us in this alone: that they cannot suffer with Christ as we can. Mary is hailed because the strange favor of God is with her, bestowing on her the bitterness of the Mother of Sorrows, whose heart will be pierced by the same lance that pierced the heart of her Son — and who will receive a glory second only to His when she sees Him risen and, in due time, herself shares in His risen life in the Assumption and takes her place above even Gabriel — who already sees and rejoices over it as he announces the Incarnation to her astonished ears…”