Even the simplest of what we now understand as ordinary activities and events could involve mortal peril. Indeed, sociologists tell us that childbirth and infancy were so risky, with such a high death rate, that just to keep the population of the Roman Empire stable (that is with a zero population growth), every woman of child-bearing age (which in those times was 14 years old - and it was a feat to survive even to that age) had to undergo five pregnancies - because so many mothers died in child-birth and so many infants died. So when the angel Gabriel appears to Mary on this day, and reveals such a confusing and utterly dramatic message, it is even more remarkable that the young Mary is able to respond so readily with the words that we know so well: 'I am the handmaid of the Lord; let what you have said be done to me.'
Annunciation of the Lord.
Recorded at St Paul's, 9am. (06'08")