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Cardinal Rules Part 4 An occasional column (not) by the Primate of All Ireland, healer and crisp fan

To get you all into the festive spirit, our satirical columnist presents a pre-Christmas story from the Bible: The Visitation.

IN THE SIXTH MONTH the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.

Mary was surprised as the angel did climb in her window knocking over some potted plants and a souvenir statuette from Jerusalem.

And after finally squeezing in he did pant “Greetings, O favoured one, the Lord is with you!” And Mary did look upon him and was amazed, and she did say “Could you not have used the door?”

The angel did mumble an apology and then he did proclaim “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.” “It’s only a door,” Mary did reply, “you knock on it and wait for somebody to answer. How hard can it be?”

And the angel tried to smile, but he was flustered now and had forgotten his place in his speech. Then he did pluck his notes from one of his wings and did read “Figs, some olive oil, oranges…” and it was a while before he realised it was actually the Holy Spirit’s shopping list.

From his other wing he did take the proper notes and thence went back to proclaiming  “And behold, Mary. You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” “What if I want to call him Frank?” Mary did ask, and the angel was perturbed and lost his place again. “It says Jesus here” the angel did say. “How do you spell that?” Mary did sigh. And the angel told her and she wrote it down.

Mary then motioned the angel to speak on.

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David-” “How long more will this take?” Mary did ask, “it’s just that I have to go to market.”  And the angel did speak on in a stuttery way “And he will reign…he will rei…hold on I’ve lost my place. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary regarded the angel and asked: “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel did blush and stammer some more “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and-” “Will he be coming through the window?” Mary did ask “it’s just that you’ve set a really bad precedent.” And the angel told her he would look into it.

“The power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be borne will be called holy – the Son of God.” And Mary did nod and say “So what has God planned for my Son?” And the angel looked pale “Well, there’s this whole thing. You don’t really need to know.” And Mary did glare at him. “No, really, you don’t.” And she did look upon the angel with such sternness that his voice did quake, and he seemed to shrink, and he said in a small voice “It’s my first day.”

And Mary said “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word, yadda yadda. You can leave through the window.” And the angel departed from her by clambering back through the window. Although he did get stuck and was heard to cry out “Little help?”

And Mary sighed and shook her head and pushed him out. And in that way he took his leave of her.

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(Not) Cardinal Sean Brady