If you happen to be a typical bloke, and of a catholic disposition, today your cup doth runneth over. Today is a convergence of two wonderful events, two moments in time that will leave their mark.
Today is Lady Day and today is the day when us Brits can get our hands on the second generation iPad. That God should choose the Feast of the Annunciation as the day when he unleashes Steve Jobs' best is interesting (to someone).
Interestingly too, today will bring with it that little gaggle of folk who like to moan and whine. In the case of the iPad, we will hear how its camera freezes in FaceTime, that it is an over-priced trinket; a pointless bauble. Then we would hear the other camp tell us that the software will be ironed out in the next iOS update, yada yada yada! Any the wiser? No, me neither - but people will moan because something positive and innovative is happening.
In Christian circles, there too is a gaggle of those who, rather than giving thanks for the 'Yes' of the girl Mary, will complain about the near-heresy of this Mariological stuff. It is interesting watching some people squirm when you talk about Mary, like for them she was an uninvited guest at the party where Jaysuss and the Speerit are the only headlines. I remember how upset some ordinands got at my college when someone rang the college bell for the Angelus (a prayer rooted and based entirely upon a gospel account). It was like we Marists were indulging in child-sacrifice and voodoo. Oh the fuss ...
Detractors often work in the dark. Not in the Gollom sense, but in the uninformed sense of the word. The techno-whiners tend only to focus on the glitches, the little bugs. The same for Christian focus on the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary. People become gusset-rotated because they think that we are deifying her. We are not. We regard Mary as close to God and as one who can and will intercede for us. In a sense, we ask Mary to 'do us a favour'. Now, before you all yell in unison that our relationship with God does not demand a 'friend in high places', remember that by such an argument you will stymie all corporate worship and intercession as similarly pointless.
Apple's iPad2 is a truly beautiful thing that, let's be honest, speaks so well of our creativity as humans. Even in my tender years I marvel at this stuff (not forgetting that only 25 years ago when I was in my secondary school, we only had 3 Commodore Pets, with four 'k' of memory for 800 of us). We are ingenious and even if you are not disposed to gadgetry as I or Bp Alan are, you cannot fail to be moved by what we can achieve when we put our minds to it. And so I direct you back to Mary. Even if the whole theotokos stuff troubles you, you cannot fail but be moved by a teenage girl submitting to the will of God in an act that would change the world in ways that Steve Jobs can only dream of. She has no education, no real direction in her life, but she was chosen as the normal person whom God wanted in his humbling of himself for us. The might and the majesty of a universe creating God was brought to a a fusion of gametes - a cell, invisible to the eye, ready to grow in this girl. Whatever you think of Mary, be amazed at what she represents for us all. Frankly, if it weren't for the Blessed Virgin Mary, I doubt any of would have iPad 2s to drool over.