Fr. Robert P. Imbelli: Annunciations Are Frequent, Incarnations Rare

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*Image: Annunciazione by William Congdon, 1960 [©The William G. Congdon Foundation, Buccinasco, Italy]

By Fr. Robert P. Imbelli,  The Catholic Thing, March 25, 2022

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is the author of Rekindling the Christic Imagination: Theological Meditations on the New Evangelization (Liturgical Press).


Fr. Robert P. ImbelliI lay no claim to being a visionary. Still, we sometimes experience incidents that bring us up short, cause us to breathe deeply, leave a lasting trace of wonderment, and of joy.

In August 1965, a fellow seminarian and I were in Israel. Determined to avoid being only spiritual tourists, we spent a part of our time there working in a kibbutz. Ours, founded by French Jews, was located in the far North of the country, not distant from the Lebanese border. When we prayed Vespers, Mount Hermon could be seen, shimmering in the glow of sunset.

Our assignment was to work in the banana grove that provided a good bit of the settlement’s income. We would rise every morning at 4:30, eat a hearty breakfast (including the best yogurt I’ve ever tasted), and be driven down to the grove in a truck. We would spend about six hours weeding and tending the plants, until the sun proved too hot, and we would return, as we came, in the back of an open pickup. …