The central vertical axis connects the Holy Spirit, represented by a
dove, with the book of the Scriptures -- the Spirit and the Word. The
angel Gabriel, whose name means "Strength of God" has a flame-like and
wind-like appearance, for God "makes his angels winds and his
ministers flames of fire (Psalm 104:4 and Hebrews 1:7). The heavenly
messenger points toward the Scriptures, and Mary rests her hand upon
the book with her palm upward, receptive to grace, accepting the will
of God.

The desk supporting the Scriptures bears an image of the expulsion of
Adam and Eve from Paradise, because the entire Old Testament points
forward to our deliverance from sin and exile. Mary is the New Eve (as
Saint Irenaeus pointed out) whose faithful response to the archangel's
message reversed the first Eve's response to the fallen angel in Eden.

The buildings in the lower left corner represent the human city, the
people God is calling to himself. Mary is the fairest flower of our
race, and her purity is symbolized by the lily. God chose and prepared
her to be the mother of Christ. She freely assented--
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your
word" -- and so became the bearer of the Incarnate Word. The final
image presented in the New Testament is of the new Jerusalem, the City
of God coming down from heaven, the Church finally purified and
perfected. Mary, who already dwells body and soul with Christ, cares
and intercedes for the rest of the Church until that Day.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa discerned, in the burning bush which Moses saw,
a prefiguration of Mary's motherhood. As the bush was aflame with the
presence of God yet was not consumed, so Mary gave birth to the Light
and was not burned up by it The tree through which the rays of
heavenly light shine alludes to this mystery.

The curtain being drawn aside by an angel represents the veil of the
temple, the curtain beyond which, in Jewish thought, the intersection
of heaven and earth took place. From the moment of the annunciation,
the place of intersection, the real temple, would be the Body of
Christ, the sacred flesh which was formed within Mary's womb, the
flesh which would be pierced on the cross and raised on the third day,
and which we may adore and receive daily in communion.