Marshall McLuhan and the Annunciation [MM Monday]

"Annunciation" by Maerten van Heemskerck (1546)
“Annunciation” by Maerten van Heemskerck (1546)

In the 2004 anthology,  At the Speed of Light There is Only Illumination: A Reappraisal of Marshall McLuhanwe find an essay-collection edited by Paul Tiessen, “‘Shall I Say, Is It Necessary to Restore Dialogue?’: Wilfred Watson’s Encounter with Marshall McLuhan, 1957-1988.”

Tiessen’s piece gathers together a multitude of the Canadian poet’s impressions of McLuhan over decades. Watson became a self-declared student/disciple of McLuhan, but only after criticizing and wrestling with McLuhan’s ideas.

Eleven days after McLuhan’s death, Watson wrote:

As a saint, MM was rather like the medieval, scholastic saint, than like Mother Teresa. His sanctity arose out of his learning. If saints have guardian angels, MM’s angel was St. Gabriel, the angel of annunciation.

Interesting that Watson made this connection, since McLuhan himself had a devotion to the Blessed Mother, under her title “Our Mother of Good Studies.” He shared this reflection with Fr. Patrick Peyton:

I think of Our Lady as a perpetual means of aid in my studies. I think of her as Our Mother of Good Studies all the time. […] This seems to me, at a time like this, as a very great role for her to play, because the things we now have to study in the world are rather tremendous and new.

“…rather tremendous and new.” Doesn’t that describe the Annunciation so well?

Happy Feast Day, everyone. May you always call on Her aid in the face of all that is tremendous and new.


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