Handmaid of the moon

When Stephen thinks "Behold the handmaid of the moon" he parodies the Angelus, a Catholic prayer that celebrates the Annunciation, when the archangel Gabriel told Mary that she would bear the son of God. The prayer's Ecce ancilla Domini, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord," recalls the words that Mary spoke to the angel in Luke 1:38, signifying her submission to the will of God. The prayer is recited at 6 AM, noon, and 6 PM, not only in religious houses but also by ordinary people during their workdays, so it might well pop into Stephen's thoughts at the hour of noon. This much seems straightforward, but Stephen's intentions in alluding to the prayer are much murkier.

JH 2022

The Angelus, oil on canvas painting by Jean-François Millet (ca. 1857-59), held in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

Source: renewablescg.com.