Daily Reflection – 12/20/19
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.( Luke 1:26-38)
When Mary gave her full and knowing consent to the angel of the Lord, she placed all of her trust in the Lord, willingly and without any reservation, even though she knew full well what the difficulties that assent would likely produce. An unwed teen mother in those days would have been much more than just an embarrassment; it would disgrace the family and could have led to her death.
Mary had to have a deeply personal relationship with God. And it was this relationship that enabled her to trust and say “yes” to what God was asking her to do. Mary from a young age must have trusted God in all things. And thus, she would trust God even in this surreal and frightening situation. Yet, how was she to explain her situation to Joseph? Yet, she had to share this fantastic experience with him. How would he react? Would he be angry or humiliated? Would he spurn her?
Although this gospel reading of complete faith and trust is literally a part of the Advent narrative, it belongs here for another reason, too. Advent is about preparation and formation, as well as anticipation. The cultural celebration of Christmas takes us away from what should be the real preparation and formation of the Advent season. And that is to follow the example of Mary’s Fiat and make ourselves into willing and joyful disciples of Jesus, with complete trust in the Lord as to His will.
We have the gift of free will, which means we have our own ideas about how our lives are to go. That is our gift from God, and the manner in which we are made in His image. But free will leaves us with constant choices about how we live our lives, and whether we live them only for ourselves or for the Lord.
At times, Jesus (and life) also presents us with difficult or painful situations that may stir up a storm of emotion in us. How do we respond? Do we get angry, fearful or anxious? Do we distance ourselves from God? Do we gradually come to believe that God is with us? Do we trust that God will guide and grace us?
We have a wonderful model in Mary. Like Mary, we need to keep ourselves grounded in the God we know, trust and love. If we do this, then we may believe and trust that we will receive the grace and strength we need. This will bring us peace. God will bring us peace!
Prayer of The Day
Lord, I know that you are the one guiding my life and all of history. I need to be mindful that you always intend good for me, even if it is painful and purifying. So I should never be afraid of your hand in my life. I believe and trust in you my Lord, but increase my faith, hope and love
We are all, like Mary. But more often than not, we are all resisting and offering objections. We are all experiencing push back from God, as God objects to our objections. We are all being offered the reassurance that “Nothing will be impossible with God” We are all called to prepare for the birth of the baby and then, as he grows and becomes strong to follow him all the days of our lives. For that journey, we need a mother’s wisdom.