Wednesday, March 25, 2015
"Have confidence. Return. Invoke our Lady and you'll be faithful."
"In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal."--Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Father and Doctor of the Church
Gospel Text: (LK 1:26-38)
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.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the day Gabriel the Archangel announced to Mary she would bear a child and the child “will be called holy, the Son of God.” This day we celebrate the in-breaking of God into our world, of God becoming human.
Pope Benedict XVI once said in an interview: « [I would like] to reawake the courage to make definitive decisions: they are really the only ones that allow us to grow, to move ahead and to reach something great in life. They are the only decisions that do not destroy our freedom but offer to point us in the right direction. Risk making this leap, so to speak, towards the definitive and so embrace life fully: this is something I would be happy to communicate». Mary: behold an example!
When Mary proclaimed to the angel Gabriel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word,” I couldn’t help but think how her life was irrevocably and unpredictably changed at that moment. As I read today’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38) I wondered about the wave of fear and emotion that must have overcome her as she grappled with the consequences of her answer. How would she explain this to Joseph, her family, friends and community? How could she measure up to the responsibility of raising the Son of God? Who did Mary turn to in the moments after Gabriel’s departure? What were Mary’s prayers after the “yes?” I wondered if her emotions and prayers were much like that of any other expectant mother. I couldn’t help but think they were.
Through the Annunciation Mary accepted – her call. A call that must have been accompanied by much prayer and devotion; and a courage that has been a great source of strength and unity to so many. I can’t help but believe that Mary’s actions influence us, as we accept – our call, and put our complete trust in the Lord.
Posted by Joe Reciniello at 5:58 AM
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