Monday, April 9, 2018

“Love is the key to the mystery. Love by its very nature is not selfish, but generous. It seeks not its own, but the good of others. The measure of love is not the pleasure it gives-that is the way the world judges it-but the joy and peace it can purchase for others."

“This is the secret of life: the self lives only by dying, finds its identity (and its happiness) only by self-forgetfulness, self-giving, self-sacrifice, and agape love.” ― Peter Kreeft: is a professor of philosophy at Boston College

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.

Instead of focusing on her rights, her interests, or her own discomfort, Mary offered herself wholly to the Lord.  The concept of a handmaid was familiar to her, as servant/slave status was a common feature of life in this era.  Yet she embraced that status, placing herself in a position to receive whatever the Lord would send her way, instead of preferring her own way instead.

As I have journeyed in my Catholic faith, I have grown closer to Mary.  I am attracted to her gentle yet powerful commitment to our Lord, which begins here at the annunciation yet continues throughout Jesus’ life, even unto his death on the cross.  I do not always follow that example, but her faith and devotion become a source for faith and devotion in us, too.

Lord, help our unbelief.  You alone know and understand us, including our weaknesses; we can trust you with our faults.  Blessed Mary, pray for us to overcome those weaknesses and to follow your example.  Thanks be to God.

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