IS 7: 10-14; 8:10
PS 40: 7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 11
HEB 10: 4-10
LK 1: 26-38
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we celebrate the Annunciation of our Lord, and I say celebrate because it truly is something to celebrate in our faith. In our Gospel reading today, we hear the story of the Angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary to announce the special mission God has chosen for her, which is being the mother of God’s only son. Despite Mary being confused and frightened, she accepts God’s will for her as she says, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” This feast day takes us back to the source of spiritual joy and a pure example of following God’s will.
I think this is a story that is often times heard but not truly processed. Take a few moments to put yourselves in the shoes of Mary. Imagine that fear that she was feeling. That fright that filled her. All the questions she was wondering. What are other people going to think? How did this happen? Why did God choose me? What is Joseph going to do? How am I going to have a child when I’m just a child?
As children of God, this is a perfect example that teaches us to trust in our Lord and truly surrender to what He has in store for each one of His children. Mary was asked to take upon a big mission, and she did nothing but let His will be done unto her. I think this is very relatable to us because sometimes it is easy to question what God is wanting from us. We wonder what God is doing in our lives. We are confused as to how God is working within us. We feel as though we cannot hear those small whispers God is giving us. Through this story we are called to follow Mary’s example of answeing God’s will for each of us, despite any fear, anxiety, nervousness, or confusion we may be feeling.
A prayer that emphasizes the importance of this feast day is the Angelus. The name of the prayer comes from the Latin version of the first words, “The Angel.” The Angelus is prayer that invites people to stop what they are doing and pause to pray, recalling the mystery of the Incarnation. In this prayer, three Hail Mary’s are said, representing the three main moments that enabled the Incarnation to become to reality in our Salvation history. The first moment is during the Annunciation when Gabriel announced to Mary that she was going to conceive and bear the Son of God, the second moment is when Mary says “yes” to accept the mission God has placed upon her, and the third moment is the consequence of her “yes” and what this would mean for the world. This is a great prayer to use to reflect on this feast day that we celebrate today. As we spend time in prayer with our Lord, it is just another way God can break into our human experience and become one with us in our daily lives.
Today, challenge yourself to trust God a little more than you did yesterday and the day before that. Maybe even make this a challenge for yourself this Lenten season. Spend time in prayer telling God “yes” to whatever He wants for you. Take comfort in this story and the way God used Mary as His instrument of love and joy to know that throughout all that is happening in our lives, God is also using us as His instrument of love and joy. Celebrate today!
Betty Goodwin is a first-year student studying education.