The Annunciation of the Lord
When we receive dramatic and unexpected news that seriously affects our life, we tend to get thrown off balance and need to get our bearings. It must have been the same with Mary. She was familiar with the Old Testament prophets and prophecies about the Messiah. Suddenly, the Angel Gabriel appears and tells her that these ancient prophecies and promises are about to come to be, through her.
She was troubled by the strange greeting, “Hail full of grace.” Then she was told that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her, whatever that means for a young Israelite woman, and with that the events of our redemption began to unfold.
The Key moment of the Annunciation is when Mary says, “Yes.” “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word,” and submits to the will of God. That was the critical moment when she became an instrument of the Lord.
In the lower level of the Basilica of the Annunciation is a cave and chapel with an altar. On the front of the altar are the words inscribed in Latin: In Hoc Loco Verbum Caro Factum Est –The Word Became Flesh; Here. Fascinating!
We all have moments in our life when we have to take the risk of submitting to God’s Word: totally, without reservation and without our fingers crossed?
We read God’s Word, we hear it in Church. Do we surrender to it? When we face difficult decisions at work, do we trust God’s word? When we have problems at home, do we trust God’s Word? When we hear of problems in the Church, the community, the world, do we trust God’s Word? When we are facing personal crisis, do we trust God’s Word.
At this moment as the human family deals with the Pandemic of the Coronavirus, we can all do our part according to our abilities, vocation, profession, station in life, etc., and then trust in God’s Word and God’s presence with us. “Be not afraid” and “I will send you the Holy Spirit who will lead you in all things”, are a few that come to mind.
Saints become saints not by the experiences of supernatural phenomena, but by trusting in the Word of God and surrendering to it. Let it be done to me according to your Word. That’s the moment in life when a good person becomes a saint.
Fr. Patrick Daugherty, C.P.