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.
How can I understand the mystery and apply this feast and its meaning in my daily life?
Faith: I believe that all that Mary received is still available to us all. Not the same grace and not the same mission, but like her, a collaboration and participation in the divine will. God needs us, even today. Just as Mary was prepared for one mission, God also prepares each and every one of us for another mission. From the moment of Mary's birth, God was very active in her, however she was not aware of God's work in her. He is still active in us today, even though I don't understand it. In due course, God will come to me, reveal his plan and entrust me with his mission. I pray intensely that on that day I will be able to say, like Mary, "YES, thy will be done.
The Immaculate Conception: This is not something that Mary prayed for or asked for. She was chosen, (called), a grace granted (consecrated) and that the child would find a worthy place in her, (sent). Even if God has not granted this place to all of us, through the sacrament of baptism, God has already chosen, consecrated and sent us. Like Mary, may we be faithful to the mission entrusted to us, even if we do not understand at present moment, all the details.
Mary's encounter with the Angel: God always gives us the possibility to have the same encounter with his angel, especially with the guardian angel, in a concrete and daily way. Very often we are like Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. We do not believe in this all-powerful God, who can move the mountain for us. Mary simply believed in the Word spoken by the angel Gabriel.
The sign of assurance: Mary did not ask for a sign, yet God chose to give her a sign. This sign had a purpose, for Mary to discover her divine Motherhood, through the joy of her cousin Elizabeth and the joy of her child who joyfully burst forth in her. It’s all happened in very human way, in an ordinary human encounter. Mary's eagerness, after hearing the good news, enabled her to discover them herself, in a personal way. This readiness is not found in us, and obviously we do not have the same resentment. We do not put the Word we hear into practice. Blessed rather is she who hears the Word and puts it into practice.
Action of the day: Believe that God is active in you and act.
“And coming to her, he said, ‘Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.’”
Fr. David COMPTE i Verdaguer
(Manlleu, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, the Gospel plays a chord made up of three notes. Three notes which, in our society, are not always that well-tuned: one note of doing, one of friendship and another one of coherence of life. Nowadays, we all have very busy lives, but, do we have a plan? Today, when we are navigating through a world of communications, are we capable of being alone in our own company for a while? Today, in the information era, are we letting it shape who we are?
Mary, a young woman “betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David” (Lk 1:28) has a plan, of human proportions, evidently. However, God comes into her life to bestow on her another project... of divine proportions. Today, He wants to come into our lives too, to give our everyday human tasks divine proportions.
“Do not be afraid, Mary” (Lk 1:30). Let's not do things just any way! Lest the addiction of "doing things" hides a void. Marriage, a life of servitude, our profession, should not mean a leap in the dark. “Full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28). A presence that accompanies and provides a meaning. Trust in God, which —indirectly— brings us to trust others. Friendship with God that renews our friendship with others, too.
Today, when we are confronted with so many stimuli, often opposed, it is necessary to give shape and unity to our life. Saint Louis Mary Grignion says “Mary is the living mold of God” and explains: “A sculptor can make a statue in two ways: The first way [the chisel] is long and involved and open to all sorts of accidents. It only needs a faulty stroke of the chisel or hammer to ruin the whole work. The second [a mold] is quick, easy, straightforward, almost effortless and inexpensive, but the mold must be perfect and true to life and the material must be easy to handle and offer no resistance.” Mary is the perfect mold. Do we turn to Her as being easy to handle material?