In the sixth month, 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, favored one! 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.
There is a coherence between 'filled with grace' and 'behold the handmaid of the Lord'. From this moment of encounter, everything will change for Mary. She will no longer live for herself, or for her salvation, she will live for humanity, for the salvation of the world. The moment the man puts himself at the service of the Lord, God takes him completely and leads him on a totally unknown and unnoticed path. On this path he will discover the signs that God will give him. Through these signs, he will discover his new identity, which is closely linked to the divine identity. If we want to live this life, a life totally configured to God, we must know how to say, like Mary, YES, and be faithful to this commitment, "May everything happen to me according to your word. There we will discover a surprising God.
Action of the day: Be attentive.
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Fr, Jordi PASCUAL i Bancells
(Salt, Girona, Spain)
Today, once more, we contemplate the impressive scene of the Annunciation. God, always true to his promises, lets Mary know, through the Angel Gabriel that she is the one chosen to bear the Savior of the world. As we learn to expect from the Lord, the most important event in the history of mankind —the Creator and Lord of all things becoming man, just like us— takes place in a very simple way: a young woman in a small village in Galilea. No fireworks.
The way of going about it is simple; the event is magnificent as are the virtues of the Virgin Mary: filled with grace, the Lord is with her, humble, simple, available for God's will, generous. God has plans for her, as he has for you and for me, but He relies on our free and loving cooperation to carry them out. Mary is our example: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38). It is not only a “yes” to the message of the Angel; it is turning herself into the hands of God the Father, to abandon herself to his intimate providence, to let God work through her now and in all the circumstances of Her life.
Of Mary's answer to God's will, as of ours,—Saint Josemaría Escriva— writes, “never forget it, a great deal depends on it”.
We are preparing to celebrate Christmas. The best way to do so is to be with Mary, contemplating Her life and trying to imitate Her virtues in order to receive the Lord with the right heart: What does God expect from me, now, today, at work, with this person I deal with all the time, from my relation with Him? A great deal depends on our response to the little things of every day!