Wednesday, March 25, 2009
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.
Rev. George Lucas, C.S.C. '67
Assistant Provincial, Congregation of Holy Cross
Mary's response to Gabriel, "How can this be?" is a question that can be mine, too, as I come face to face with the mysteries of life in my own life. In Mary's case it was a question she raised as she listened to God's plan for her and pondered how this could be possible, knowing that she was a virgin. In my life, however, I can raise the question, not even mindful of God's plan for me, but already fearful that my own plans are being altered or at least in danger of being changed. I can get so caught up in making plans for my future and in arranging my life that I have little tolerance for the unexpected, the unplanned, or even the surprise. Can this be all there is to life?
Fortunately God is a God of surprises, a God of life, and a God who calls me beyond where I am and invites me to much more, namely, abundant life. If, "How can this be?" is my only response to daily life, perhaps I have begun to play God and to adore only the works of my hands. Lent is a time given to me each year to repent of my foolish ways and to change so that I might become God's own again, created, human, but wonderfully made and called to be blessed according to God's life-giving words and deeds, and not on my own.