Luke’s gospel account is overflowing in richness. There are so many words to pray with, and so many aspects within the story to meditate on. At the center of the story is a woman. She is a woman of deep faith. But, her faith is not a blind one. When she is presented with a situation that is difficult to understand, she is perplexed. In her perplexity she doesn’t immediately reject the impossible. She ponders, trying to connect mind and heart to make sense of what is going on. Her fears are assuaged by the words of the angel, yet she is still perplexed. So she questions. How can this be? For most of us, the answer that Gabriel gives wouldn’t make belief any easier. Yet, because Mary’s mind and heart are already attuned to God’s will, she is able to recognize the voice of the Divine inviting her into the unfathomable mystery of the Incarnation. Because she was “open to the action of the Holy Spirit” she was able to say YES.
When I read the annunciation gospel, I am heartened to know that Mary was a woman who was perplexed and questioned what she did not understand. We have much to be perplexed about. We have much to question, both in our world and in our Church. In recent weeks we have shared the sorrow and suffering of our sisters and brothers in Haiti and then in Chile. How can this be? Within our Church, a seemingly unending stream of sexual abuse cases around the world is making head-line news each day. The credibility of some Bishops, Priests, and the Vatican is questioned. How can anyone harm a child in such a horrific manner? How could leaders in the Church cover-up the evil, allowing it to spread? How can this be?
As Marianists, we join Mary in her “Yes” to God’s will, whatever it may be for each of us. But, the “Yes” takes hard work and perseverance. We pray so that our hearts will be open to the Holy Spirit. We share our fears, so we may gain courage and support from each other. We face the many perplexities and questions, without being overwhelmed by them. Together we study and ponder them so we may discern right and just action.
And, with Mary, we offer ourselves…….
“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”