It’s always incredible to me when I attend daily mass and hear a theme reinforced the following Sunday in other readings. It reminds me that Scripture is alive and well and can touch us deeply if we keep our hearts and minds open.
For the fourth Sunday of Advent, we were treated to the Gospel reading recounting the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary and her agreement to do God’s will (Luke 1:26-38). What an incredible task for such a young woman. As Father John Paul Walker, OP, reminded us at daily mass, it was a task for a young woman only 13 or 14 years old. That’s very important.
We often forget in the hustle and bustle of Advent and Christmas that our salvation, the birth of our Savior, was dependent on a teenager’s willingness to be the handmaiden of the Lord. Of course, we can’t think of her in today’s teenage terms because the world is different and life spans are much longer. However, we can hardly imagine the weight of the world on our shoulders at such a young age. Would we have said yes? I bet we all like to think we would. Since Mary was already betrothed (engaged) to Joseph, which carried the same weight as a legal marriage, she must have been aware of the consequences of her agreement on her and Joseph.
Although we have no diary of Mary’s innermost thoughts, we do have what is referred to as the Canticle of Mary or the Magnificat. If you pray the Divine Office, you know what I am referring to. But if you don’t, I believe this is one of the most beautiful expressions of how confident we should be in saying yes to God. I’ll write out the text below, but I leave you with this question on which to meditate: Is God calling you to something and you’re afraid to say yes? If so, pray for the courage to follow God and all he has for you!
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“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour, for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.
He has shown mercy on those who fear Him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of His arm, He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of His servant Israel for He has remembered His promise of mercy, the promise He made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.” Luke 1:46-55