Monday, April 08, 2013

The Annunciation

Can you imagine being 14 or 15, and suddenly having an angel appear before you? Not only that, but then the angel says you're going to have a baby. And not just any baby -- the savior of the world.

I don't know about you, but I'd freak out.

On a silent women's retreat several years ago with the Sisters of Life, one of the nuns guided us in a reflection. She asked us to read the gospel passage for the day and imagine ourselves in the place of one of the people of the story. Who were we? A towns person, or one of the disciples? How did we imagine the scene? Was it hot, for instance? How did the actions of Jesus make us feel? Why?

So, I think back to when I was 15. Putting aside a lack of worthiness, how would I feel if the Annunciation had happened to me? When you're a teenager, everything -- even the littlest of things -- is dramatic, so I can't imagine being calm. Angels have no earthly bodies, so I'm a little hard-pressed to imagine how Gabriel would appear, too. He's always depicted in human form, but would that really have been the case? Perhaps Mary was afraid, but was calmed when the angel told her not to give in to fear. Still, were I to suddenly find my virginal self pregnant, I'd be fearful and so confused... about how it happened, and what my parents would think.

Yet in today's gospel reading for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of our Lord, Mary seems so calm. St. Luke does tell us that Mary was "greatly troubled" at the angel Gabriel's greeting, but other than that, she hardly seems astonished to see a celestial being standing in her bedroom. And she's curious, sure, about how she'll soon be with child, as she has "no relations with a  man. As the gospel makes no mention of her parents, I suppose Sts. Anne and Joachim are away from home. I feel like it would be morning, the start of both the day, and of God doing something completely new.

And Mary said yes. Plans were made, she was betrothed to St. Joseph already, yet she trusted in God's will for her. Born without sin, she had been made ready even before this moment.  She thrilled at the news that her cousin, Elizabeth, was also with child. Could I have done the same? I like to think that I trust in God completely, but it is so hard sometimes, and I know I don't always. Sometimes I let fears get the better of me, and panic. Mary just said yes.

Blessed Mother, pray for us!

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