As we sing the Alleluia at mass today, we hear once again the words of Mary to the angel Gabriel: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.”
The angel Gabriel visited Mary with the message from God: “The Lord is with you. You have found favor with God. Behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son. He will be called holy, the son of God.” “And, behold, your relative, Elizabeth, has conceived a child in her old age, for nothing is impossible with God. “ And, behold, your relative, Elizabeth has conceived a child in her old age, for nothing is impossible with God. And Mary responds: “May it be done according to your word.”
Quoting Henri Nouwen: “Mary is so open, so free, so trusting that she is completely willing to hear words that go far beyond her own comprehension. She knows the words spoken to her by the angel came from God. She seeks clarification, but she does not question the authority. She senses the message of Gabriel will radically interrupt her life, and she is afraid, but she does not withdraw, she responded with a complete surrender.”
Luke says: “Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste, to visit her cousin, Elizabeth and Zechariah, surely, Elizabeth would need help in her last weeks of pregnancy, and, Mary was excited to share her good news, but who could she share it with who would be more understanding than Elizabeth, who also experiences a miracle pregnancy.” How they must have needed each other at this time. Elizabeth telling Mary the baby in her womb leaped for joy at Mary’s greeting and she said: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
Mary is a shining example of one who believes what God has spoken. As the days of Advent are coming to an end, spend time with Mary, who even as she struggled to understand, knew that God would take care of her. Can we believe that God will take care of us, even when as we experience difficulties, can we say as Mary did? “May it be done to me according to your Word.”
“Just being with Mary and the angel and hearing their words—words which changed the course of history—bring me peace and rest,” Henri Nouwen.