“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”...Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” - Luke 1: 26-38
I try to imagine embodying Mary's response to being informed that her life as she understood it was going to change in such an unfathomable way. I imagine the look on her face as she processes what she is hearing. As illusions she harbored about what her future and family life would look like evaporate. As her dreams of life with her betrothed, Joseph, dissolve into uncertainty. As her understanding of herself and the world around her is unalterably released from the confines of her imagination and plunged into unknowing. A space Mary confronts with colossal bravery and acceptance, “May it be done to me according to your word.”
I'm struck by the passivity (acceptance without resistance) of her response, “May it be done to me...” She is willing to wait! What a concept. She is willing to follow the Spirit's lead, not lead with her will. She trusts God so deeply, so unreservedly. I contrast that with what is so often my response to God, “O uh uh, this isn't what I imagined, next idea please.” That, or I get my “To Do” list out and start achieving God's wishes without actually consulting God, but rather my pride or any number of other unfettered desires.
Waiting would mean nixing my self determined agenda items and being still persistent enough to come to know God's will, trusting that the guidance will come, and releasing the need for it to happen at the hour I appoint. Honestly, just imagining such acceptance is uncomfortable for me let alone embodying it. And it makes me ever grateful for Our Lady's example of true freedom, the ability to rest in God's immeasurable love and faithfulness in the face of unimaginable uncertainty. A freedom anchored in a trust that makes traversing the darkness possible; a trust that is had simply from accepting and receiving the love of God, not through earning his Grace.
O Lord, release me from what prevents me from trusting fully in your love. Show me what you would have me know about what binds me. Help me to be free.
Reflected by Alma Morales Risse