Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God
Mary's answer to Gabriel is simply incredible, but it became much more precious for me when I stopped to ponder the middle of this story. We may miss the best part is we fail to recognize the humanness in Mary. Not sinfulness, but humanness. That's the quality that makes this event so marvelous. "But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.'"
Let this mystery teach us humility.
Mary's answer to Gabriel is simply incredible, but it became much more precious for me when I stopped to ponder the middle of this story. We may miss the best part is we fail to recognize the humanness in Mary. Not sinfulness, but humanness. That's the quality that makes this event so marvelous.
"But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.'"
She was greatly troubled! Scared, even? Can you see her expression; hear the thoughts racing through her mind? What in the world is going on?!? He's telling me not to be afraid. what is this all about? A son? Now I'm confused. How can this be? I do not know man. God Himself will do this? The child will be holy? The Son of God?
Now comes the glorious ending: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word."
She went from being troubled and confused one moment to being perfectly willing and trusting the next because of true humility. Her reply is remarkable not only because of what she said but because of all she didn't say. She didn't say, "Me? Why me?" Or, "But, but, wait." She didn't say, "I can't." Gabriel gave her precious few details about how this would all unfold, yet she didn't hesitate to agree. She understood it wasn't really about her; it was about Him.
Mary didn't say "yes" with a proud spirit or a self-congratulatory attitude, nor did she refuse out of a feeling of inadequacy or unworthiness. She knew she was a mere mortal, most unworthy. She also knew God was wise and loving and able. Her "yes" had little to do with her and everything to do with Him.
Yes to His plan, His will, His power, His authority. She took Gabriel at his word and believed that God knew what He was doing, and her part was to simply say, "I am at your disposal." It was up to God to do everything else. It's also noteworthy that she didn't offer any assistance. She didn't presume that she could add something to the mix that would make it better. She said yes, and then carried on as usual. Not knowing what would happen next or how it would happen, she left everything after that moment up to God.
That's real humility. To say to God, "As You wish. You will do it. Do with me whatever You please. All glory is Yours." It seems plain enough, but so often real humility gets all mixed up with false humility (which is actually pride). It seems more humble to refuse when asked to do something, especially something important, and we say self-deprecating things like, "Oh, I'm not that good," or "I'm not smart enough," or "I've never done that before," or "There are lots of people who are better at this than me," and on and on and on.
Don't you shudder to think what might have happened if Mary had responded that way? She'd never been a mother before, so she was inexperienced. She may have felt there were smarter women in the community. She could have tried to defer and list all the reasons why she was right to defer. But thank God she was humble enough to say yes.
It's not a mark of humility to say to God that His plan can't be done because you're not the one, you're inadequate, you're not smart enough, you're not good enough, you're not ________________ (fill in the blank).
Of course you're not good enough. So what? It isn't about you or me and what we don't have. God has everything, God is everything and humility is just saying "yes" and not thinking too much or too little of you, but only of how great God is.
"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name." Luke 1:46-49
Mary, most mild, pray for me that I will humbly say "yes" to God in whatever He asks of me.
Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven). She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. She is also a serious chocoholic. Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees: That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Christmas / Advent News
- Tuesday, July 22 - Homily - Mary's Perpetual Virginity
- Monday, July 14 - Homily: St. Bonaventure the Seraphic Doctor
- Tuesday, July 1 - Homily: The Precious Blood and the Virtue of Modesty
- Central American sugar cane workers perishing from rare kidney disease
- Papyrus that suggests Jesus was married is genuine, but it still doesn't prove much
- Billions seized in China's biggest corruption scandal in six decades
- May We Be Counted as Oxes and Asses before Jesus
- Reflections on the Closing of the Season of Advent
- Mary Jo Matthews on Christmas Memories
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?