There are many cases in our world where people say they have encountered ghosts or spirits. During Jesus' time, it was a sinful nature, requiring exorcisms. In other eras, it was a sign of being haunted, as in MacBeth, when he had killed the king and was feeling guilty. If you were to encounter a ghost or a mystical being, how would you react? In our faith, we believe that angels can guide us, protect us, and bring news from God, such is the case with Mary. Angels as protectors, as I'm sure you've heard the Guardian Angel prayer in your childhood. Mary could have been terrified, had every reason to be fearful and run upon seeing the Angel, let alone hearing the news God had for her. Yet, she stays put, she listens and responds to the Angel with "let your will be done". She is fully acceptant of God's will, taking on the challenge of bearing God's Son, Jesus. Think of this situation with Mary and the Angel. Are there times you run from God's will, too fearful of what it could mean for your life?
Today's Gospel states:'In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"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. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her' (Luke 1:26-38).
Today's reading talks about the angel Gabriel coming to visit Mary. Mary listens to the Good News the Angel has to bring, and responds with grace, giving herself to God's will. If it were me, I probably would have thought myself crazy at first, for seeing an Angel, let alone being given such a great burden. This story shows us we all need to be more like Mary, taking time to stop, to listen to God's will, and not run from the challenges ahead. God is always on our side, guiding us and helping us through everything we face. Take some time to ask God to help you be more like Mary this Advent, and surrender to His will, whatever the task may be.
Today we pray:
Thank You for making me in Your image and likeness. Help me to be like Mary, listening to Your will and not running in fear. Help me in the challenges I face, no matter the difficulty ahead. Lead me as Your disciple.
I pray in Your most holy name, Amen.