In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him 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 ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 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 holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
It seems so strange in the Easter season, when we’re still dealing with the wonder of the resurrection with its consolations and challenges, that the risen Christ gives us to suddenly be taken back to the Annunciation where Mary’s “yes” started the whole story. I’m intrigued, in my own reflection, by Mary’s trust, which does seem entirely appropriate for the Easter season. In the readings around this feast, we are told of how bravely the previously cowardly disciples preach the risen Jesus. They learned through the resurrection to trust that God ultimately would be victorious by defeating even death itself. Yet Mary’s trust is even more stunning to me. She trusted God before she ever heard or saw Jesus. She must have trusted what she had been told at the Annunciation and by others in Jesus’ infancy all through the first 30 years of her son’s life when he presumably seemed just like any other boy becoming a man in Galilee.
I had a superior when I was studying philosophy who told me during a retreat once that if I didn’t trust, then I wouldn’t be able to hope. The two are linked. My own ability to trust God waxes and wanes depending on circumstances, but I must have gotten better because I do have hope in the Church and the Jesuits. I sometimes pray to Mary to help me be more trusting like she was. Perhaps you can spend some time in your prayer today asking God to increase your trust in his love for you and the world he created. He loves both deeply.
Lord, the greater my trust in you, the greater my hope in all aspects of my life. I pray that your dear Mother, my dear Mother, fills me with the promise of your love. Like, Mary, may I always move with the assurance of your presence in the details of my life. And I pray to you, Mary, that I surrender my “Yes” and though my faith may ebb and flow, ultimately I will choose whatever leads to deepening your Son’s life in me.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team