“let it be done to me according to your word”


The Annunciation story is one of singular beauty and wonder. Mary was a poor peasant girl, in a no-place village, she would have been illiterate, her knowledge of scriptures limited to what she heard in the synagogue and committed to memory in her home. But, Mary was the only one out of the billions ever to live on our planet who was chosen to carry and nurse God’s Son. For that reason alone, we call her blessed!

God’s grace calls for and enables human response. This is seen in the Gospel account of the Annunciation, where the angel’s message evokes the response of Mary. The Incarnation and all that it entailed, including the passion, death and resurrection of Christ and the birth of the Church, came about by way of Mary’s freely uttered fiat – “let it be done to me according to your word”. We recognize in the event of the Incarnation God’s gracious ‘Yes’ to humanity as a whole. This reminds us once more of the Apostle’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:18-20 : all God’s promises find their ‘Yes’ in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. In this context, Mary’s fiat can be seen as the supreme instance of a believer’s ‘Amen’ in response to the ‘Yes’ of God. Christian disciples respond to the same ‘Yes’ with their own ‘Amen’. They thus know themselves to be children together of the one heavenly Father, born of the Spirit as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, drawn into the communion of love of the blessed Trinity.
Mary epitomizes such participation in the life of God. Her response was not made without profound questioning, and it issued in a life of joy intermingled with sorrow, taking her even to the foot of her son’s cross. When Christians join in Mary’s ‘Amen’ to the ‘Yes’ of God in Christ, they commit themselves to an obedient response to the Word of God, which leads to a life of prayer and service. Like Mary, they not only magnify the Lord with their lips: they commit themselves to serve God’s justice with their lives.

This is truly a remarkable picture. Young and inexperienced as she was, Mary was reflective and meditative. She knew the spiritual power of contemplation. She stood atop the mount of grace and meditated upon what this meant for her, and what it required from her. In our frenetic, non-contemplative age, Mary’s example has special relevance: only those who take time to contemplate upon the word of God will experience the birth of Christ in their lives. We must, therefore, all agree that Mary is the most blessed of women, and that “Blessed Virgin Mary” is a fitting designation for her in the life of our Church.

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3 Responses

  1. Most Catholics have not heard about the traditions around the feast of the Presentation of Mary, but from several sources and scriptural evidence it is thought that Mary at the age of three was presented in the temple to fulfill a vow of her parents where she remained, served and was educated before her betrothal to Joseph. If this is so, she would have kown the scriptures and had some sense of what lay ahead for her as the mother of the Savior. She also would have been qualified to instruct Jesus at home, whereas most Jewish boys studied the scriptures in the synagogues. Thus Jesus’ remarkable wisdom and knowledge would be kept hidden until the Father’s timing.

  2. Most Catholics have not heard about the traditions around the feast of the Presentation of Mary, but from several sources and scriptural evidence it is thought that Mary at the age of three was presented in the temple to fulfill a vow of her parents where she remained, served and was educated before her betrothal to Joseph. If this is so, she would have kown the scriptures and had some sense of what lay ahead for her as the mother of the Savior. She also would have been qualified to instruct Jesus at home, whereas most Jewish boys studied the scriptures in the synagogues. Thus Jesus’ remarkable wisdom and knowledge would be kept hidden until the Father’s timing.

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