Last Monday, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Annunciation, when the archangel Gabriel came to Mary and announced to her that she would be the mother of the Messiah. Mary so famously responded, “May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38. It is inspiring to reflect upon that most glorious event so long ago. But that event also speaks to us here and now. For, although we are not free from sin, as Mary was and is for all ages, we do, in the Holy Eucharist, receive Jesus into our very selves, sharing in His life and receiving a commission to bring His love to the world.
And thus, as Jesus says, “He who does the will of My heavenly Father is my brother, and sister and mother.” Matt. 12:49. To help us fulfill this glorious noble calling, it is fitting to take a few lessons from Mary in the Annunciation.
First, there is the importance of prayer and family life, for the angel appeared to Mary while she was at prayer in her parent’s home in Nazareth. As her parents, Saints Joachim and Anna prepared for this wonder by raising her well in the faith, we recognize that every family should be a domestic church in which the faith is learned, lived and shown to the world.
Second, we recognize the importance of listening to the words of God and His people, as Mary was attentive to the words of the angel. We have God’s words in the Scriptures, in the teachings of the Church, and in the writings and lives of the saints and holy people. And we should benefit by tapping into these treasuries of faith.
Third, we see that there is no contradiction between inquiry and faith. Mary reasonably asked the angel how she could be the mother of the Messiah, given that she had presumably taken a vow of perpetual virginity. Gabriel responded that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her, as He did in the Temple of old. As Elizabeth later made clear, this question did not reflect doubt, but a desire to understand the message better. See Luke 1:45.
Likewise, we are meant to develop our faith intelligently, always recognizing that there are mysteries beyond our understanding. Fourth, Mary is the perfect example of trusting God and His guidance of our lives. We, like Mary, do not know what the future will hold. But we know that if we, as Mary did, believe and trust the Almighty God, we will receive Jesus well on earth and rejoice with Him forever in the eternal kingdom.