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.
Mary had to make a decision—and make it fast. She had an angel of the Lord, Gabriel, standing before her asking if she wanted to be the mother of the Savior. We can only imagine what went through her thoughts. Perhaps she remembered the words of Isaiah in the first reading, “the virgin shall be with child and bear a son.” Or maybe she recalled the words of the Psalm, “to do your will, O my God, is my delight.”(40:8) There’s a strong chance that her knowledge of both the Scripture and psalms led Mary to definitively answer yes. “May it be done to me according to your Word.”
Today, let us be mindful of the decisions we make. Will we, like the Blessed Mother, think of the Scriptures, psalms, or Church teachings? As Mary has shown, we can express our devotion to God simply by making a decision.
—Mary Lou Manion is an intern in the spiritual direction program at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, Barrington, IL.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.