My thoughts (Steve Adams):
Mary’s reply to God’s plan, “Let it be with me according to your word,” used to make me think it was easy for her to do her part to fulfill it. She must have been one of those people who could breeze through the stiffest of challenges without even blinking! Temptation to doubt or give up would never have crossed her mind, or so I thought!
I used to see other people that way, too. For example, celebrities — they must have everything figured out since they’re so confident and poised! Ricky Martin, the effervescent, ever-smiling singer, writes in his memoir, Me, about coming home from a hugely successful tour when his career was at its zenith. Instead of relaxing and savoring the moment, he felt so empty and depressed that he lay around his house in his pajamas for days, suffering. That period of emptiness was followed by years of growth, in which he discovered major ways in which he could live more transparently, help others, and eventually become the father of twins. Like most of us, an angel didn’t suddenly appear to tell him his plan. Instead, it was a long, circuitous journey of discovering self and God.
I’m sure Mary’s journey wasn’t an easy one, either. There must have been many times she was challenged to the core, times when only God’s love pulled her through. First, she was perplexed by the angel’s greeting. Then, there must have been many who shamed her for carrying an illegitimate child. Then, there was the surprise “have-to” trip to Bethlehem — on a donkey when she was very pregnant! Later, she must have endured interactions with those “wise” and “perfect” religious authorities — like the Scribes and Pharisees — who told her that her son was destroying everything good about religion. Ultimately, to see Him brutalized, shamed and executed must have been painful beyond endurance.
But, Mary was faithful to go on with God’s plan and not give up! She also lived to see him heal a man who’d been blind from birth. . . raise Lazarus from the dead. . . be resurrected from the dead. . . ascend unto eternal life. . . and give eternal life to his followers (including Mary herself!).
Thought for the day: Lord, help me persevere through the painful and difficult parts of the journey so I can fully participate in Your plan for me.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.