Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38a Today the church celebrates the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary – the day of the annunciation. The day when the young Virgin Mary said ‘yes’ to God. Today I am using a stunning fresco painting by Fra Angelico, created in around c. 1438-47, at the Convent of San Marco, Florence.
“Some of us need to discover that we will not begin to live more fully until we have the courage to do and see and taste and experience much less than usual…And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform.
What good is it to me if Mary gave birth to the Son of God fourteen hundred years ago and I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and in my culture? We are all meant to be Mothers of God. -Meister Eckhart (15th century German mystic)
We are each of us called to participate in bringing God to birth in the world through our acceptance of his invitation to dwell within us. We all have our own annunciations when we hear the whisper of Gods sacred call inviting us to make flesh the spirit of our heavenly father; to respond with the words of Mary, “Be it unto me according to Thy will”.
The Advent season invites us to quiet reflection on this amazing invitation; to ponder how God has been birthed in our journey so far and to ask ourselves if we are willing vessels still for His continued expression within our lives. We need to choose to respond to His call within us to be present in the moment, to engage fully with life, not always looking back to the past or longing for the future, but to learn to live creatively, passionately and thankfully in the gift of the present moment. This involves making space for contemplation, for biblical reflection and meditation, creating spaces in our heads and hearts and within our busy diaries for God to speak to us. If we want to have our own annunciations, to hear Gods word over our life at a specific time, to experience His love for us in a deeper way, to be filled to overflowing with His spirit of compassion, we must learn to sit with him daily, to come to recognize his presence with us in every moment and every circumstance, be it through difficulty and suffering or times of great joy and excitement.
This advent season is a call to us to host the Christ child, to listen to his calling upon our lives and to offer ourselves as willing vessels, as living sacrifices, to play our part in bringing to birth our Saviour into this world.”
Prayer: Lord, may I trust in your love, like Mary did when your angel appeared to her on that very ordinary day. When she uttered those beautiful words, ‘Be it unto me according to Thy will.’
Lord may I learn more and more to trust in your love, that is planted deep within me as well as about me. May I give your spirit within me the space to give birth to new visions and ways to reveal your infinite love in the most unlikely of places.
Lord may I begin to really grasp the sacramental vision; the call to give birth to the Son of God in my life, my time, my culture. May I take time during this special season of waiting, to offer my life again to your continuing service, to give you the space to bring to birth your vision and plans for my life, that I might be as a clay vessel filled to overflowing with your precious love.