Monday, December 9, 2013

saying yes {psalm 1:1, 2, 3 series}

I am very excited to begin my first series on the blog, which I introduced yesterday in this post.  Today in the Catholic Church we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  In this post, I'll be reflecting on the gospel from today's Mass readings:

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "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 called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."  
Then the angel departed from her. {Luke 1:26-38}

What a beautiful passage. I love this one, and also Mary's Magnificat, which follows soon after in Luke's Gospel (1:46-55). As I reflect upon these words, a few lines stand out to me:

"Do not be afraid..." 
Oh, how often do I need to hear these four words! The Lord must have known, because this phrase is found all throughout scripture, and every time I read it, it is good to hear. Not because I am a particularly fearful person, but because I tend to worry. But I guess worrying is a kind of fear, now that I think about it. I like to be in control. Yet God is so patient with me, as time and time again He reminds me that He is in control (thank heavens!) and that He has a perfect plan for my life. For this I am truly grateful. His plans have been better than any I could have imagined for myself. So when I hear the angel say to Mary, "Do not be afraid," I am reminded to trust. I am reminded to cast aside my fears and my worries and to have faith. 

"For nothing will be impossible for God."
At this point in my life, I have heard this line of scripture many times. I have heard it so many times in fact, it is almost easy to almost pass by it without pausing to reflect on the weight of this statement. Nothing will be impossible for God. Nothing will be impossible. Nothing. 

What a beautiful truth. An amazing, beautiful truth! 

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."
In response to the angel Gabriel's message - his big deal, scary, crazy, unbelievable message - Mary says, "Yes." Mary says, "Your will be done, Lord." What an example Mary is for me. It is my prayer that I might be able to say this with say yes, as Mary said yes to God. She puts her life totally into His hands, trusting him fully. She does not yet know everything that is to come along with her answer, just as I often don't know what will come when I am discerning a decision in my life. She does not let what other people might think or say affect her decision. To have faith like follow where the Lord asks us to go, and to go boldly...that is my desire. 

Would you pray with me? 

Dear Lord...
Thank you for your living word, and for the example of Mary.
I pray that you would increase our faith in you. 
I ask you to give us the grace to say, "yes," with Mary.
Help us to trust in your plan for our lives,
and to know and believe that nothing is impossible with you.
May it be done to us according to your word,
today and every day of our lives, Lord.

My hope is that the posts in this series may inspire you to meditate on the same word of God and share your personal response. I invite you to respond with your own thoughts in the comments section below, or even on your own blog if you have one and want to write a post (then post a link to your blog response in the comments section!).

Thanks in advance for participating - I hope to hear from you!


  1. Beautiful reflection. For me, I reflected on the part of the verse that reads, "The Lord is with you". It can be so easy to forget, in those moments of confusion, uncertainty, and difficulty that The Lord is with us, just as he was with Our Lady. In those moments, perhaps repeating this part of the verse "The Lord is with you" can bring peace and a deep seated trust in the knowledge of His presence in our lives, even when the going seems tough!

    1. I love this, Julie. Thank you so much for sharing your reflection!

  2. Elise - this was so incredibly helpful to hear. So easy to get bogged down with worry and stress, especially this time of the year. And such a powerful thought that nothing is impossible with God! I can't even fully wrap my mind around it.

    Thank you for your posts! They offer wonderful moments of reflection.



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