The great mystery of the Incarnation, the coming of the Messiah into the world, finds its genesis in a simple “yes.” It is that affirmative response of a young girl, given in pure, profound, and innocent faith to the awesome, angelic messenger of God which brought the ancient promise of salvation into the world. Who was she to receive such a visit? To hear such an overwhelming word? We see her confusion and utter innocence in her question to the magnificent being in her presence, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
The great mystery of the Incarnation has to include Mary and her fiat to the word the Angel brings to her. It is through Mary that Jesus takes on his humanity. And here we are challenged by faith too. Are we not struck with surprise and wonder at this proposition, that a young girl living in an obscure corner of the great Roman Empire, in a small impoverished village, would be asked to participate in this transcendent, indeed, supernatural event so far beyond our ability to understand. In our human wisdom we are incredulous. We can only imagine how Mary must have felt, how she must have been overwhelmed that God would send this magnificent being to her to ask her such a thing? How her mind must have reeled with the thought that God was asking her to bear Eternity within her finite womb, that the child that would be born to her would be called holy, the Son of God?
God, of course, knew that Mary, being human, would need something tangible, something graspable, to overcome her innocent confusion. The Angel tells Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth, a women far beyond child bearing age, a women who had been considered barren, had conceived a son and was in her sixth month of pregnancy, “for nothing would be impossible for God.” (verse 37) With that information, Mary responds in all of her purity and innocence saying, “let it be done to me according to your word.” With that “yes” the great mystery of our salvation became tangible, personal, real, and present. What we see here is that God’s promise of salvation did not overwhelm human freedom, it included it.
And so it is with us. Every day God comes to each one of us and asks us if he might enter and touch the world through us. He offers us incredible, awesome opportunities to say yes to him each and every day, in all kinds of ways. Do we say yes to him, and in so doing to allow his grace to be manifested through us in our actions toward others? Are we innocent enough to believe that he desires to do this with every one of us? Are we courageous enough, like Mary, to say yes to God? Do we say yes to God and allow his Holy Spirit to work through us, or do we doubt, or complain that we are nobody, not worthy of such a thing? Worse, do we refuse his invitation? Everything in the small worlds of our daily lives depends on our answer.
Lord, during this Christmas season, help us to prepare our minds, our hearts and our souls to welcome you into our lives here and now. Give us the graces of humble innocence to recognize you, and the great courage to say yes to you in all of our daily chores. Let us, like Mary, say to you, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” We pray these things in your name, Jesus. Amen!
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