Last night, my family had the privilege of attending a beautiful community penance service at the parish just across the bridge from ours. Our own pastor was a "guest" priest for the gathering; and 2 others came to join the "home" priest in West Virginia.
The pastor of the host parish offered a wonderful homily and something he said several times has stuck with me into the next day and has become a meditation for me as I go about my day.
I thought I'd share my thoughts with you here:
In speaking about The Annunciation, Father S. drew our attention to the fact, that even after Mary knew that her visitor was an angel of God...and even after she listened to his message AND his subsequent explanation of how the events being foretold would come to be...
SHE STILL DID NOT UNDERSTAND.
The Virgin Mary, the one, whom from all time was chosen, destined, prepared, and preserved in order to one day find herself greeted by an Angel and asked to be the mother of the Messiah...
DID NOT UNDERSTAND.
Mary was confused. She was "in the dark". She could not comprehend what was happening; much less God's WILL for her life...SHE WAS CLUELESS.
All that she knew was that she, like her people, had long-been awaiting the coming of a Savior.
She knew/believed that there was a God.
She knew/believed that it was His Angel who was speaking to her.
She knew of all that, but beyond it...
SHE DID NOT UNDERSTAND.
In fact, she no more understood what was happening or going to happen any more than WE do today...even after all these years and what we've learned since then!
The beauty of this idea is what came next.
This young girl, even though she was confused...even though she did not understand...and even though she was troubled in her heart...TRUSTED COMPLETELY and SAID "YES" to God.
She did not hesitate. She did not demand further explanation. She did not ask for a sign (though, it could be said, God offered her one in the pregnancy of Elizabeth for in seeing her cousin with-child, Mary then knew that what had happened to her was REAL and was TRUE) and she did not stop to consider the consequences which might befall her...
She simply surrendered all to God and made herself available to Him as His chosen vessel!
We must be like Mary.
How many times do we cry out that "we do not understand"?
We do not understand why children and good people must suffer.
We do not understand why we do "x, y, and z" with our families according to the Teachings of the Church and yet, our lives end up tossed about in turmoil and confusion and it seems that those who have fallen away or have never known God to begin with, are often, (it appears) "better-off".
We do not understand the mysteries of our Faith, nor do we understand the depth or infinite components of God's love and mercy.
We do not understand why we feel so lonely when we are surrounded by people.
We do not understand what He is asking of us half the time...or if our choices/decisions reflect His will/plan.
But, even so...we can be like Mary.
We can go forth, on bended knee, in humility and with complete trust ...
AND SAY, "YES".
We need not ask for explanation...or wait for an audible/clear answer...
It is good enough to know that He is there and that He is GOD...our loving Father in heaven.
SHE DID NOT UNDERSTAND any more than we do.
Let us, like her, make ourselves "handmaids" and invite
"it to be done unto us according to His Word".