The Faith of Mary

Luke 1: 26-38
Isa 7: 10-14 / Psa 24

I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.
(Luke 1:38)

As Mary had set the example
In serving God with total trust,
Let faith be our guiding principle
Then God will surely be with us.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 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)

Reflection

It would have been a very difficult decision for a young inexperienced woman to make, but the presence of the divine messenger must have made such an overpowering impact on Mary that she could hardly say no. Her only concern was how this could happen since she had no intimate relationship with any man. So when the angel Gabriel told her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and God’s power would take over her whole being, and “the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God”, how could any person chosen by God refuse? She was indeed predestined for this great assignment, and being full of God’s grace, our blessed Mother must have had some inkling that she was no ordinary human being. But what strikes us most about Mary’s character was her humility and total trust in God’s plan, not even questioning the angel Gabriel how she would be able to face her betrothed, their parents and the people in their conservative community once her pregnancy began to show.

Her acceptance of the angel’s message gives us an insight into the personality of Mary, the Mother of God. Like an innocent child, she trusted the messenger’s words completely, and yet her courage and wisdom to face the challenge of this “new life” showed a maturity far beyond her tender years. Unlike the old priest Zechariah, who was incredulous when the archangel told him that his wife Elizabeth would bear him a son in their old age, Mary’s question did not arise from skepticism or doubt, but simply (but boldly) begged for an explanation of God’s mysterious plan. Her question was one borne out of faith.

Faith — or the lack of it– has always been a powerful principle in life that can work for or against us. Our Lord Jesus said, “According to your faith it will be done for you” (Mt.8:13). We honor our Blessed Mother Mary as the foremost model of faith. During this Yuletide season, let us recall the many trials that she was able to endure because of her total faith in God. In her weak and helpless condition she went on a long journey to Bethlehem, riding a donkey. She was refused accommodation in all the houses and inns that they went to, and gave birth to the King of kings in an animals’ shelter. Christmas is such because of Mary.

Lord God, in all circumstances, may we follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom You exalted because of her faith and complete trust in You. Amen.

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