Friday, March 25, 2011


In the Gospel of St. Luke Chapter 1, the scripture story tells about the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary--and announcing that she will conceive in her womb and bear a son, and name him Jesus--which means Savior. The story reveals Mary's humanity by saying she was deeply troubled--we can all relate to that feeling, right? and yet,... she listened to the angel and eventually said,..."be it done to me according to His word."

In this mystery we pray for the grace of joyful surrender to His will. To surrender means we give to God all that we are about--just as we are--whether happy or sad, anxious or serene, fearful or confident, doubting or believing.

This is a beautiful action we can make each morning from the moment we arise from slumber-a surrender to His will like Mary at the Annunciation. She uttered the anointed word, "Fiat!" which means "Yes"-- a word that can be reechoed in our daily life with whatever we face and especially in troubling circumstances....just like Mary, all lifted up and offered to Him knowing that as we offer this to Him we are emptying ourselves and allowing Him more room to work--to do His holy work--within us.

Come Holy Spirit

When Mary asked how it was possible for her to conceive a child when she had no husband the angel reassured her by saying, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." These words are so powerful! I was directed in a week long silent retreat to pray this way.

Have you ever thought of praying like this in your daily life when you need direction--when you need inspiration? I hadn't, but now I do! Say, for example, you don't know exactly what to do about the problem of how to respond to your child's disappointing behavior. The very same prayer in any moment can be said, "Come Holy Spirit, may the power of the Most High overshadow me." And wait in silence, wait in prayer for the answer. And if nothing comes to you then ask the Lord to reveal it to you as you go about the day. It is my experience as I have practiced this more and more as a daily habit that wonderful ideas fill me and surprise me.

The Spirit, is with us always--not out there, but right within us, waiting for an invitation to do a deeper work within us.

"Nothing is impossible"

The Annunciation story continues as the Angel Gabriel further tells Mary that her kinswomen, Elizabeth, who was called barren, has also conceived a son in her old age and that "nothing is impossible with God."

As the Lord made Elizabeth fruitful after many years of being unable to bear fruit from her womb, so He can cause us to bear fruit where no fruit has been as we "live on in Him and He in you." (Jn 15:4) And so whatever seems impossible in our life right now is something we can surrender to the Lord, asking the Holy Spirit to come and standing in faith on His promise of His word. Mary stood on the promise of His word and like a handmaid she, in utter humility and total trust, surrendered her human will to the Father's divine will.

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