Walter Brennan, O.S.M.
1. The Holy.
When humans are confronted with the divine in presence or question ("Is there a purpose to life?"), they meet the Mystery at the heart of life. As R. Otto tells us in The Holy, our human reaction will be one of "fascination" and of "fear." We have "hope" and "light," but we awake to the challenge Life gives us. If we keep awake, we enter into a relationship with this "Mystery" at life's core. Prayer begins.
Mary is human. As a devout Jew she knew she should "be careful that you might obtain what you prayed for." Her prayer for God's salvation was granted. She encountered God and God's plan. As a human she had to be afraid, even if she was overjoyed.
3. Fear Not...
Imagine Mary when she heard of this messianic salvation, thinking of her own virginity and all of the titles given to the child she was asked to conceive ("Son of God," etc. ) and that her consent was necessary for a whole new creation. As Luke tells us in the story of the Child Jesus in the Temple, neither she nor Joseph understood all this. She saw this challenge vaguely, but she saw it enough to require to be told not to fear. She was afraid.
God never pushes us beyond our capacities. God supported Mary in her fear.. A sign that God would support her was given to her. Elizabeth, an old woman, was to conceive. Unlikely. But nothing was impossible to the Creator. The Creator reminded Mary of her faith. If Creation happened, then the Creator could support anyone of us in our difficulties. Not many of us receive signs. She did. She must have needed one.
Belief in our creator who sent the only Son to die for us and to teach us that God is love for us in every minute of the day is our support in difficulties and fear, as God was her support. She feared. She saw the challenge of following Christ. But she received help and support from God--Father, Son, and Spirit. And so will we.
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