Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12, 2012

Today's text

The angel [Gabriel] answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. And I tell you this too: your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.' for nothing is impossible to God.'  Mary said, ‘Here I am. The servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her (Luke 1:35-39).


The Christmas rush is on, too much to do and too little time. But it is not just this season.

I have been in a hurry much of my life, and I am not alone. We are driven by the awareness there that we have too little time to do, see and accomplish what we want or think we should do.

I take on too much and habitually underestimate the amount of time each new task requires. Completing one job I speed to the next, which accounts for a number of traffic tickets I’ve received, including one for a stop sign last week. I thought the red sign was merely a suggestion.

But the longer I live the more aware I am that life cannot be forced, love cannot be hurried and the human heart requires time to know itself and the wonder of God. Spiritual depth and truest life can’t be rushed but must be welcomed and received.

But it can only be received by those who refuse to force the future, those who live Mary’s prayer, “Let it be to me according to your word.”

So let us do what we can to live and love, conforming our lives to our limits and knowing that what happens today, in this place and time, in each of our lives, in this holy season, is not entirely up to us.

More is happening than we can know, so the humble and wise pray, “Let it be.”

A medieval painting of the angel Gabriel greeting Mary is indelibly imprinted in my mind.

Gabriel bows before Mary not daring to look at this thin slip of a girl, as he tells her the darkness of her womb will bear the Soul of the Universe, the heart of the unimaginable God.

Mary bows from the waist, too, facing Gabriel. Looking down in humility, her posture, matches the bent body of the great angelic messenger. They are matching bookends, bowing before the beauty and wonder of the other--and before the mystery that their lives are not their own. Their stories belong to the story of God’s love for a broken world.

They bow, conforming to whatever God requires of them in this great saga, little knowing what will come, what they must do or the pain and joy each day may bring.

Their whole posture whispers quiet faith, “Let it be,” a prayer we need every new morning.

For prayer and reflection

·         What images, ideas and memories were stirred by today’s reflection?
·         For what in your life do you need to pray “Let it be?” What makes this payer hard for you?
·         When and where does the rush of this season prevent you from resting in God’s will and care?
·         Do you have a favorite or most meaningful picture of Mary or of the Christmas story?

Another voice

“Let it Be” and in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me.  Speaking words of wisdom, Let it Be.  And in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me.  Shine until tomorrow, Let it Be.
(Let It Be,” Paul McCartney).

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