Born in Us

“Let it be to me.” ~Mary

The message in this post has been ripening within my soul and mind for a long time, so much so that I have struggled this week to bring myself to write it.  As any contemplative heart knows, putting a personal experience of God into words seems impossible…as though the revealing of something highly precious depletes from the sacredness of it.

Nonetheless, I know it is time, just as a pregnant mother knows the time of her delivery.

The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896
“The Annunciation” by Henry Ossawa Tanner

This painting.

I could sit and meditate upon this painting and God’s words which inspired it for unending time and not come close to mining all the truth it holds within its colors and strokes.

Gabriel breaks God’s silence again…not with a priest offering incense and prayers, but with a humble Nazarene girl.  So unexpected.  So like our God who uses the seemingly insignificant to bring forth His heart’s desire.

We continue our pilgrimage of Advent…we continue our Pilgrim Songs.

I look to you, heaven-dwelling God,
look up to you for help.
Like servants, alert to their master’s commands,
like a maiden attending her lady,
We’re watching and waiting, holding our breath,
awaiting your word of mercy.
Mercy, God, mercy!
We’ve been kicked around long enough,
Kicked in the teeth by complacent rich men,
kicked when we’re down by arrogant brutes.

-Psalm 123 (MSG)

I wonder how many times Mary had sung or spoken these words of the psalmist.  Likely at least three times a year, if not more.  Did her mother teach her this song?  Did she know the words by heart?

Based on her response to Gabriel’s message, I imagine that Mary had memorized and pondered the meaning of these words in her heart.

“Like servants, alert to their master’s commands,
like a maiden attending her lady,
We’re watching and waiting, holding our breath,
awaiting your word of mercy.”

The overflow of Mary’s heart reveals a humble, loving surrender of her life to God’s plan in which she will play an integral role.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

Good morning!
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.

She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.

He will be great,
    be called ‘Son of the Highest.’
The Lord God will give him
    the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob’s house forever—
    no end, ever, to his kingdom.”

Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”

The angel answered,

The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
    the power of the Highest hover over you;
Therefore, the child you bring to birth
    will be called Holy, Son of God.

“And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”

And Mary said,

Yes, I see it all now:
    I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
    just as you say.

Then the angel left her.

-Luke 1:26-38 (MSG)

Did you notice Mary’s response from the wellspring of her deeply-rooted heart?  She trusts the message because she trusts God.

Why do you think Mary trusted that “nothing is impossible with God?”

Do YOU believe that?  Has God ever asked you to do something you believed to be impossible?  How did you respond?

To what is God currently inviting you that seems logically impossible, like a virgin giving birth?

Remember the thought I shared at the very  beginning, before we began our journey?

“We are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born.”   ~Meister Eckhart

I invite you to ponder this question:

  • what does God desire to bring forth from you, His beloved creation?

Allowing yourself the time and space to be honest in your prayerful reflection upon this question could be the greatest gift you receive this Christmas.

I close with sharing a fellow spiritual director’s post, a mentor much farther down the path than myself.  As I searched the above quotation to be sure I had it correct, the first result was that of one of my beloved Selah instructors–Brother David Vryhof, SSJE.  I have rarely sat at the feet of such wisdom and love.

“Mothers of God” — Br. David Vryhof

May Christ be born in you today.

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