Feast of the Annunciation
The annunciation is a faith event. Dramatically, this poor, unconventional peasant woman’s free and autonomous answer opens a new chapter in the history of God with the world…Seen in this light, the particulars of Mary’s call, unique in that only one woman conceives and delivers Jesus, illuminate the fundamentals of everyone’s vocation through the ages. The Holy One, calls all people, indeed all women, and gifts them for their own task in the ongoing history of grace. In the midst of family, work and social life, in village, suburb and city, it begins with an encounter in the solitude of the heart before God: every woman, the voice, the call, the courageous response, in the context of a world struggling for life.
Elizabeth Johnson, Truly Our Sister
Be it done unto me according to Your word.
I will make time to listen for the movement of God’s Spirit in my life.
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,”
It’s a prophetic call, a call of vocation to be a partner with God in this great work. Mary gives her free assent, thus launching her life on an adventure whose outcome she does not know. She walks by faith, not by sight.
Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ
Many times in the Old Testament the words “the Lord is with you” signaled that someone was being called to a daunting task. In fact, these words often accompanied an invitation from God to play a crucial role in his plan of salvation. Such a divine calling generally entailed great sacrifices and challenged people to step out of their comfort zones and put their trust in God like never before.
No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening each time, for the first time, for the only time.
Remember this unwed peasant mother from an impoverished village and her little family, like millions of people today, fell afoul of power. Shortly after the birth of her first child, they narrowly escaped a politically inspired massacre carried out by the local militia. For a time they were stateless refugees in a foreign nation. Eventually, her first born son came to the attention of the occupying power, was arrested and tortured to death in public.