Monday, April 4, 2016

Mary TV April 4, 2016 Reflection - the Annunciation of the Lord


(c)Mateo Ivankovic 2016

April 4, 2016
The Annunciation of the Lord
Dear Family of Mary!
On April 2, Our Lady said to us: "Dear Children, do not have hearts that are hard, closed and filled with fear..."
In this world of sin and darkness, it is very easy to develop a heart that is hard. When we are wounded, harmed by the sin of others, we can choose to harden the exterior of our hearts, to protect them from further damage. We close off our interior life from others and even from God. And in our defensiveness, we develop fear. We become suspicious of others. We hide behind a fake personality, hoping to stay free of relationships, free from the harm that can come to us in our sad and difficult world.
But when we become hard, closed and fearful, we find ourselves alone.
Today, Our Lady shows us a different way. We celebrate the Annunciation of the Lord, that moment when God the Father sent St. Gabriel to make a request of Mary of Nazareth. She lived in a difficult and dangerous world like we do. Romans, factions, poverty, and such. It was not an easy world. But Mary reveals a very different kind of heart, in fact, an Immaculate Heart. We can learn from her what it is like to have a heart of flesh that is open and filled with love:
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her. (Lk 1: 26-38)
Mary's heart was not hard. She was "troubled" by the words of the angel, but she pondered them carefully. She didn't reject them immediately, but thought them through. Gabriel could see that Mary was not closed to his words, but that she could become frightened. His explanation was met with more pondering, more questions. But Mary didn't run away, she pondered again. So Gabriel continued to share the good news of the Messiah with Mary, and her heart was convinced, and open. She finally answered, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."
Amazing!! Mary was confronted with a very big request, a huge offer, to be the mother of the Messiah. And she didn't run away, she didn't faint, she didn't close off in fear. She listened, she thought it through, she asked very good questions, and when convinced, she responded with a complete gift of self, she said, "Yes"!!
May we learn to have hearts that are soft, open and fearless!! May we be ready to say "yes" when the Lord calls us!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2016

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