On the Annunciation, let Mary be your guide

Pope Francis has invited Catholics to renew an act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. 

Trusting God, as Mary did at the Annunciation, ultimately resulted in the gates of Heaven being opened for us, providing us the opportunity to share God’s goodness for all eternity with Him in Heaven.

By Kimberly Bruce

Do you have trust issues with God? On March 25, let Mary be your guide. The Solemnity of the Annunciation can teach you how to place your expectant trust in Him. 

When God sent the Archangel Gabriel to tell the Virgin Mary that she was chosen to be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah, Mary did not express disbelief or obstinacy. In humble acceptance, she said:

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

Even though she would be carrying a child and could (in her day) be stoned to death for being pregnant when the child was not her betrothed’s, Mary’s only question for the angel was how this could occur, since she was a virgin (see Lk 1:35). Gabriel responded that it would be by the power of the Holy Spirit that she would conceive this child.

Mary Immaculate
To be sure, Mary had an easier time of accepting God’s will for her life than the rest of us would have, considering we retain the effects of original sin on our souls. Having been conceived immaculate, Mary did not suffer any residual effects from original sin, as her soul contained no stain from it. Though our souls are washed clean from original sin in Baptism, Mary’s soul was created immaculate at the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. 

Mary’s body was to be the new tabernacle holding our very God. She needed to be a sinless vessel for this to occur. All of Heaven understood Mary to be immaculate, which is why Gabriel said to her, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Lk 1:28) Mary was already “full of grace” — filled to the brim, possessing grace in full measure. God was with her. All the graces that Mary and every Christian receives are given to us due to the merits of Jesus’ atoning Death and Resurrection, but Mary received her special grace ahead of time — indeed, in anticipation of her fiat, her “yes” to God to becoming the Mother of Our Savior.

Knowledge is power
We possess something Mary did not have at the time of her Annunciation, however, and that is knowledge — knowledge about how the plans of her Son, the Incarnate Word, would unfold on earth.

Mary’s trust in God at the Annunciation, even though she did not know how the future was to unfold, challenges all of us who know how the revelation story ends. We are fortified by Mary’s example, encouraged to have great trust in God and a willingness to be open to His redirection of our lives, should He desire it.

The call to redirect my own life some 30 years ago serves as one such example of how God calls souls to greater trust and change. While on pilgrimage visiting a popular Marian shrine, I had a profound experience concerning Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist (a truth, sadly, I had previously denied). Immediately after this experience, my resistance to any Church teaching I had ever denied or rejected came crashing down like a house of cards.

I was faced, then, with a choice. I could retain my ill-fated beliefs, now understood to be leading my soul down a path of perdition, or I could renounce my wrong thinking and redirect my life towards God and His truths. Happily, I embarked upon the latter path. 

In choosing to follow God, I found three things were needed as they had been for Mary at the Annunciation: trust, obedience, and surrender. God only wills the good. Trust, first, is needed to recognize that what God wills for the soul is much better than anything the world may deem “good.” 

Next, obedience to His Word is essential, even while one may still be discerning it. 

Surrender oneself
Finally, surrender of oneself in order to be molded and “changed into his likeness,” as Scripture says, is necessary for one’s growth in holiness (see 2 Cor 3:18).

Trusting God, as Mary did at the Annunciation, ultimately resulted in the gates of Heaven being opened for us, providing us the opportunity to share God’s goodness for all eternity with Him in Heaven. Learning to trust Him in all the situations of our lives is the decisive answer for bringing the true peace and hope we long for. I can speak from experience! 

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!
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MBK

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