Father Edward McIlmail, LC
In the sixth month, 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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I contemplate the example
of Mary’s simplicity and generosity, my heart burns within me.
If only I could be as docile as she
was. In my desire to improve, I trust in your
help and mercy. As I begin this prayer, I
humbly place myself in your presence. I come, Lord,
to do your will.
Petition: Grant me, Lord,
a love for the example of Our Lady.
Personal Call: We notice the very human details of
the Annunciation. It happened in a specific place, to a
specific person. So it is with God’s plan. He
doesn’t call us en masse. He calls each one of
us personally, because he loves each of us as
a son or daughter. The Catholic faith is a
personal relationship with Our Lord. Do I ever feel the
opposite? Do I ever feel like just a number?
That’s not how God intends my faith to be. My
vocation is personal. Do I respond likewise in a
personal way to God?
2. Beyond All Hopes: God’s people had
long awaited a Messiah. Mary also would have looked
forward to a Savior. Yet it likely would not
have occurred to her that she would ever be the
mother of the Redeemer. We too might wonder: When will
God send someone to save the world in our
time? In fact, he tries to do just that ―
through each one of us. Each of us can
be a saint; each of us can help save the
world, with God’s grace. Likewise, each of us is
called to a great and unique vocation, whether ordained,
consecrated or lay. To what great mission is God
calling me? Do I realize that my life can be
great, if lived with sufficient love?
3. Let It Be:
Mary’s fiat ― “Let it be done to me” ―
was the response that brought joy to the angels
in heaven. A 14- or 15-year-old, by her openness
to God’s plan, would help to change the course of
history. We, too, are called to say “yes” to
God and to build little civilizations of love. Each
generation can contribute to building the Kingdom. Do I
see the young people in my life as potential apostles?
Do I respect them as persons called to great
things? Do I see my friends in the same way?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, your great plan for
sending your Son into the world hinged on Mary’s “yes.”
Let me learn from her openness; let me say
“yes” to what you ask.
Resolution: I will pray
for a young person to have the strength to
follow a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life.