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Theotokos: Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
"Do not be afraid" (Luke 1:30)
The Angel Gabriel senses Mary’s being “greatly troubled at what was said.” So, Gabriel immediately responds, “Do not be afraid.” Similar words spoken to Abram in Genesis 15:1 invited the father of Judaism into a covenant of trust. Identical words to the young Daniel in Daniel 10:12 invited him to trust that God would vindicate his people from bondage. When God’s chosen are “greatly troubled” God’s invitation is to trust.
Mary is invited to trust, and imagine all that she had to be afraid of. Who was she, after all, to be worthy of being chosen? And, throughout the next few months she would need to trust. When she told her parents—she had to trust. When she told Joseph—she had to trust. When the gossipers of small-town Nazareth whispered—she had to trust. During the emotional roller coaster imbuing her pregnancy Mary had to trust God with all her fears.
Each of us has fear. In fact, if you want to find fear, follow the tail of restlessness, worry, and anxiety. What do you worry about? Where is your anxiety? When do you get restless? Underneath those ordinary emotions is fear—and where there is fear there is God waiting for us to trust him.
1st John 4:18 reminds us that “perfect love casts out all fear.” You are chosen, you are important to God. And, He is love— perfect love. No matter what’s going on in your life right now, the antidote for fear is not courage, but trust.
Spend some time with Mary today. Ask her if she was afraid. Ask her how she dealt with it. Ask her to help you trust her Son.
For your prayer
Mary would have often prayed with Psalm 37. Prep your imaginative prayer by slowly reading Psalm 37:1-11. Use your spiritual senses and imaginatively pray with Mary in Luke 1:30.
“Father, I ask for the grace today to taste your perfect love that casts out all fear. I beg you to help me trust you in all things.”
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© Fr. Mark Toups, 2015