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Theotokos: Saturday of the 3rd Week of Advent
“a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled” (Luke 2:1)
Could the plot thicken any more? Mary wasn’t expecting Gabriel’s annunciation. Joseph wasn’t expecting Mary’s pregnancy. Just when the married couple were adjusting to each other “a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.” Knowing that there was no negotiating the decree, Mary and Joseph dealt with the unexpected census. They prayed. They trusted. They went where God called.
For reasons they didn’t understand, God called Mary and Joseph to leave the comfort of Galilee and set out for Bethlehem. The census was a complete surprise and called them into physical discomfort, emotional uncertainty, and spiritual dependence.
Part of intimacy is being called into places we would rather not go. God may call us to darkness—to embrace our past so that He can heal what is still hurting. God may call us to into discernment—to a future with no guarantees, but only His invitation. For greater intimacy, God often calls us to places we do not expect. When we are called to places we would rather not go we may panic a bit because of where He is leading us. However, the wisdom is not so much to focus on where we are being called, but rather focus on He who is calling us. If God is calling us to go where we would rather not go, trust that the call will lead to greater intimacy, deeper union, and profound relationship.
Is God calling you to a place you’d rather not go? Is God calling you to greater intimacy by calling you to deeper trust? Spend some time with the Theotokos and ask Her how she dealt with God’s call. Ask her to help you trust God, no matter where He calls you.
For your prayer
Mary and Joseph would have prayed with the Book of Exodus. Prep your imaginative prayer by slowly reading Exodus 4:10-17. Use your spiritual senses and imaginatively pray with Mary and Joseph in Luke 2:1.
“Father, want to taste your desire for intimacy with me. I beg you to help me follow you—wherever you want to call me.”
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© Fr. Mark Toups, 2015