December 1, 2015

Theotokos: Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

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Theotokos: Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

“she was greatly troubled at what was said” (Luke 1:29)

The Angel Gabriel hails Mary with a profound greeting, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” The words “the Lord is with you” have deep roots in ancient Judaism and in the call of those chosen. God chose Moses and in response to Moses’ doubt, God said, “I am with you” (Exodus 3:12). Many of Israel’s revered—Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, and David—resisted the piercing intimacy of being chosen; however, God answered their doubt with similar nuances of the same words, “I am with you.”

As a holy Jewish woman versed in the lives of the Old Testament greats, Mary would have been very familiar with the significance of the words, “the Lord is with you.” Gabriel’s greeting discomforts Mary—not because she doesn’t know what the Angel means, but precisely because she does know why he begins with such an introduction! Thus, “she was greatly troubled at what was said.” Mary was chosen by God and she now knows it.

There is something penetrating about realizing that God has chosen us—that amidst the 6,000,000,000 people of the face of the earth, God wants me, God chose me. In fact, John 15:16 reminds us of God’s particular desire for us as Jesus says, “it was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.” Far too often our perception of ourselves echoes something like this, “There’s nothing special about me. I’m just ordinary. I wish I were …” For a number of reasons, many of us don’t feel extraordinary, and because of this, many of us doubt that God would chose me.

Do you believe that God chose you? Rest with Mary, for even she “was greatly troubled at what was said.” Spend the day with Mary and ask her if you are chosen. Ask Her for whom were you chosen.

For your prayer

Mary would have often prayed with the Book of Deuteronomy. Prep your imaginative prayer by slowly reading Deuteronomy 7:6-8. Use your spiritual senses and imaginatively pray with Mary in Luke 1:29.

“Father, I ask for the grace today to taste your particular desire for me. I beg you to reveal why you chose me.”

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© Fr. Mark Toups, 2015