It is easy to read the Gospel account of the Annunciation and not really stop to consider what this event demanded of the Blessed Virgin Mary – from our perspective, we see the result of Her acceptance of what was being asked of Her and we know ‘what happened next’, as it were; but at that actual moment, I wonder how it all seemed to Her?
I would imagine it is disconcerting to have an Angel appear, who then delivers a message from the Almighty; and not just any divine message, but the most singular message in the entire history of humanity. And everything – absolutely everything – that will follow afterwards depends completely on the answer which will be given in response. That answer must be given freely – the Lord is not over-ruling the free choice of the Blessed Virgin in any way whatsoever. It is Her answer, Her response, Her choice.
And She accepts. Her response is ‘yes’ – or as She puts it, “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let what you have said be done to Me”.
And from that moment on, everything in the unfolding history of humanity – everything in the history of salvation – will be different. A chain of events has now been set in motion. From this singular moment, God will become Man; and He will go on to die and to rise again, and in the millenia to follow, so many souls will hear His message of salvation and respond.
All of it because one selfless young Woman said ‘yes’.
What faith that ‘yes’ required! What humility and docility! What trust in the Lord! And what selflessness!
These, then, are the lessons we can learn from that moment which we recall today – how to trust God, even when it is hardest to do so; and how to open ourselves to His divine will, becoming forgetful of self. Perhaps that is the hardest part – as human beings, we hold on so tenaciously to our self will, to what we want for ourselves. It is not easy to let go. And yet, let go we must – that ‘single grain’ must die that there might be a harvest.
May the holy Mother of God, whose Immaculate Heart was entirely open to the will of God and to His Word, intercede for us, now and always.