October is the month of the Rosary, so each Monday this month I will give brief reflections on one set of mysteries.
And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! 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." ... 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.
Mary was willing to accept God's will, even when she did not understand it. Through her assent, God brought salvation to the world. He asks for my assent, too. May I always give my assent wholly and enthusiastically, even to the mundane tasks of my vocation.
During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
How does it happen that not only the mother of my Lord, but my Lord himself should come to me?! And yet I do not recognize Him. Or I recognize Him but treat Him with only casual respect rather than the reverence He deserves. May I always grow in awareness of God in my life and respond with devotion.
The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
The Word made flesh. The God-man. The only begotten Son of God. The Most High God as a tiny child, an infant in the lowest of situations. May I always humble myself, knowing that from dust I was made and to dust I will return. May I stand in awe of the love God has for me such that He would empty Himself and take on human form that I might grasp the divine.
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Like Simeon, I want to recognize God even when He comes in a form I do not expect. Like Mary, I want to so unite myself with Christ that His sufferings become my own.
Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple
When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
Jesus, whose reply seems insolent, is sinless, so He must not have meant disrespect. May I ascribe the best motives to those around me, even when their behavior seems to be deliberately hurtful. Like Mary, may I keep in my heart the words and actions of Jesus, always seeking to understand them more fully.