One of the moments of Christian history most represented in Christian art, is the encounter between Mary, the future mother of the Messiah, and the angel sent by God. Today, March 25, we celebrate the feast of that encounter.
This is the moment when God became incarnate in human form on earth. While the most celebrated Christian moment is Christmas nine months later, today’s feast of the Annunciation marks the moment when God took on human form.
It is appropriate today, to reflect on the role of the Virgin Mary in God’s plan. Mary’s ‘be it done to me according to your word’ is rightly seen as the model co-operation with the divine plan. This is what we mean by “discernment.”
Note that Mary did not spend time weighing up the pros and cons of the angel’s greeting. Too often this juggling is what we wrongly call ‘discernment’. Instead discernment is simply our desire to know whether or not the nudging / voice / call we feel is that of God or of the evil spirit.
Mary wanted to know whether the message was from God or not. Mary’s discernment was simply to know whether or not it was God who was communicatingwith her. Once Mary knew that this was God, then the only answer she would give was “yes”.
This simple and clear desire is built into every human person. If we are healthy, and know ourselves well, then we are not too concerned with how something will turn out. Our sole desire will be to flow with whatever God proposes.
This awareness of the power and wisdom of God’s plan for our lives should not make us feel disempowered. Instead we can relax into the plan of one who loves us much more than we could ever love ourselves.