“And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be unto me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (Lk 1:38)

One often hears about the “obedience” of the 14-year-old Mother of God, expressed in this famous reply to the Archangel Gabriel, at the Annunciation in the small, undistinguished town of Nazareth.

Reflecting today on the “obedience” of the All-Holy Virgin, for no particular reason. Was it a denial of Her human “will,” as we sometimes understand “obedience”? No, it wasn’t. Here what we see is Her decision, made freely, and after asking for certain clarifications from the angel, to accept Her role in an extraordinary plan that was God’s will. The angel was sent to get Her agreement, and only departed after Her “Let it be.” It is thus that the new creation begins, “the “beginning of our salvation,” (as it says in the Troparion or hymn of the Annunciation) – with the creative, affirmative human word of the All-Holy Virgin. It has remarkably been compared to the Creator’s “Let there be…” at the initial creation of the world.

It is important for me to understand the “obedience” to which I am called today, obedience to God’s will, in this light of Her obedience. It doesn’t mean switching off my will or my brain. It is rather an exercise of my will, of my willingness, and my creative energies, to embrace and follow His voice in all the situations I am met with today. “Let it be unto me according to Your word.”

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