In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this be, since I have no husband?’ And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (Lk 1: 26-38)

Thus begins God’s Great Interruption of world history, and it begins with a young woman being “greatly troubled” by an unexpected greeting. Then Her visitor tells Her, “Do not be afraid.” But still, She has a question: “How shall this be?” So the angel offers not only an explanation, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…,” but he points to someone Mary knows – Look, Elizabeth has also conceived… And finally the Blessed Among Women accepts God’s call and says, Let it be.

Even in the case of the Most Holy Theotokos, God’s call to Her first instils confusion and fear. Because She doesn’t understand the “How.” And yet She accepts, because She understands the “language” of the angel, the language of faith: “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Today let me ask for Her help, when God gives me unexpected responsibilities, interrupting my previous concerns. “Hail, O full of grace,” I gratefully say to Her today. “The Lord is with You, and through You with us.”


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