By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Dec 19, 2008)
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you." Lk 1:28
The Desert Fathers loved to reflect on the notion that Mary became pregnant with the Word long before Jesus actually took flesh within her womb. The angel seems to acknowledge this in Luke's Gospel when he greets Mary: "Hail, full grace! The Lord [the Word] is with you."
In anticipation of the Christ Child, the Spirit had prepared Mary's mind, soul, and spirit for bearing Christ within her body. In fact, God had prepared her in a unique way through her Immaculate Conception. The angel hints at this when he hails the sinless Virgin Mary as "full of grace." Her sinlessness from conception made her a worthy vessel to bear the Incarnate Word.
She was that wise woman who knew how to respond in obedience to the Lord, fulfilling perfectly the call God had given His people Israel to do His will. "May it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38), she tells the angel when he asks if she will agree to become the Mother of God's Son.
As we consider Mary's submission to God's plan for her, we find that in the Diary of St. Faustina, the Lord expressed similar views on our need to trust completely in His will. Quoting His mother's words at the Annunciation, Jesus tells St. Faustina: " 'Not as I want, but according to Your will, O God, let it be done unto me.' These words ... can raise a soul to the summit of sanctity in a very short time" (1487).
Mary, through her "yes" to God, is graced by the Spirit for her special vocation. Her submission to God's will becomes the crucial link in salvation history that gives us Jesus.
With only several days left before Christmas, we can surrender like Mary to God's will in our lives. We can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa: "Let Jesus use you without consulting you."
Hail Mary, full of grace!
Dear Lady, pray that I may do God's will in my life. May my soul be pleasing to Jesus, my Savior, as I prepare to celebrate His birth. Amen.