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Trust and Not Control

First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary men,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4AB, 5-6

R. (see 7c and 10b) Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month,
the angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! 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.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“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, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”

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.

NAB

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“Ask for a sign.” These are the words that lead off the First Reading today.

How many times have I asked the Lord for a sign? What college should I go to? Whom do you want me to marry? Should I marry at all? What do You want to me do to with my life? And the answer?

Nothing.

Silence.

Crickets.

With blind faith I’ve had to step out time and again, trusting that the Lord would lead me forward if it was His will, or close the door if it wasn’t. So many times I’ve wished God would just tell me exactly what was going to happen, because then it would be so much easier to trust Him. But after reading the Gospel today I’m not so sure that’s true anymore.

The Angel Gabriel appears to the Blessed Virgin Mary and tells her exactly what’s going to happen. She’s going to have a son, that son is going to be called Son of the Most High, and He will rule on David’s throne for ever and ever. And when Mary asks how can this be, Gabriel tells her exactly what is going to happen a second time. The child will be conceived by the Holy Spirit, and He will be the Son of God.

Mary got what I had always been praying for, a full disclosure of God’s plan. If I could only know God’s plan, then I could really trust! But sometimes God’s plan doesn’t make sense, and knowing it doesn’t make trusting Him any easier. I’ve realized I just don’t want God to let me in on His plan for my life. I want Him to use MY plan for my life. But that isn’t trust, it’s control. Real trust requires that we give up control, regardless of whether we know what lies ahead or not.

Mary shows us what that looks like. Her response to the angel, her fiat, her perfect yes to the Lord, reflects her perfect trust in Him and her complete surrender to His will. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Mary was the first disciple of Jesus, she spent her life following Him and directing others to do the same. Let us look to her as our Spiritual Mother and a perfect example of how to truly trust the Lord, with total and complete abandonment.

Let us use Mary’s fiat as our own personal prayer today, that we may all become handmaids of the Lord, ready to do His will.

Anna Coyne is a Saint Paul native, wife, mother, and convert to the Catholic faith. When not chasing after her two young children you can probably find her teaching piano lessons, knitting, tripping over wooden train sets, or writing. Find out more about her here.

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