This week, the Church’s celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation occurred in the middle of the more subdued season of Lent. Yet, it seemed very appropriate to celebrate the event that set in motion God’s plan of salvation for humankind. Without Mary’s “yes,” the Paschal Mystery, as we know it, would not exist. What a phenomenal decision for a young, unmarried Jewish girl to have to make—with no certainty about how her answer would affect the rest of her life. Recently, I learned of a beautiful poem that focuses on the courage of Mary in that moment.
We do not often reflect on the courage of Mary in giving her “yes.” The poem, Annunciation, by Denise Levertov, offers a beautiful image of Mary and this moment in salvation history. Of this decisive moment in Mary’s life, Levertov writes, “God waited. She was free to accept or to refuse, choice integral to humanness.” The poet then asks a question that is relevant for each one of us today. “Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?” The answer is a resounding, “yes!”
Think about the significant times of discernment and choices in life. These occasions might include choices about health, careers, marriage partners, or religious life discernment. The moments of choice or “annunciations” in our lives come with no guarantees and the path forward is often not clear. The only guarantee we have is the same one that Mary had—faith that God could be trusted.
How have you responded to the “annunciation moments” in your life? For me, there have been times when I have said “yes.” There have also been times when I have turned in fear, a time when as the poet said, “God waited.” It takes courage to say “yes” to the “annunciations” or invitations from God in our lives. Nevertheless, God is persistent, constantly inviting us to grow, to live and to love.
Mary is an example for us of both grace and courage. The beautiful words of Denise Levertov’s poem, Annunciation, blessed my spirit. I look forward to praying with it during times of personal discernment. I invite you, also, to take time to sit and reflect with Levertov’s poem and consider the “annunciations of some sort or another” happening in your life.
May we all be blessed with the courage of Mary during times of discernment, uncertainty and when facing the unknown.
Perhaps, an “annunciation” in your life is feeling called to consider being a Sister. Call us, our Vocation Ministers would be happy to speak with you.
Pat Dual, OP