The Annunciation: A Moment of Unparalleled Courage

Pat Dual
Blog by Sr. Pat Dual, OP

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

Posted in God Calling?, News

8 responses to “The Annunciation: A Moment of Unparalleled Courage

  1. If your child has any special needs, maybe speech problems, maybe learning differences, you know the time when this need was explained to you, the gentle voice, the touch on the arm, the thoughts whirling in your head. You ask, “How can this be?” and also “What does this mean?” And because you do cry, “I have not the strength,” you turn to Mary, and ask to be made worthy, just for the next five minutes. And she can show us how to be worthy.

  2. I suppose, too, that Mary, full of grace, was able in the moment to recognize the encounter as an Annunciation, to which she was able to freely and courageously respond. Thank you, Sr. Pat, for sharing this poem and your reflection. And may we recognize how the Lord may be announcing the call of GodSelf in our own lives.
    Larry Vuillemin OPA

  3. Pat, Thank you for this reflection. There are also the “annunciation” moments on the “Emmaus Road” that leave us wondering about the “road map” we are trying to follow! Then it is a matter of trusting the Companion every step of the way. . .like NOW!

  4. Pat I really appreciated your blog this morning. In fact I found myself making a list of all the annunciations in my life. Would that I would have always been so gracious with my yes. Diane Traffas

  5. Mary’s Annunciation as a model for the discernment’s through which God announces how we can give birth to the Christ. I love it, Pat. Thank you for sharing Denise Levertov’s poem with us and, more, how God announced GodSelf to you, through it.

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