Monday, July 9, 2012

Devotion for today: all of heaven holds its breath

Scripture for meditation: Luke 1:31-33, 35
Blessed are you among women. 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 forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end….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.

Scripture for reflection: Luke 1:38
“I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your word.”

Johnnette S. Benkovic tells us: We know that, at the moment of the Annunciation, the Blessed Virgin Mary was uniquely commissioned to bring Jesus into the world. She was to become the perfect channel of God’s greatest Gift. This is why we esteem her above all the saints, for God entrusted this singular and holy honor to Mary alone. And yet, in a certain sense, God extends the call He issued to Mary to each of us. Will you bring my Son into the world? Will you carry Him in the womb of your heart as Mary carried Him in the womb of her body? Will you birth Him into the lives of others, that all might come to experience the grace of redemption and eternal life? Like the Blessed Mother, you and I have a choice. We can say “yes” to God’s request, or we can say “no”. And, just like Mary’s response, our answer has eternal consequences, both in our lives and in the lives of others. If we say “yes” as Mary did, God will empower us with His Holy Spirit and we, too, will be filled with the life of Jesus Christ. Like Mary, we will become a channel of grace through which the love of God enters into the world. And, because the spiritual needs of our day are so great, all of heaven is holding its breath waiting for our response (Full of Grace by Johnnette Benkovic, Servant Books, 2004).

Prayer: Consoler Consecration to Mary (Fr. Michael E. Gaitley)
Mary, I want to be a saint. I know that you also want me to be a saint and that it’s your God-given mission to form me into one. So, Mary, at this moment, on this day, I freely choose to give you my full permission to do your work in me, with your Spouse, the Holy Spirit.

My thoughts: Johnnette Benkovic’s above passage really struck a chord with me. We think of Mary as being so highly favored by God as to be chosen to carry and bring forth His Son. And she was. But when we realize that God is asking the same thing of us, it is mind-boggling. Mary suffered great heartache as she carried out God’s will, and so will we. It isn’t easy to bring Christ into today’s world. People scoff at His message and ignore His teachings. Those of us who try to live the faithful life, presenting Christ as the answer to life’s hurts and confusions, are often ignored at best and mocked at worst. So was Mary as she carried Christ, and then stood at the foot of His cross. We must have her courage, and say “yes” to God’s call to be the bearer of His Son into today’s world. “All of heaven is holding its breath for our response.” Awesome.

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