Thomas Griffin 3/25/23 (For SpiritualDirection.com)
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The Christian faith is built upon the admission that the human heart is in need of renewal – that we need to turn more to God. This admission is absolutely pivotal for Christianity to make sense and have a practical impact on one’s life. When we view the witness of the Blessed Mother we can experience the renewal we need for ourselves.
The Annunciation is celebrated every March 25th. We remember the moment when Gabriel came to Mary and asked her to become the Mother of God. The details revolving around this tremendous moment in salvation history can actually provide us with all that we need to live the Christian life well.
Gabriel’s initial words which are rendered, “Hail,” can also be translated as “Rejoice.” Here, we have the very first words of the good news of the Gospel being proclaimed. What Gabriel is about to say and ask Mary must be prefaced with utter joy. This news is what the people of God have been waiting and praying for constantly for thousands of years. God has come to save His people.
If you are like me it is often difficult to find reasons to rejoice in our world today. There are so many pressures that surround us. Financial stresses, anxiety from work, and the desire to be present to our families but always feeling like we are not doing enough. Too often I can become overwhelmed by what I have to accomplish next on my list that I neglect to recall the joyous fact that God has truly redeemed the human condition.
Our first lesson of renewal concerning the Annunciation is simple and straightforward: we must be a people of deep joy who see the overall picture of Christ’s life and resurrection. If we are not joyful, we are misunderstanding the entire mission of Christianity.
The jubilation that Gabriel would have expressed is unprecedented. And yet, God asks for her help. He does not impose and He does not force the salvation of the world upon us. He waits upon this teenage girl from the middle of nowhere to give her assent. God does not need us, but He will not save us without us. Mary does not completely comprehend what is happening or how it will take place. But she accepts the offer of the Most High God.
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Thomas Griffin is the chairperson of the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island where he lives with his wife and two sons. He has a masters degree in theology and is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Empty Tomb Project: The Magazine.
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