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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

"Let it be"

Fr. Scott A. Haynes


A Meditation on St. Luke 1:26-38


At that time, 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 when the angel had come to her, he said, Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. When she had heard him she was troubled at his word, and kept pondering what manner of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace with God. Behold, you shall conceive in your womb and shall bring forth a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father, and He shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. But Mary said to the angel, How shall this happen, since I do not know man? And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you; and therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth your kinswoman also has conceived a son in her old age, and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month; for nothing shall be impossible with God. But Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.



The Annunciation scene in today’s Gospel is not an ending to the creation story but the continuation of creation and the beginning of our salvation. In Genesis, God says, “Let there be” and his words bring forth light, land, sea, all creatures and even man. At the Annunciation, Mary says, “Let it be” and her words will bring forth the Creator into the world.

 

Jesus is able to take flesh because Mary’s humanity gives him that possibility. This could only happen with Mary’s “Let it be.” Her gift to God is her humanity and through her our humanity. The incarnation of God in Jesus is not, however, limited to Mary. It is an affirmation of God’s creation and the goodness of humanity.

 


In the Old Testament, King David wants to make a cedar house for God in the wilderness, but God has another idea. Through the Annunciation, we see that God chooses human flesh, the virginal womb of Our Lady, as His Living Tabernacle. As members of Christ’s Mystical Body receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood, we are called to be God-bearers, to carry the life of God within our own humanity.

 

The Annunciation teaches us that Mary is a part of us. She is that part of us that is womb-like, the part that gives birth to Christ in our world. To reject Mary is to say no to God. She is Mother of God and Mother of the Church. As the first and best Christian we see that Mary is a model for us.

 

Christ becomes incarnate in Mary to continue God’s creation and to achieve the salvation of the human race. As Christians our souls are created anew by God’s grace as we are saved by Jesus who dwells in our hearts. Though her Annunciation, Mary teaches us how to look at the seemingly impossible plans God has for each of us and to say, “Let it be.”

 


When Mary says “Let it be,” she is not having a “que sera, sera” attitude. It means that to follow God we must be completely vulnerable, open,  and receptive to whatever He wants. To say “Let it be” to God means that we must let down the veils that we think separate us. Mary sees her virginity as a veil of separation. When the Angel Gabriel reveals God’s plan, Mary asks: “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” Not only that, but Mary is weaving a new veil for the temple.

 

Sacred tradition says that Mary was one of the virgins chosen to weave a new veil for the temple. The veil was the curtain that separated humanity from the holy of holies, the place that God lived. But neither the temple veil nor Mary’s virginity, however, can separate God from humanity. As the Archangel Gabriel declares, “Nothing will be impossible with God.”

 


We all live with veils that we think separate us from God. There are veils of fear, shame, and guilt. Independence and individualism become veils of isolation. Sometimes we are veiled in logic, rationalism, and unable or unwilling to abandon ourselves to the mysterious. Often our veils are the life we have created, boxing ourselves in. But God is always stepping through our veils so that He might dwell among us.

 

When Mary said to Gabriel, “How can this be?” she is telling the Archangel that this is not the life she was creating for herself. But when he explains God has other ideas for her, she says, “Let it be.” With those words Mary receives the life God is creating in her.

 


Between “How can this be?” and “Let it be” what seemed impossible becomes reality, the never before heard of will forever become reality, and the veil between divinity and humanity is pulled back as Jesus becomes in incarnate in the womb of Mary. Offer whatever excuses, reasons, and veils you have why this cannot be true for you. The Archangel Gabriel will tell you differently. “Nothing will be impossible with God.”

 

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