The Third Joyful Mystery is the Nativity, the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. We all know the story: the census, the journey, the inn, the stable, the silent night, the choirs of angels appearing to the shepherds. We’re so familiar with it that it can be hard to see it with new eyes, and I confess that I find it hard to meditate on when I pray the Joyful Mysteries. It seems (I hate to say it) trite, and when I began this series I wasn’t at all sure what I’d have to say about this particular mystery that would be of use to anyone.
But God is good; and in my meditations on it over the last couple of months something struck me: the Nativity is the Mystery of Trust—not our trust in God, but God’s radical trust in us.
God placed his beloved son in human hands. As a newborn, Jesus was unable to take care of himself, but had to depend on Mary and Joseph for everything. God trusted that Mary and Joseph wouldn’t screw it up: that they would feed Jesus and care for him; that they would love him and not abuse him. God didn’t simply trust in Mary and Joseph; he trusted in the community of Nazareth while Jesus lived there.
Now we are hardly worthy of God’s trust; we all know how Jesus died, and even when he was a baby God had to send the Holy Family to Egypt for his protection.
And yet God continues to trust us. He trusts us with the Body and Blood of His Son at every mass, that we will receive the sacrament worthily. He trusts us to minister to the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, to be His hands and arms and legs and voice in the world. He, the Almighty God, relies on us in our weakness and sin to get His work done in the world.
God relies on us. He trusts us.
If that doesn’t give you pause, either you’re not paying attention or you’re holier than I am.
What is God trusting you with?
Copyright 2014, Will Duquette