But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance. (Luke 8:15)
Advent is a season in which we wait, we anticipate, and we rest in God’s promises. We enter into the Annunciation with Mary, pondering how many questions she must have had when she gave her yes. The beauty of Elizabeth’s words at the Visitation resonate, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Luke 1:45).
We think both of Mary’s waiting, as well as the bigger picture narratives from the Old Testament of the generations and generations awaiting their Savior. Then, those weeks of preparation and waiting are over. At Christmas, we rejoice in the birth of Jesus – the mystery, the blessing, and the cause for celebration.
From Mary we can learn that intentionally seeking to discern God’s will for our lives over time requires being open to the unexpected and allowing interruptions to our own plans. It means stepping forward with courage in the face of confusion and surprise. We know that we can use our free will to cooperate with God’s grace as Mary did, saying, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). While waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises will entail questions and require perseverance along the way, we have the assurance of God’s faithfulness, goodness, and unconditional love to provide encouragement and bring comfort.
As we celebrate this Christmas season, marveling at Mary’s perfect ability to align her life to God’s will, we can come before the Eucharist and pray St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Suscipe prayer as one way to prepare rich soil in our hearts, taking that first step to let God know that we desire to do his will:
Take, Lord, receive, my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will.
Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given to me.
I surrender it all back to you to be governed by your will.
Give me only Your love and grace.
This is enough for me, and I ask for nothing more. Amen.
Copyright 2018 Amanda Villagómez