The Annunciation in Lent: ‘Do Not Be Afraid’
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 coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
― Vincent Willem van Gogh
I believe the road to joy is filled with sideways distractions and temptations. I also believe the 21st century road is filled with digital traps and slings which make it even more difficult to attain peace with God.
Mary lived the simple life of a woman of her village, destined to be married, and to contribute her essence as her mother contributed, as did her mother. Why, then, would God choose a lowly, loving individual to be the mother of God, the Mother of us all?
And, why would such news from the Angel Gabriel be delivered in a quiet moment, with Mary alone in her home? Such a major announcement should be shouted from the housetops!
But, no, the angel Gabriel found Mary, in that moment, and delivered the news, heaven to earth, in as plain and ordinary a setting that it would be missed, save for a most important point. Our Mother was chosen, by God, for us.
Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid.
I have been fortunate, and humbled, to deliver those words to a number of young people facing a major decision, a turning point, a barrier in their lives from which they hadn’t seen an escape. They were up against their own wall of decision, a moment of fear, and needed a “nudge” to be confident they were headed in the right direction.
Perhaps we are meant to be messengers, though, unlike Gabriel, we likely will not know the moment, nor the opportunity until we are face to face with another whose searching has brought them to a pivotal point.
When might that moment come, when you or I are moved to say “Do not be afraid. God is with you.”
The Lenten path which may have these moments is yet unfolding. We need that same message.
“Do not be afraid”.
With God’s favor, we look to the manifestation of God’s love on Easter morning.