“Be it done unto me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
Complete and utter surrender. In this image, these words seem to describe the attitude of Mary as she receives the gift of Jesus into her life and body. Here is a woman portrayed as so open and receptive, it seems as though there is nothing stopping her from receiving the love of God.
This surrender holds nothing back…what happens? A human being is made flesh within such a woman. And her life is forever changed.
Such surrender has major risks. Mary could be judged as an adulteress. Joseph could leave her. But, in this uncertainty, she knew the One who was confronting her with a decision, and she trusted Him.
When I reflect on my life, often I like to say I surrender to God, only to realize there is always that one thing I feel I can’t surrender to him. I tell him I surrender my vocation, only to find that I tell Him the way I want to find it. I give Him my family life, only to worry about how I can solve their problems.
It is as though I hold onto that one thing to keep control. Yes, I can give God “everything else,” but there has to be one thing, just one, which makes me feel in control.
It is scary to let go of everything. It means that things can happen to us that we did not want or plan. That can be extremely difficult. But, holding onto this false security only is an illusion. It makes us think that we are actually in charge of our lives, when the reality is that everything is a gift. And these gifts come from the hand of a Father who loves us even more than we love ourselves.
This image shows us the beauty of surrender. Yes, it is unbelievably scary. But look at this image: the Son of God became flesh in surrender; joy and peace came from surrender; beauty and love came forth from an act of complete surrender. This can be the same for us.
The plan of the Incarnation was not Mary’s own; but it was more beautiful than anything she could have intended. Yes, it was messy. Yes, it was painful. But, it definitely was beautiful. Death and separation from God became the vehicle for the utmost action of His Love…all through an action of complete surrender.
Pondering this image, ask the Lord, “What is holding me back from complete surrender?” This area shows where you lack trust in God. In this, ask Mary to give you her faith, which knew that her Father would only allow what was truly good for her. In this area of your life, ponder the Incarnation and its beauty. Such an action can lead us to a similar act of surrender.
May we all, like Mary, receive, conceive, and bear forth Christ in the world!
The image, "Our Lady of the Millennium" can be found at http://cardinalsblog.adw.org/2013/08/mary-star-of-evangelization/