“Let it be done to me”
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
The feast of the Immaculate Conception is the celebration of Mary being saved at the moment of her conception. When Gabriel calls Mary “full of grace,” he is stating that she is without sin and already saved by the grace of God. We are both saved through Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, yet Mary was saved before she fell into sin and we are saved after falling. In order for her to be filled with the Holy Spirit and carry the Son of Man in her womb, she needed to be pure, holy and sinless. She still had free will, just as we do, to choose to sin. She may not have been perfect because she was still human and could have made mistakes, but mistakes are not sin unless they are done purposely. Temptation is not sin unless you follow through with the sin that is being tempted (although the tempter is sinning by trying to get another to sin).
Saint Luke shows us this is the fulfillment of the Promise by stating the location where this newly married couple lived – the town of Galilee called Nazareth, Joseph was from the house of David, where the promised Son was to descend from. Gabriel also tells Mary He will be great, Son of the Most High, He will be given the throne of David, He will rule over the house of Jacob and His Kingdom will never end. Mary, being a devout Jewish girl, would have understood that Gabriel was speaking of the promised Covenant, but she would not have truly understood all of the pain and suffering she and her Son would endure so that Promise could be fulfilled. Finally, Gabriel offers a sign to Mary that all that he said would be fulfilled – that her cousin Elizabeth was also going to have a son in her old age, because nothing is impossible for God. Words of such power and promise, given to the one whom the Father chose from among all women in the past, present and future.
We are all called by the Lord for some specific duty in furthering His Kingdom. Some are called to priesthood, some brothers and sisters, some married or single – we all play a role in the Body of Christ. Not all of us have the high honor being visited by Gabriel, but know through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, He is calling you in a direction. Even if you don’t feel like you have knowledge or understanding of what you are being called to do, God will provide everything for you. Mary too, didn’t understand all that she was being called to do, yet she fully accepted her role in God’s Plan of Salvation and told the angel, let it be done to me.
Say a Hail Mary. Holy Spirit, please guide me and show me what you want me to accomplish for You during this season of Advent. Please help me to follow the example that Mary provided, in having complete faith in you and allowing your will to be done through me. I ask this in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.