These were the words of Mary after she learned how she would conceive and give birth to the “Son of the Most High” (cf. Lk. 1:26-38). You remember the story: the angel Gabriel comes to Mary privately in the humble setting of Nazareth and announces that she has found favor with God — favor that would result in Mary giving birth to the Savior of the world.
Upon hearing this news Mary asks the obvious question, namely, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel responds with a rather matter-of-fact answer full of mystery: “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.”
That’s it. That’s what Mary got by way of explanation. To this, most of us would probably say something like, “Hey, I don’t get it; that doesn’t make sense. What do you mean when you say, ‘The Holy Spirit will overshadow me?’”
But Mary is wonderfully unlike most of us. What does she say in response to this brief explanation of something so incomparably profound? “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Mary didn’t have complete understanding. She may not have had even a little understanding. But God had spoken and that was good enough for her.
Is it good enough for us? Can we take God at his word in spite of limited understanding? Is knowing that God said it good enough? To be sure, there are many things in Scripture, like the Incarnation, that don’t make complete sense to our finite minds. But when I come up against one of these truths I want to embrace it as God’s sure and perfect word to me–not bristle at it because I don’t completely understand it.
God, make us like Mary so that when your word comes to us we say something beautiful like, “Behold, I am your servant; let it be to me according to your word.”
[originally posted on november 30, 201o]