There goes a simple story of a father trying to explain the importance of the season of Advent to his ten-year-old son. He stresses on the need to prepare oneself well for Christmas.
The father said, “You ought to ‘give up’ something in Advent; something you will really miss, like for example, chocolates!”
The boy thought for a moment, then asked, “What are you giving up, Daddy?” “I’m giving up liquor,” the father replied.
“But before dinner you were drinking something” the boy protested. “Oh! That was only wine” said the father “I gave up hard liquor”
To which the boy replied, “Well then, I think even I’ll give up hard chocolates!!”
‘Giving up’ completely, in life, becomes a hard challenge and a difficult task.
But only in going through the tough way, can one obtain true success in life.
Only by giving up human interests in favor of God’s choices, can one find heavenly bliss!
The Gospel of the Day – the Annunciation of the Lord – is a witness to this great aspect of “Giving Up”.
“How can this be?” (Lk 1:34)…
This was the question that the innocent and surprised Mary asked the majestic Angel of God.
Mary had been betrothed to Joseph.
>> This meant she had formally agreed to marry him but the “wedding” had not yet taken place.
Between the “betrothal” and the “wedding feast” was a period usually lasting six months to a year.
During that period the couple was considered to be married and were called husband and wife but (a) they did not live together and (b) did not consummate their marriage physically.
In this context and background,
>> To be chosen to be visited by the splendour and power of God’s Messenger…
>> To be told that she was to be conceived and bearing a child…
>> To be declared that she was to be Mother of God’s Son…
…were highly disturbing, shocking and even fearful prospects!
It was pretty natural for Mary to pose this probing question: “How can this be?”
In her heart, it was slowly dawning that life was going to be highly different hereafter…
If we suppose that her wedding feast is still four or five months away, like teenagers everywhere, we can imagine that all her thoughts centred on things that prospective brides think about…
… the guest list, the decorations, the food, the music
… what she will wear and where they will house the people coming in from out-of-town
… her future life with her beloved husband
Mary had never been happier.
This was to be the most exciting time of her life.
>> But the plan of God intervened at this joyful, undisturbed, serene phase of her life…
Often when life moves on an even path, we face the unexpected bumps of troubles.
>> Often when spiritually things seem to be fine, we encounter unforeseen nights of faith crisis.
Gone were the happy dreams of a grand wedding…
>> Gone were the hopes for “the most beautiful wedding to her most wonderful man”…
Gone were all her girlish hopes of a quiet life in the home she would personally decorate…
>> Gone, also, were the visions of a houseful of children conceived in love and filled with mirth…
Life was calling Mother Mary to make the choice of “giving up” completely.
>> “Giving up” her dreams and desires totally, to share in the magnificent plan of God’s Will.
>> “Giving up” her fears and apprehensions fully, to leap into a dimly-lit world of faith.
She will have a wedding feast, but not the way she planned.
>> She will be married, but not before rumours spread through the countryside.
>> She will have a home, but over her family will rest an uneasy cloud of dark suspicion.
It will all happen, but not the way she expected.
She had to “give up” all…
… Her desires… Her will
… Her dreams… Her expectations…
The Bible is a mighty witness to those heroes & heroines of faith who “gave up”
>> Abraham… Moses…
>> Ruth… David…
>> Elijah… Jeremiah…
>> Esther… Job…
This “giving up” by Mary, was the key element in God’s plan of human salvation.
Today, each one of is being invited and challenged to “give up” things in life…
>> “Give up”…
… our will in favour of God’s Will in our lives.
… our sinful tendencies to allow purity and holiness to overshadow us.
… our selfish desires and interests to make space for the needs of others.
>> “Give up”…
… our personal time of comfort and luxury to give more time to the Lord.
… our judgmental attitudes and embrace the spirit of gentleness and forgiveness.
… our wrecking feelings of brokenness and let in God’s presence and grace to heal us.
No doubt that this “giving up” is a hard task and even might seem “impossible” to us.
>> But the Angel Gabriel assures and comforts us, “For with God, nothing is impossible” (Lk 1:37).
Got any rivers you think are unassailable?
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
>> God specializes in things thought impossible.
>> He does the things others cannot do!
Mother Mary is the greatest human example of impossibilities being converted to realities through God’s Power!
In Her yes, humanity said Yes to God…
>> In Her “giving up”, humanity has “given up” the sinful nature.
She is our Model disciple to imitate.
>> She is our Mother beloved to hold fast to.
>> She is our Madonna Special to intercede to.
Let us imitate Mother Mary in her dare and courage for the sake of God’s Kingdom to “give up” completely.
God Bless! Live Jesus!