The Feast of the Annunciation, when the young Mary, mother to be learns her destiny. The imperceptible moment of conception recalled as the horizon of life becomes frighteningly visible. No wonder the old lose their short term memory but recall early life vividly. The young look forward, thinking of the decisions they have to take and the potential they are anxious not to lose. The old learn to synchronise the way things actually turned out, never quite fulfilling potential perhaps, as their experience fills up more and more of the canvas of their lives.
She was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the angelic message and could not understand the meaning of what was happening to her. We long for something to happen, for God to appear to us, for reality to flower in our lives of expectation and frustration. And when it does we can hardly recognise it and wonder what it really means. There are no final answers and the desire for God, for the everything we need, can never satisfied. We cannot equal the gift. That is why humility is wisdom.
All we can do is give up own point of view and learn to see everything from the perspective of the giver. But then we feel as if we are being annihilated. The ego begins to campaign for its rights. So we try to let God be the true centre while retaining a bolthole for our own self-centredness. The absurdity of this and the frustration it involves may take a long time to become evident.
Mary struggled and yielded her perspective as every loving parent, every loving person knows they are called to do. Her fiat, let it be done to me as you have said, was simultaneously a defeat and a victory, a collapse and a breakthrough, a death and the beginning of a new birth beyond the cycle of death and rebirth.
Our mantra is our fiat. Let it be.
Laurence Freeman OSB