“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
With these words the young woman Mary accepted her calling to participate in the great redemptive work of God. Like the names recorded in the great litany of the faithful of Hebrews 11, she was an ordinary person given an extraordinary vocation. The passage in which these words of faith appear is straightforward but we must not miss the thread of danger that winds through it. When the angel Gabriel makes his appearance, it is said that Mary was greatly troubled. Gabriel soothes her nerves by simply whispering the words “do not be afraid”, the words that are repeated over and over throughout the redemption story when men and women are pointed back to the strength of their faith. This is exactly what we see Mary do.
Mary’s faith is extraordinary, the kind of faith that we all hope to have at the moment of truth. Facing ridicule and castigation for her out of wedlock pregnancy, her words of faith are ‘ may it be.’ When Gabriel announces that she will be carrying the Messiah, the one who her people have been watching and waiting for, Mary must process what it will mean to her betrothal, her own family, and her future. Her engagement could be broken and the security of her own family taken away. The future then would take a much darker turn as her life would be lived out in the streets with nothing to hang on to … except her faith. Though all of these things were possible, Mary does not hesitate to answer yes when God calls her. She is being blessed by the God who has cared for women of faith before her: Rahab, Ruth, Tamar and Bathsheba. She has everything to fear and she has nothing to fear. All generations will call her blessed.
When you and I are called to a task by God, whether it be simple or extraordinary, what will our answer be? Will we hesitate at that moment, fearing what is to come, or will be answer ‘ May it be’ trusting in God as Mary did so many years ago?