Author: Fr. Conor Sullivan, CSC Priest in Residence
“May it be done unto me according to your word.” Luke 1:37
These last words of the Gospel passage from the readings at Mass today summarize the entirety of the spiritual life. On Christmas Eve, the Church offers us the opportunity to reflect once more on the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to our Blessed Mother. In these last moments of Advent, as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of our Lord, it is important to remember that the Incarnation occurred nine months prior. It is at this moment, the moment of our Blessed Mother’s Fiat (her “yes”), that our Lord became flesh.
Think for a bit, about the silence in which we all come to be. It may take many weeks before a woman even knows that she has conceived. Whether or not she is aware, the child is being “knit together in her womb,” by a still-mysterious, inherent force of life and growth. On the day of the Annunciation, then, the work of the devil is already being undone… in complete and utter silence. His reign of terror is ending. And only a few people are aware: Mary, Joseph, and Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth. For nine months, our Lord grew and matured in the womb of our Blessed Mother. For nine months, the Word had already taken on flesh. The first days of His Incarnation had long passed, and who had taken notice?
This is somewhat comforting, no? Already, our Lord is working beneath the surface. His Holy Spirit is active in the conversion of our hearts. All silent. All invisible. All unknown to us until He wishes to make His Presence known in some sensible, tangible way. Often we are troubled at how slowly God seems to act in our lives. But the message of the Annunciation is that He is already at work. Our salvation was unknown to us until the Epiphany, and even then our Lord would wait 30 years before he began to minister publicly; and even then, it would be three more years until He would manifest His full power and the entirety of His mission when He endured His passion, death, and resurrection. Take heart, then! God is with us! He is coming, and will arrive soon. All that is left for us to do is to echo the words of our Blessed Mother, that our Lord may find His home in our hearts, as He found His home in the womb of His Blessed Mother over 2000 years ago: Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum!