The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “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. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
It’s always awe-inspiring to hear the story that foreshadowed the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception. At maybe 14-years old, St. Mary accepted Gabriel’s message and God’s request. Being a devout Jew, she would have had an idea of what would be in store for the coming Messiah. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 The ancient Hebrew Scriptures told of the various Messianic Prophesies – many of which would be gut-wrenching for any woman to hear, accept, and obey. And, Mary was just a child – an adolescent at best. She had a choice and she chose Christ. In one single “Yes”, Mary turned-around the curse of original sin that Eve had chosen. Mary became the New Eve; much like Jesus Christ would become the New Adam. Many people talk about how people are doomed to live-out their Family’s failed legacy. Perhaps it’s as a red-neck, an alcoholic, a drug addict, a pedophile, a wife/child-beater, etc. That’s simply not true. God doesn’t make anything “bad”. We all have the free choice to become something better and more honorable to God. While Mary couldn’t choose her parents or where she lived as a pregnant young, Jewish woman, she could choose to be the Mother of Christ and endure her outcast from her former-life and persevere through the beating and murder of her Son. We are encouraged to follow Christ regardless of the Earthly consequences. God doesn’t promise that it will be easy, but He does promise to have you covered. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 Seek Him in all things…and choose life everlasting!