The WORD in other words (2021) by – Fr. Antonio Pernia, SVD (DWIMS, Tagaytay City)
December 20 / Octave before Christmas
If Mary had refused the invitation of the Angel Gabriel to be the mother of God’s Son, would God have sent the angel to another girl to offer the invitation? Was Mary only the last of several girls who had previously refused God’s invitation.
These questions underline the importance of the annunciation event. On Mary’s response to God’s invitation hung the salvation of the world: a “do-or-die” moment. With Mary’s “yes,” the world would be saved. With her “no,” it would be doomed forever.
The 12th-century saint, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, paints the annunciation scene in a most dramatic way: Mary at the center and all of humanity around her, cheering her on, begging for her positive response:
“Tearful Adam begs this of you … Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you …. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet …. Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel …. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your word, conceive the divine Word …. Why do you delay, why are you afraid?… Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. … O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary …. See, the desired of all the nations is at your door, knocking to enter …. Arise, hasten, open …. Behold the handmaid of the Lord,she says, be it done to me according to your word.”
Thank you, Mother Mary. Because of your “yes,” you have become our mother. Help us to be ready always to say “yes” to God’s word.