Day 2: Pondering the Hail Mary and the Mystery of the Incarnation
Action: Today devoutly pray one decade of the Rosary: the 1st Joyful Mystery - the Annunciation
Continued Reflections on the Hail Mary and Mary’s Response to God:
In the first week’s class I asked us to ponder the Hail Mary, which, when prayed with devotion reminds us of the most incredible event in of all the world’s history – when God became man!
I gave those present the Scriptures Luke 1: 26- 38 and Philippians 2: 5- 11 (they can be found below) and asked them to pray with and ponder these readings.
I ask us to continue to do ponder these, because I believe that they, perhaps as no other Scriptures, will help us to grow in the knowledge of God, Mary and ourselves - and will help us to renounce whatever is keeping us from uniting ourselves to God in this time when we are asked to do just these things as part of our preparation.
This is why I choose to continue to reflect further on those Scriptures – while paying particular attention to how Mary responded to God’s call.
My hope is this provides an example of pondering and reflecting on Scripture that will guide us through these days of preparation and beyond.
Meditation on Mary’s Response to God:
When pondering the Hail Mary, the words of the Annunciation are its backdrop, for the very words “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you" were spoken to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel.
As we ponder further the Annunciation, I am drawn to Mary’s response to God.
Mary listened and paid attention to the Archangel Gabriel’s words… she pondered them… and wondered what they might mean…they caused her fear and they led her to pose the question: “How can this be?”
Wondering, “What do you want of me? Do you want something different for me than the vow I had felt called to make with Joseph?”
When assured that God wasn’t rejecting her (and St. Joseph’s) vow of virginity…
She reflected on this great and awesome Child, this Son of the Most High, Who was the One Who fulfilled God’s promise to King David, Who would be the everlasting King of Kings, the Messiah for Whom she and all of God’s people had been waiting for for centuries would be conceived in her womb through the overshadowing and the Power of the Most High… that God Who would come upon her through His Holy Spirit…
The Son of God would be born in her!
She heard then, also, the further words of the Archangel Gabriel, giving her news that provided Mary’s humanity with a tangible, physical sign that could be verified…
In the realm of the mystery of God, where so much is unseen, this would be something Mary could see and touch: her relative, Elizabeth, who was barren and of old age, would also bear a son and was already six months pregnant
“for nothing is impossible for God!”
Mary took all this in – the greatest news in the history of the world – the event that would change the world forever - but only with, and in, and through her - and she responded:
“I am your handmaid, O Lord. Let it be done unto me according to Your Word.”
How wondrous is His plan to become one with us!
And how amazing is Mary’s yes!
What wonders God has in store for us also, for
“He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, freely give us everything else besides?” Romans 8: 32
How greatly does He want to become enfleshed in us as well!
But, do we believe this?
Do we believe that He became man because He truly wants to be with us?
Do we believe He longs to use us to bring birth to him in this world that is so far from him?
Do we believe that nothing is impossible for Him?
Do we respond like Mary?
Do we listen and ponder God's voice?
Do we even hear Him amid our daily lives?
One way to hear him is to take time to pray and ponder His Word in Scripture.
We can be assured of hearing His Voice speaking to us in the Scriptures – for it is God’s living Word.
It is unlike any other book because God breathes His life into it!
His Spirit is speaking to us NOW!
Yet, as I mentioned in the first video teaching, so often we gloss over Scripture. Perhaps it’s because we have heard it (so often) before… Our brain shuts down and we say to ourselves… “heard this, been there, done that”… and we stop listening… we stop pondering… we essentially shut God down. We fail to listen…
If we believe in the Truth of Scripture and that it is His Voice, we will begin to hear His Voice more clearly, which helps us to discern His Voice over all the other voices that come into my head.
[Satan is an expert at filling the world with his lies – and they consume our thoughts and emotions when we hear and listen to them often enough. That’s why Scripture tells us to guard ourselves against them, saying to us:
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
If we keep seeking His Truth, the lies will quiet down before us…
We will be able to hear Him speaking of His Love for us.
We will be begin to experience more and more of this Divine Love that far surpasses any other created thing….
It is this LOVE Who transforms us, and Who asks us to respond, so we can be more fully united with us:
Will you surrender yourself to me so I can love you more and use you to bring forth my glory?
To Jesus' question:
Will I say yes?
Even to what seems impossible?
Do I place myself in God’s hands and say?
“I am your servant.
I will do whatever you ask, I will go wherever you lead me.
I trust You.
I trust Your Word. I trust that You can do all things and that nothing is impossible for You."
None of us can say we respond perfectly to God as Mary did…
none of us pay attention and listen to His voice as Mary did…
and that’s why its so important for us to go to her and allow her to share her faith with us,
to be open to her pouring forth her own willingness to do all God asks within us…
to be open to her love and humility…
to be open to her Motherhood forming and leading us into responding yes to God.
Into saying “Yes, let it be done unto me according to Your Will.”
When researching the history of Consecration I read that St. Louis de Montfort learned much from Father Henri Boudon, and his book, entitled: Only God, the Holy Slavery of the admirable Mother of God. The title struck me, so much so, that "God Alone" became, in part, the title of this consecration, (as well as the personal motto of St. Louis de Montfort).
If you are here – reading these words -you are being asked by God, like Mary was before us:
Will you enter into this consecration being offered? – Will you set yourself apart for Me alone? Will you be open to My Will? Will you be obedient servants to My promptings?
Will you surrender yourselves as slaves to Me alone, through Mary?
Although the concept of slavery is hard for us to consider or want to embrace, it is a slavery that even Jesus, Himself, submitted to - this is why we are to ponder Philippians 2: 5-11 – for it speaks of Jesus emptying Himself and taking the form of a slave, although He was God himself! Although all Creation was and is formed in and through Him, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient, becoming a man – obedient to death – even death on a Cross to save us!
What wondrous love is this?!
What tremendous humility?!
He became a slave to save us from sin and death.
For sin enslaves us: “For the wages of sin is death.”
So often we belittle our sin. We don't see clearly how it effects us or the price Jesus paid to free us from their punishments.
However, if we consider those we know suffering from addictions –for instance, how an alcoholic has become so enslaved by drink that it has stripped away his freedom, his purpose and ultimately his life, if he cannot break free....
We can understand more fully what sin does to us… whether or not the effects are as visible to us externally. Sin destroys us internally and enslaves us.
And this enslavement to sin can even be more tragic than the wasted and ruined life of an alcoholic, for if we continue to choose sin rather than God it will lead us to eternal death.
It is for this reason that God became man. That He became a slave in order to free us from our slavery.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5: 8
In imitation, we submit ourselves likewise to a slavery of love – but to God alone.
And in God’s great order of mercy and salvation – it is only when we submit ourselves in love and obedience (holy slavery) to Him, we are set free from the slavery of sin and death!
“Truly, truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life will lose it, but whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
John 12: 24-25
It takes such humility to do this.
It takes such faith.
It takes love.
And so often, we lack this on our own…
This is why, we, enter into this slavery with, in and through Mary, for she was a creature just like us…
She was tempted and tried just like us…
Yet, she always responded yes.
We are helped by her prayers and her graces… for God chose her to be "Full of Grace" and made her the means for us to both receive and be formed with and by that Grace.
Just as Jesus was formed in Mary, we also are called to submit ourselves to her and be formed in her.
So, let’s take the time to ponder:
What is God asking to me today?
Is he asking me to surrender to Him no matter what He asks?
To have faith in Him even when it seems to us impossible?
To have faith even when my effort seem to come to nothing?
Trusting that His desire is for our holiness and that our holiness often comes only from surrender and humility and seeming failure to the eyes without faith?
What is my response when faced with failure like St. Louis de Montfort and the his people faced? When, after building a magnificent Calvary in honor of Jesus’ passion, it was completely destroyed without it being up for even one day after working on it for 15 months???
Is our response like St. Louis’ when the world seeks to tear us and our efforts down? When what we do isn’t recognized or accepted by others, when our plans fail, do we still trust God? knowing that He allows these circumstances to purify us, to lead us more deeply into Him so that we come to seek and trust in Him alone?
God’s ways are not our ways.
It is easy to trust Him when things go as we plan, but when things do not, still do I trust Him?
Still do I seek Him?
Mary will help us do just that, by helping us to open ourselves to receive more and more of His LOVE.
What is Your Response Today?
Will I say yes to whatever God asks of me, knowing He will not ask us too great for us... for He knows we are frail - that “our spirits are willing but the flesh is weak.”
But, it still He asks us to begin - to make acts of faith, of obedience, of surrender to God’s will – and that when needed to begin again, and again, and again…
Knowing although I can nothing on my own,
“But I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13
1. Read through the accompanying pictures and the extraordinary wisdom of St. Louis below if possible.
2. Continue to choose to enter more deeply into the daily prayer program (below) at least in this way:
Continue to ponder and pray the Hail Mary today and the accompanying Scripture texts as you meditate and
pray one decade of the Rosary - the 1st Joyful Mystery of the Rosary- the Annunciation - while praying for the grace to listen, to hear and respond to God as Mary does.
Praying also for the grace to surrender whatever is keeping me from responding fully - in and through and with Mary’s love and help.
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. (Luke 1:26-38)
Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
PART 2: Readings and Prayers for St. Louis-Marie de Montfort's Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary
PART 2: Readings and Prayers for St. Louis-Marie de Montfort's Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary
12 Days of Preparation renouncing the spirit of the world
- Learn about Mary's place in God's plan (words of St. Louis from True Devotion of Mary)
- Pray over Scripture
- Pray with the Heart
- Examine our conscience