Pope Benedict's Wednesday Audience was especially profound today, as applied to the challenges of everyday life, but also when tackling the tragedies that spring up in our midst:
As part of our catechesis for this Year of Faith, it is fitting, during these last days of Advent, to consider the faith of Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ. At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel greets Mary with an invitation to rejoice because the Lord is with her. This joy is that of the messianic hope of God’s people, the daughter of Zion, now being fulfilled in her. It is also the fruit of the grace which fills Mary’s heart and shapes her obedience to God’s word. Mary’s faith, like that of Abraham, combines complete trust in the Lord’s promises with a certain “unknowing.” In her life Mary knew, as we do, that God’s will can seem at times obscure and far from our expectations; it involves embracing the mystery of the Cross.
Mary--like Abraham (her father in faith)--was faced with incomprehensible events. They were not only out of the ordinary, but seemed at face value to contradict what each already knew about God. Their daily communion with God through prayer and observance of the law stabilised them amidst the turbulence, and guided them as they placed one foot in front of the other along a perplexing journey.
If the trust hadn't been built previously, they would never have been able to shoulder the burdens of their calling. That said, even those who embrace all the means possible to know God may still find his ways bewildering at times.
It is significant that at the Annunciation Mary ponders in her heart the meaning of the Angel’s message. Her example reminds us that faith, while fully obedient to the Lord’s will, also must seek daily to discern, understand and accept that will. In this holy season, may Our Lady’s prayers help us to grow in a humble, trusting faith which will open the door to God’s grace in our hearts and in our world.