Dec. 8: First Friday of Advent and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
The Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid” (Gen 3:9-10).
Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord;
let it be with me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
The typical human response to a threat or a stressful situation is binary: fight or flight. Today’s reading from Genesis amply attests to this: sought out in their guilt by an inquiring God who seeks to have a chat in the garden, Adam and Eve opt for flight. We can imagine the craven pair crouching behind a bush, their whereabouts clear as day to their all-knowing Creator, resembling nothing so much as two small children caught in an act of transgression and hoping to avoid owning up to it.
Adam and Eve take flight into the thickets of their shame and unworthiness. Luke’s Mary, on the other hand, startled and presumably not a little threatened by the dramatic arrival of an angel, transcends the binary and offers us another way. She neither flees nor fights, but retains a radical openness to the call of God. Modern life offers us plenty of ways to avoid encountering our Lord. We can take refuge in the forest of obligations, errands or responsibilities, or in the groves of the Internet and social media, as we strive to avoid that “moment of truth” in which our selfishness, pettiness, unkindness, self-absorption or other personal failing will be laid bare.
Or we can take Mary’s path and make ourselves available when we hear God rustling around in our lives. We can stand before him in all imperfection, seek his forgiving love and surrender to his transforming will for our lives. And we may do so trusting that with God nothing will truly be impossible.
Lord of all creation, grant me the courage to place myself, soul and body, into the light of your presence. Amen.
For today’s readings, click here.