And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word. (Luke 1:38 KJV).
These words of Mary in response the news brought to her by the Angel Gabriel, suggest a total surrender to God’s will. Mary accepts what news she has received and lets go of everything to be God’s instrument of new and wonderful things about to happen for her and the world.
Centering prayer and contemplative prayer are about accepting and letting go. These are two of the most difficult things for most of us to do. The world around us is so full of violence and turmoil. Our minds are overwhelmed with twenty-four relentless hours of news, media and information. We all have our personal obligations of family, work, and relationships. We all have so many questions and fears about what is coming next.
The news that Mary hears on this Holy Day of the Annunciation is that God is going to do something new and wonderful through her. Mary is no fool. She knows how much this news will change many things in her life. Yet, no one is more unsure of what comes next than she is. In her amazing faith, she recognizes God at work in her life at this moment. She gives her total self and attention to the work God is doing in her life. She trusts her entire self in the word of the Lord. Mary lets go.
As we prepare for Holy Week during which time we will hear Jesus say similar words in the Garden of Gethsemane, let us take time to center ourselves on God. May we contemplate the great mystery of God coming to us as one like us, who shows us how to accept and let go. The mystical vision of God in contemplative prayer begins and ends with letting go of ourselves and trusting in God’s perspective. May we have the faith and courage of Mary to trust God with everything we are and have; believing that only best is yet to come.
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB