Monday, October 03, 2005

The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

I'm hoping I can keep this up, but in honor of October, the month of the Rosary, I intend to present meditations on all the standard mysteries through this month.

Today's is from In Pursuit of Peace: Praying the Rosary through the Psalms, which is Pax Christi USA's Rosary meditation book.

"Happy are those who find their pleasure in the Law of God and meditate on it day and night," Psalm 1 teaches us. It is such an innocent statement, such a seemingly benign idea: Keep the law of God within your heart; hold the will of God always before your eyes; don't substitute your will for the will of God. The ideas trip so lightly off the tongue, until the moment of annunciation comes, until the law of God invites us to do things that we don't want to do, until we come to realize that what God is asking of our powerless, unimpressive selves is important to the whole human race. Then comes the moment of truth.

God's annunciation to us is, "Sell what you have and give to the poor" ---here in our own cities where we keep the poor carefully hidden behind the welfare agencies. God announces, "Love one another" ---even the people our country is teaching us to hate. God announces, "Do unto others what you would have others do unto you" ---and we hear the word in a culture that puts more money into the military than it does into the millions who need food, education, medical insurance, day care and housing. Oh, yes, God announces and announces and announces and all of the announcements are contrary to what we are being taught to value or enticed to do. Where do we turn for strength when we meditate on all of that? To whom can we look then for a model of dissent? What will we do then when we are faced with two goods ---personal security and the good of others ---and one of the goods is higher than the other?

There is a model for us so unlikely that whatever our own insignificance, whatever our social fragility, we can take heart. We can turn to Mary in the first mystery of the rosary. Turn to the young woman who knew that if she listened to the unconventional call of God to expect an unexpected, unexplainable child, she stood to lose it all ---her honor in the community, her future security, her marriage. The neighbors would talk about her. No man would marry her. She would be a barnacle on the human community, ostracized, unwanted, unkept, a woman without an honorable future.

But because, brought up on the Psalms, she had meditated on the law of God all her life, Mary took the step for us that can give us the courage to take the step for others. She trusted that God's will was more to be followed than her own. Whatever the cost. Mary of the Annunciation is a model of the kind of courage it takes to follow the call of God in life.

"Happy are those who find their pleasure in the law of God and meditate on it day and night."


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