WHAT IF MARY SAID NO? | Feast of Annunciation

Fiat mihi secundum Verbum tuum

The story of the annunciation to Mary by the angel Gabriel is so popular and simple that we often take it for granted to consider what would have happened if Mary had said 'No'? Have you ever thought of this? Will she be the first to reject God's offer to play a special role in the history of salvation? Did God programme Mary to accept promptly what some prophets reluctantly accepted? These and many other questions fill our minds as we celebrate the annunciation.

If you wish to know continue reading slowly...

Luke 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High...Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God...for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

POINTS FOR REFLECTION 
1. The Angel's closing words "nothing is impossible to God", gives us a clue to the conclusions of the church fathers on this question when in the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church Lumen Gentium, they state:  "The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life." (LG 56). 

2. From that statement the Fathers of the church declares that the incarnation was in the mind of God, and God willed and predestined Mary to be responsive. That Mary was prepared from 'the foundations of the world; 'from the womb of her own mother, saving and preserving her for the purpose of the Incarnation just as God predestined each of us before birth to be Holy (Eph 1, 3-6). We hear this almost clearly (only with the name Mary missing) when in Genesis 3,15 God said 'I will put enmity between you (the Serpent) and the WOMAN; between your offspring and hers.' We come to know this WOMAN referred to by God is Mary when God's own Son throughout his life calls her severally by that title; thereby decoding to us this divine appellation.
3. God still did not withhold her freewill to respond 'Yes' or 'No' as He would never do to any human being; for he created us in freedom. Hence Mary's positive response is attained by the very fact that she lived her life in conformation to the will of God. She is a spiritual woman who is eager to please God, and for this, we understand her question and deep wonder on the greeting and message of the angel not as doubt but as a question of 'faith seeking understanding'. When she was clarified, she understood the spiritual language (1Cor 2, 11-16) and consented.

4. Mary asked a question in her confusion and was clarified with a miraculous sign and she gave her consent. Many other biblical personages were somehow in her shoes but still said No. Ahaz for example rejected God's offer even with a miraculous sign given (Isa 7:10-8:10). Prophet Jonah sent to the Ninevites is another we know for his reluctance. And so Mary's consent is one that teaches us openness to the will of God who cannot not mislead us.
TASK: Since Mary didn't say No, we can only speculate what would have happened if she did. What we know is her 'Yes' resounding with the words: let it happen to me according to your Word- a response of openness and acceptance reminding us of Hannah's response to Eli's prayer (1 Sam 1:17-18). This response have changed the lives of many today to prayers and declarations taken from the Word of God, leaving us with the evidence that YES to God daily is the best decision anyone can take.
Therefore as your priest I pray and declare over you now: Let the power of the Holy Spirit that transformed the Virgin Mary into a Virgin Mother cause miraculous things to spring up in your life now; break open your favour and activate your purpose as you believe, in Jesus name. From the depths of your heart repeat the words of Mary seven times: "Let it happen to me according to your Word" and experience God's rhema all over you. Amen.


This giveaway is sponsored by COME LET'S PRAY CATHOLIC DEVOTION group on facebook to support the indefatigable fans and supporters of  Rev. Fr. Simon Onyekachi Madu, OSJ as he celebrates his Priestly Ordination Anniversary (17th March) and Birthday (1st April). So this giveaway is geared to support those who wish to make their online experience profitable, and encourage young people to use the social media for something profitable and edifying.

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