Luke 1:26-38 How Can This Be?
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
Humility opens the door to shock and wonder. Shock and wonder opens the door to trust and obedience. Trust and obedience opens the door to love. Love opens the door that brings us into Christ's presence. And this scene is all at once humbling, shocking, wonderful, trustful and loving.
Humility. Shock. Obedience. Love. As their nine-year-old daughter was watching the news this morning about last night’s beauty pageant, she asked her mom why Miss USA was crying. The child’s mother said, “Because she just won!” Which surprised the little girl even more: “So why is she crying??”
I am sure that “Miss USA” worked very hard for the “Miss Universe” title, but I am convinced that she was more surprised at winning than she would have been at losing. That’s what makes the crowd begin to cry.
When the homely Susan Boyle shocked the world with her beautiful voice, she brought the crowd (and some of the judges) to tears. But if we were to say it was just her talent, then we would all be fibbing. If we were to say that it was just her voice, then we would be blind! It wasn’t just her talent and voice; it was the fact that no one (including Miss Susan Boyle) ever expected her to win. Her humility, her simplicity, had shocked the world. And when we went deeper into her life, we began to discover the source of her humility and simplicity: her holiness. She is a devote Roman Catholic and devoted to her mother and to Our Lady.
Do we find people like that all the time? No. And when we don’t, we settle for sensation, scandal, hype and glitter. We settle for much, much less.
Mary was a special woman, just like all special women are. She was hardworking, dedicated to her family, dedicated to God, loving, forgiving and generous towards family and friends. But did she consider herself above the others? No. Did she consider herself more worthy than others? No. What is clear from all the testimonies, and what continues to distinguishes her from all the other special women, is that Mary was an extremely humble woman.
If sin promotes decay, then “sinlessness” promotes holiness. And we all know that holy people are humble people. This has been my experience after going to confession. As soon as I walk out of the confessional, I don’t hear a voice inside me say: “You got what you deserved!” (forgiveness). Instead, I hear a voice that says: “I love you more than you could ever love me!”
As beautiful and as remarkable as “Miss Universe” is, she still received a title she could never truly deserve (at least without the full knowledge and participation of all our friendly aliens!).
As beautiful and as humble as Mary is, she still received more graces and titles than she could ever deserved. And what makes Mary the most beautiful woman in the Universe is the fact that she never knew it, she never expected it!
“How can this be?” "How can I be?" "How can all of this be?"