The angel Gabriel was not asking Mary for a small favor when he called on her to be the mother of the Messiah. Such a role was going to upend her life. To become pregnant outside of wedlock was, for a Jewish woman at the time, a shame and tragedy. God was calling Mary to put her engagement, reputation, future, and even life, on the line. She was called to sacrifice everything to bring about God’s kingdom with no assurances for her own well-being. Yet with hardly a second thought, she accepts.
Mary’s response to God’s call is a lesson for all of us. Working to bring about God’s plan requires commitment and sacrifice. Jesus himself reminds us of this: “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:24). When Jesus calls us to make radical sacrifices for him, to put ourselves behind others, and to put God before all, our response should be that of Mary: “May it be done to me according to your word.” Mary trusts God, and God provides; Mary is not disgraced, but even more importantly, through Mary, God’s great plan is made manifest.
Mary is one of the first templates for discipleship that we have in the Gospels. What we learn from her is that sacrifice is brave, trust in God is rewarded, and faith is beautiful. In our daily lives, as we are called to make various sacrifices to serve others, let us remember Mary’s bravery, faith, and joy in responding to God’s call.
Emma Marshall, Class of 2018, is a Theology major in the College.
Dear Lord, in this season of light and love, help us remember to be brave and faithful like Mary. Give us the strength to respond daily to your call to serve you and one another through sacrifice and servant love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The Advent Devotional is produced by the Office of Mission and Ministry, in collaboration with the Catholic Chaplaincy, Orthodox Christian Chaplaincy, and Protestant Chaplaincy. It is made possible through the generous support of many friends and the Georgetown Alumni Association.