As Mary went about her day, one of the last things she probably expected was to be
visited by an angel of almighty God and to receive news that she would be the mother
of the Messiah. One imagines that, being born without original sin, she would have
realized at some point that she was different than the others in Nazareth. Yet both her
humility and the sheer magnitude of God’s generous plan would have prevented her
from understanding why she had been so marvelously gifted. Who could predict
becoming the mother of God?!
Then came Gabriel and his tremendous announcement in our Gospel this week.
Surprise! Mary’s response of faith and acceptance is equally legendary. The “yes” of
one young woman brings about the salvation of the world.
God’s saving work in our lives almost always happens in a way that’s unexpected.
Sometimes, it sneaks up on us. Often, it is also downright inconvenience and runs
contrary to our plans. Yet always, it’s better than anything that we’ve planned and
stretches us to grow in grace. G.K. Chesterton had it right: “An adventure is only an
inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly
As we prepare the way of the Lord this Advent, we ought to ask God for a heart and a
mind like Mary’s: One that is generous, open, and willing to accept the invitation to
adventures and surprises which will make us Saints. It could be a surprise visit during
the holidays, or an encounter with a stranger on the Metro, an honest conversation with
a co-worker or family member, or a thousand other things. It could even be that
Christmas itself snuck up on us this year and is actually tomorrow! God can and will
use it all to make us holy, if only we have Mary’s disposition and willingness to say yes.
Porto Charities knows well that God works through surprises, challenges, and
unexpected adventures to prepare a place of Christ in our hearts. Every family we
support knows that reality, but they also know the same truth that Mary knew: God is at
work in it all.
As we conclude this season of Advent and enter into Christmas, invite the Holy Spirit to
enlarge your hearts and minds to make them like Mary’s: Open to receiving Christ
wherever and however he comes and whenever he invites us to the adventure of a
deeper faith and fuller love.