“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)
These are the words of Elizabeth to Mary upon her arrival at Elizabeth’s house. We might wonder how Elizabeth would know to commend Mary for her decision to accept Gabriel’s message that she would give birth to the Son of God before Mary told her about it.
The Gospel of Luke says that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit at Mary’s greeting. By the knowledge of the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth commended Mary for believing what she was told.
Elizabeth was also aware that her husband, in contrast to Mary, was rendered mute when he questioned the angel’s message to him that Elizabeth would give birth to a son in her old age.
So, here we have the Holy Spirit in Mary giving rise to the Holy Spirit in Elizabeth, and the Holy Spirit in Elizabeth commending Mary for her faithful acceptance of God’s will and offering praise for God’s physical entry into human history.
Surely, Mary’s statement to the angel Gabriel, “May it be done to me according to your word,” has provided the example of true and humble faith in accepting God’s will for every generation since Jesus’ birth.
Seeking and fulfilling God’s will should be a primary objective for all of us in our walk of faith. This can involve significant life decisions such as our vocation, where we go to school, what our occupation will be, who we will marry, how will we raise our children, where will we live, to daily choices such as how we will relate to others, how we share our faith, how much will we pray, and how generous we will be.
Let me share an example that falls into the daily choice category. Once or twice a month I take communion to Catholic residents of a local senior living and care center. One of the residents, who I will call Patricia for the sake of anonymity, suffered a stroke and is totally paralyzed on her left side. As a result she is bed ridden and suffers a great deal. She is such a sweet lady and is always so gracious in expressing her thanks for bringing her communion.
Recently, I was prompted to pray with her for healing of the effects of the stroke. While I was cautious in not wanting to be presumptuous, at the same time I kept getting the idea that I should make the offer. So, after saying the Lord’s Prayer together and giving her communion I asked, “Patricia, would you like me to pray with you for the healing of your stroke?” It was something I thought God wanted me to do and she said yes. So we prayed, acknowledging God’s love for her, asking for healing and for her to be able to experience movement on her left side.
While I of course do not know what the outcome will be, I nevertheless felt like it was God’s will for me to offer to pray with Patricia.
Are you facing a significant decision in your life or perhaps a daily choice? Are you asking God what he wants you to do?
“Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2)
Thanks Bill for your words of encouragement.