The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
Luke 1:28-29 (NIV)
That’s what young Mary must have thought, there in her bedroom, her floor covered in dirty clothes and crumpled, half-written poems.
She was an ordinary teen in an extraordinarily small town, and now this angel appeared in a burst of light and called her God’s Favorite.
“Hail Mary, full of grace,” as the phrase is translated elsewhere.
Mary was “greatly troubled” by this. She knew how ordinary she was, how prone to snap at her parents and forget to do the dishes and to fall asleep without her evening prayers.
We are ordinary, too, troubled when God appears and shares his plans to bless us, tells us that he loves us, that we are favored by him.
Who us? We’re regular people, broken and somehow loved and part of God’s plan to save our neighbors and the world.
In these moments, to “do what God wants us to do” is simple… we merely agree to receive the gifts and grace he has offered us.
“May your word to me be fulfilled.” Do what you said you would do.
I will receive the gifts God has in store.
Check out the painting below of the angel visiting Mary...
Do you feel “worthy” of God’s love? Or does it trouble you to hear that you are favored, that he loves you, and that he wants you involved in his plans? Ask God to help you see yourself as he sees you – a beloved son/daughter, full of worth and value.
Here’s a short list of paintings made about this moment, along with some commentary about the symbolism in the paintings.
Ave Maria, a popular Christmas song, is also a major prayer of the Catholic church. It’s a prayer asking Mary to intercede for the rest of us, so that we, like her, can be “full of grace” and willing to do what God asks of us.
Check out Matt sharing more of his thoughts about Mary at a Cru Winter Conference (starts at 17 min).
Matt Mikalatos | Portland, OR
Matt is on staff with Cru. He is also the author of several books including Into the Fray and My Imaginary Jesus.
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