In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a young virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 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. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “Be it done unto me according to Thy word.”
Then the angel left her.
Throughout Scripture, the virtue of humility is lauded as one of the most fundamentally important Christian virtues. When we consider the stories of salvation history, we are struck by the presence of the vice of pride, especially in the book of Genesis. Pride is what compelled Adam and Eve to disobey God’s commandment not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Even more primarily, pride is what compelled Lucifer to challenge God and thus fall from heaven. And throughout the rest of Scripture, pride rears its head time and again and convinces men to separate themselves from God at the cost of eternal life.
Mary’s life stands in stark contrast to these stories of pride and disobedience. Her life was lived in utter humility and trust in the will of God. Although the Gospels do not go into great detail about her life, every time she speaks, her words convey a sense of great humility and absolute surrender to God.
Mary’s complete surrender of her life to God shows us that we, even in the smallest respects, should always work to conform ourselves to the will of God. Even as we encounter situations that may present us with great difficulties, challenges, or persecutions, we should always work to emulate the words she spoke: “Be it done unto me according to Thy word.”
And with those words, she fulfilled God’s will to bring His beloved Son into the world—the world that He so loved and loves forever.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.