Katie Olson ’04, ’13 M.A.
When I think about my relationship with God, I think about some “should haves”: I should be trusting; I should express gratitude; I should present my best self in prayer. If God is calling me, I should immediately trust and answer.
In the Gospel reading today, what most strikes me is that Mary does not immediately embrace any of these “should haves.” When God sends an angel to Mary, she is afraid. When the angel Gabriel speaks to her of her grace, she is perplexed. When the angel tells her of God’s plan, she questions, “How can this be?”
The honesty of Mary’s reactions is comforting to me. Her conversation is real, full of confusion and doubt. If I’m being honest, these are feelings I can have toward God as well.
In these moments, Mary’s example teaches us to bring all of our thoughts to God. Presenting my best self in prayer means presenting my real self. Only after expressing her emotions and asking her questions did Mary come to a place of total trust and peace. This process is what ultimately leads her to a deeper level of clarity of God’s love for her.
My prayer this Advent is to recognize that although there are many graces that come with trust, there are also many graces that come with uncertainty. My prayer is to be honest in expressing my feelings with God, just as Mary did. God has the power to transform our questioning into trust, and to transform our emotions of uncertainty into confident acceptance of whatever is asked of us. For nothing will be impossible with God.