“I will fix a place for my people Israel …” – 2 Sam 7:10
“May it be done to me ...” – Lk 1:38

I believe God calls me to help build a home for everyone in the Church, especially for young adults and young families. I had some good ideas, or so I thought.

Today’s first reading depicts King David who plans to build a lasting temple for God to dwell, better than the traveling tent that wanders with the Israelites. He had a good idea. Instead, God turns David’s plans upside down, making an incredible promise: I will build a house for you and your people. Forever!

Centuries later, God fulfills the promise in an unimaginable way by choosing to impregnate a 15-year-old peasant girl while bypassing normal biology. Mary becomes greatly troubled and asked, “How can this be? Henry Tanner’s painting of the Annunciation portrays her struggle to receive this incomprehensible plan. Mary is sitting on her unmade bed, hair disheveled, mouth opened, and eyes incredulous, trying not to be blinded by the light. Her face betrays the question, “What? Are you kidding?”

Strangely enough, the slow, topsy-turvy way God’s promise to David is fulfilled through Mary consoles me. I don’t understand, but something in me persists. It is incredibly hard to bridge the incongruent cultures in which young people and the Church inhabit and espouse. It is often frustrating to discern the slow work of God together, even when there are only a few of us in Christus Ministries. It is elusively sobering to pray when all I know of prayer changes, often through disconcerting rhythms. It is painfully humbling to revisit my poor self-esteem, perfectionism, impatience, and flaring self-reliance.

The trusting smile of Jesus has been absent in my prayer for months; yet the gentle, encouraging, and understanding gaze of Mary steadies me. She invites me to trust in God’s promise, that God will fulfill an elusive dream planted in my heart for the younger generation with the older Church.

Advent is ending. Christmas is here. What we have is a promise, and an invitation to “let it be done …”

Mary, you gave birth to God’s fulfilled promise for all of us. Help me echo your “yes” as I struggle to embrace the fragility of trust.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons