December 20, 2020
Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year B)
Readings for Today
O Antiphons of Advent
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38a (Year B)
What does it mean to be a “handmaid of the Lord?” The word “handmaid” means “servant.” And Mary identifies herself as a servant. Specifically, a servant of the Lord. Throughout history, some “handmaids” were slaves without any rights whatsoever. They were property of their owners and were required to do what they were told. In other times and cultures, a handmaid was a servant more by choice, enjoying certain rights. However, all handmaids are inferiors serving a superior.
Our Blessed Mother, however, is a brand new type of handmaid. Why? Because the one she was called to serve was the Most Holy Trinity. She was certainly an inferior serving one who is superior. But when the one you perfectly serve has perfect love for you, and directs you in ways that edify you, elevate your dignity, and transform you in holiness, then it is wise beyond description to not only serve this superior but to freely become a slave, lowering yourself as deeply as possible before such a superior. There should be no hesitation in this depth of servitude!
Our Blessed Mother’s servitude, therefore, is new in that it is the most radical form of servitude, but it is also freely chosen. And the reciprocal effect upon her from the Most Holy Trinity was to direct all her thoughts and actions, all her passions and desires and every single part of her life to glory, fulfillment and holiness of life.
We must learn from the wisdom and actions of our Blessed Mother. She submitted her life completely to the Most Holy Trinity, not only for her own good but also to set an example for each one of us. Our deepest and daily prayer must become that of hers: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Following her example will not only deeply unite us with our Triune God, but it will also have a similar effect upon us by making us instruments of the Savior of the World. We will become His “mother” in the sense that we will bring Jesus into our world for others. What a glorious calling we have been given to imitate this most holy Mother of God.
Reflect, today, upon your call to pray this prayer of our Blessed Mother. Reflect upon the words, consider the meaning of this prayer, and strive to make it your own prayer today and every day. Imitate her, and you will begin to more fully share in her glorious life of grace.
Dearest Mother Mary, pray for me that I may imitate your perfect “Yes” to the Most Holy Trinity. May your prayer become my prayer, and may the effects of your surrender as a handmaid of the Lord also affect my life profoundly. Lord, Jesus, may Your perfect will, in union with the will of the Father and the Holy Spirit, be done in my life today and always. Jesus, I trust in You.