"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” - Luke 1:30
A great way to pray with Scripture is to imagine yourself in the story. Have you ever imagined yourself as Mary, hearing these same words from the angel, Gabriel?
“Do not be afraid, John Paul, for you have found favor with God.”
It might seem odd or a little weird at first, but imagining ourselves as Mary helps us to understand that we are chosen by God, just as Mary was. God has found favor with each of us, and each and every day, God is extending his invitation to us saying, “Come, follow me. Do not be afraid.”
Last year I faced a difficult decision in my own life. On the one hand, I had the “easy” route – safe, comfortable, stable. The other path – unknown, risky, scary. After weeks of discernment, lots of conversations and prayer, I realized that I was discerning out of fear and not out of trust. For all of life’s decisions, especially the most important ones, we should discern out of trust in the Lord, not fear of the unknown. After I made that realization, the choice was easy. Trust in God’s providence.
Sometimes following Jesus can seem like a daunting task. Sometimes the right choice is the hard choice. Sometimes God will invite us to follow challenging paths in life. But through it all we must remember to “Do not be afraid.”
As the final day of Advent is upon us, let us also pray with these words from the angel, Gabriel. “Do not be afraid, ________, for you have found favor with God.” How will you respond?
Let us pray,
Good and gracious God, help us to trust in your divine providence. Help us let go of any fear or doubts that we have in You. Let us respond to Your invitation with the same grace and humility of our Blessed Virgin Mary. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Each Sunday during Advent we’ll also take a moment to highlight the actual Scriptural sites where these passages during Advent take place.
This Scripture story takes place in Galilee at a small town called Nazareth. Galilee refers to the northern region of the Holy Land which surrounds the Sea of Galilee. Places like Capernaum (the town of Jesus), the Mount of Beatitudes, and Nazareth all are found in Galilee.
Today, you can visit the beautiful Basilica of the Annunciation which commemorates the story of Mary’s “yes.” There is a modern church which has been built upon previous churches. The upper level and courtyard areas feature various cultural depictions of Mary from all over the world. The lower basilica surrounds a cave where tradition believes the Annunciation might have taken place. The floor between the upper and lower levels has a large opening which allows a stream of light to penetrate the lower level, again reminding pilgrims of Gabriel’s visit to Mary.
This reflection was written by John Paul Lichon.
John Paul is the Founder of Verso Ministries. He lives in South Bend, Indiana, with his wife, daughter, and the newest member of the family due in March.