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  • Writer's pictureFr. Jordi Rivero

Trust inspired by the Annunciation

The Annunciation teaches us how God relates with us and what trusting Him really means. God, who is almighty and all-knowing, asks Mary to participate in His most important plan: the salvation of the world. Then He waits for her permission!

We see God asking and waiting throughout the history of salvation. With the few who respond, He does great things. This is God’s way with us. He asks permission to come to us and to work through us.

Trust depends on our faith that God loves us and is asking permission to work in and through us. Then we are attentive to give Him that permission even when it goes against what we expected and desired.

It is not enough to want God as a benefactor, to do our bidding, to give us all the good things we want. Naturally, if a loved one is sick, we pray for healing. But God's ways are not our ways. We need to pray for the grace to embrace His will with confidence, trusting that it is best for us in the long run. That is what Jesus did at Gethsemane.

It is not enough to obey the Commandments, that is, to live by the law. Christ has given us His Holy Spirit so that we see, desire, and act as one with His heart. God wants a personal relationship with us and wants to direct all our decisions, including those of our daily lives. The Lord wants to give us His plans, His desires, His love.

We are tempted with acedia (spiritual laziness) I may think that if God wants something from me, He can just tell me, and I will do it. But we cannot listen to God unless with are attentive. Trusting in God requires the hard work of discerning God’s will for us. We cannot presume we know it. The Lord could come to us in a striking way, as the angel came to Mary, but even Mary had to struggle. Lc 1, 26 “she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.” The angel had to tell her, “do not be afraid.” Mary did not understand and asked questions: Lc 1, 34 "How shall this be, since I have no husband?”

Then Luke tells us that “the angel departed from her.” In order to trust, Mary needed to continue to listen to God, now speaking in the silent movements of the Spirit in her heart. She heard from the angel that Elizabeth was with child, but no further instructions were given to her in that regard. In her heart, she heard the Spirit moving her to do the most difficult, the most dangerous, to go serve. She trusted and was attentive to the Lord; no attachments or distractions could interfere. The disciples trusted Jesus; they left everything to follow Him. But their trust had to grow. Jesus lamented that they were slow to understand the signs because they were closed in their own way of thinking. What Jesus taught them was contrary to their natural hopes. Only later they realized the power of the cross and that they had not yet abandoned everything as they thought. We, too, need to have our minds opened to know the will of God.

If our priority is not to listen to God, if we do not expect Him to actually speak, if we do not keep at it in prayer, seeking and waiting upon the Lord, then we will be distracted and guided by other voices. At the Last Judgement, the damned will ask, “When did we see you hungry…” They did not respond to God because they did not see Him in the way they expected. When we die, I think we will be dismayed to see how much God wanted to entrust us and how much He wanted to draw us to His heart, but we just did not see it. We thought we were trusting, but we failed to seek His will with all our hearts. The result is that our understanding of God's will was distorted, and we justified our way of thinking and our lifestyle. If our understanding of God's will is distorted, then our trust is distorted. The rich man in the gospel story goes to hell, not for doing something bad to Lazarus, but simply for not doing the good he should have done. He ignored Lazarus in his great need. We, too, can interpret the gospel blinded by our own mindset. One sign that we are off track is when we justify our actions, saying, “There is nothing wrong with this.” I may say there is nothing wrong with how I spend my money and my time. But, did I ask the Lord, “What do YOU want? Is this the BEST way to spend it?” This will move us to die to self and grow in love.

Responding to God in trust requires a decision to fight against our tendencies, which are still driven by our flesh and our wounds. This often means doing what is most difficult for the sake of God's love. We need to allow God to plow and pierce our hearts to make them new. The Lord wants to give us a transformed mind that has authority over our flesh. Rom 12:1-2:  I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

At times, we are tempted to run from God’s will and fool ourselves by covering up our escape with pious excuses. We need the Word of God and the teaching of the Church, but also someone who can help us see the truth. This accompaniment and constant seeking of self-knowledge will help us see our true motivation.

Saint Ignatius so desired to respond to God that God gave Him a process of discernment called the Spiritual Exercises. To grow in clarity about God's will requires time, attention, and perseverance as we engage in intense spiritual warfare against Satan and the flesh. This calls for a disciplined way of life.

Another temptation is to overlook the power of our ordinary lives in the will of God. We may be negligent in our attention to God by thinking that our vocation is not as important as Mary’s. The truth is that Jesus is asking us to respond like Mary, to partake of His love as co-redeemers, and to save many through the power of our hidden lives united as ONE with His! That is why Jesus pleads, “Give me victim souls.” The creator of the universe begs each of us for help to bring His love and salvation to many!

This is the work of the Path God has given us in the Love Crucified Community.


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