“May It Be Done Unto Me According To Your Word”
The story of the annunciation by the angel of the Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary that the Only Begotten Son of God would be born into the world to save the human race from sin and death brings us the following three blessings: one, the Lord God treats us as human persons made in His own image; two, the Lord God wants us to actively take part in His plan of salvation; and three, the Lord God wills that we are responsible recipients of His saving power.
First, God comes to us, sinners, to save us. He is the hero, the superman, the benefactor to Whom we all owe a great debt of gratitude, yet He is the first to come, to make the first move, to knock at our door, and to ask for our consent. We can see how much respect for our dignity as human persons the Lord God has shown when He treats us, regardless of the fact that we are just criminals, who, for breaking divine law, thus having offended Him seriously, deserve the most severe sentence.
This way of treating us the Lord God has taken to assure us the truth that our dignity as human persons, bearers of Divine Likeness remains intact, though certain parts of God’s Image may have been damaged, disfigured and stained. Therefore, we need to treat one another with high respect for the human dignity which we all, without exception, are granted by the Lord God. God will never tolerate any sin, not even the smallest sin, but He so loved sinners that He gave them His Only Son to suffer and die on the cross for their delivrance from sin and death.
We also need to treat ourselves with full self-respect for our own dignity as human persons never allowing the image of God in each and one of us to be abused, offended and distorted by giving ourselves up to selfish and wicked activities.
Second, God, the all-mighty and powerful Lord of heaven and earth, the Master of the universe, can do all that He wills without any need for human help or support, much less human recognition or permission. Yet God wants us to receive His salvation project with awareness of our sinfulness and unworthiness on the one hand, and on the other of His divine and merciful love because of which He pours countless blessings on us without any condition. God does not allow us to become His well loved and cared for but spoiled children who take salvation for granted. On the contrary, He wants us to highly appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ His Beloved Son Who laid down His own life and shed His own Blood for our freedom from the slavery to the forces of evil.
Third, God wants us, being human persons, endowned with wisdom and free will, to take full responsibility for accepting or refusing His plan of salvation. This is because God’s saving power comes from His love, therefore divine salvation in itself is nothing other than God’s love. As a result, love should be given and received for free, without any form of violence or coercion. Only when people as human persons are aware of their personal responsibility for their own salvation, will they do their best to produce the most abundant harvest of their sincere and persevering commitment to embracing God’s saving power for themselves, for their families and societies, and for the whole world.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary help us to say “Fiat-Yes” to God’s call for our active, responsible, and free collaboration to His salvation plan.
Fr. Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Nhut, O.P.