Today we celebrate the Annunciation of the Lord, a day which changed the course of human history, and a day that’s very special in my life. Human history was altered because Mary’s YES to God’s plan enabled our God to come and live among us; certainly that makes it special. But it’s extra special to me as 33 years ago today my youngest daughter Lauren was born.
When the angel Gabriel came to Mary with God’s plan, she had every right to be overwhelmed. Certainly, it wasn’t what she was expecting. She was troubled and didn’t quite understand how things were going to work. It’s not that different from responding to flash floods or hurricanes, preparing for an onslaught of Afghani refugees on top of our regular work, or dealing with a spike in homelessness when affordable housing is virtually non-existent. She asked questions, she pondered the possibilities, and then she made a decision to trust God and his plan, memorialized by her fiat — “I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.” Mary’s trust enabled her to go “all in.”
My birthday girl Lauren went to the University of Dayton, founded by the Marianist Brothers. She told me once, “Dad, just like Mary, we’re all called to be Christ-bearers to the world.” I had never thought of it in those terms. Each of us is called to use our unique gifts to bring God’s love to the streets. The many ministries of Catholic Charities give us the opportunity to embrace that challenge. They put us on the front lines, in the “field hospital,” face-to-face with the vulnerable and voiceless. Our work allows us to witness to the dignity and worth of those we serve and to change the course of many lives, one relationship at a time.
Let’s strive to see with God’s eyes as we look at what’s in front of us. Let’s ask questions — let’s ponder the possibilities — but then let’s ask what he’s calling us to do to bring his love into the world. And then, like Mary, let’s trust and say, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.”
Deacon Scott Haner is a permanent Deacon for St. Patrick parish in Louisville, KY. He has served on the Boards of Catholic Charities of Louisville, the Society of St. Vincent DePaul, Louisville Council, and is active in several mission projects.