In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
My cell phone just vibrated. The news app on my computer has two new notifications. I haven’t checked my work email in awhile. Or my personal email. Or Facebook. Or Instagram. Or…
There’s so much noise. I want to hear God’s voice. I want a chance to respond like Mary. But, with all these distractions, how can I? How can can I make enough space to discover the life of my Savior that pulses within me?
Experiencing Emmanuel, finding God is with us, takes turning off long enough to listen. You’re doing it right now, but take it a step further. Put down your device, peel your eyes from the screen, and listen. Jesus is always there, when we stop long enough to pay attention, incarnating himself again and again in us.
—Mark Bartholet is a John Carroll University alumnus who coordinates the Contemplative Leaders in Action program and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at St. Peter Catholic Church, the Jesuit parish in Charlotte, NC.
Loving God, help us to put aside the noise and distractions and all things that keep us from hearing your voice. As we approach the celebration of the birth of your Son, may we listen to the ways that you are present in our world and in our lives. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer team