Perhaps the most challenging thing we will ever do in our lives is to be open and obedient to Divine guidance. When we open ourselves to God’s direction in our lives, we are led to the path of our highest good and the outcome far exceeds anything we could ever have imagined for ourselves. In order to do so, however, we first have to give up our pride – our desire for perceived security and perceived surety, and the need to be in control and in charge. Surrendering our pride and accepting God’s will takes great courage and often requires great risk, but in the end, it is always worth it. Just ask Mother Mary who agreed to birth God’s love into the world through her son Jesus.
Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter
Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service for Sunday, December 21, 2014. Fourth Sunday of Advent.
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The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “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 called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Lk 1: 26-38
2 Sam 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14A, 16
Ps 89: 2-5, 27-29
ROM 16: 25-27
Honoring the Divine Mother
It is appropriate in this Sunday before we commemorate the birth of Jesus, to give honor to Mary, the woman who agreed to birth God’s love into the world through Christ. In honoring Mary, it is important to understand the great risk she took in accepting her call. Scholars surmise that Mary was somewhere between the ages of 13 and 16 when God’s herald, Gabriel appeared to her. In saying yes to God’s call, Mary placed herself in grave danger. Agreeing to become pregnant when she was unwed made her a “sinner” in the eyes of the Hebraic law. Also by law, her betrothed, Joseph, and her father Joachim, had the right to stone her to death for committing adultery. Through God’s intervention, neither her husband nor her father chose this path. Instead, Joseph agreed to take Mary into his home and fulfill their original betrothal contract by making her his wife.
Mary’s journey invites us all to take a look at the way in which we respond to God’s call. God’s call is rarely easy, and often comes with great risk – if nothing else than to risk the change that comes in obeying God’s will. Let Mary’s response be our prayer as we ponder the way in which God is calling us to birth God’s love into the world:
May it be done to me according to your word.
Spiritual Practices – Mantra Meditation
Mantra is a spiritual practice in which we repeat a word or a phrase over and over and over – either silently or aloud. In repeating the phrase and reflecting on its meaning, we are drawn into a deeper state of relaxation. Also in repeating the phrase, we are allowing its meaning to sink deeply into us where it can facilitate great healing and transformation. In the simple repetition and reflection on the phrase, we are transformed.
Set aside 15-30 minutes. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and in that silence, repeat the following phrase over and over in your mind (or say it aloud):
May it be done to me according to your word.
After the meditation period, record your thoughts and feelings in a notebook or journal.
In Authentic Freedom, pride is the compulsion we indulge when we have forgotten our Oneness with God in love. Pride keeps us from being open to God’s guidance and direction in our lives and makes us believe we are alone and that we have to do it on our own. When we set aside our pride and connect with God, we are once again able to receive God’s guidance and direction for our lives, along with the ability to surrender to this call and accept it through spiritual obedience. Humility is the virtue that arises when we are able to set aside our pride, our fears, our need to be in control and in charge. Exercising humility and spiritual obedience we find a place of contentment and ease in our lives as we allow God to lead while we obediently follow, trusting that while God’s ways may not be our own, the outcome is always far greater than what we could ever have imagined for ourselves.
Where are you aware of the compulsion of pride as active in your life – in your need to control, to have the answers, to know the answers, thinking you are alone and have to do it yourself?
How are you being invited to more fully surrender your life to God as Mother Mary so boldly did?