Mary’s Challenge — Finding Hope in Uncertainty Part 2

By Kathy Keary

Part 2 of 3. All the parts are here.

For the Renewal Center’s online Advent meditation, “Finding Hope in Uncertainty,” we draw upon the wisdom of Ignatian spirituality inviting you to use your imagination in a guided meditation as you enter into the mind and heart of Mary and Joseph as they travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. We witness their strength and courage as they navigate through uncertainty gleaning inspiration for our own journey.

Here I present a similar guided mediation for Advent, this one based on the Announcement of the Birth of Jesus. The steps I outline here can be used as you watch the video about Joseph and Mary’s journey.

Step 1:  Find a comfortable spot and enjoy a moment of silence. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer experience.

Step 2:  Slowly read the Annunciation Scripture passage, Luke 1:26-38.

Step 3: Assume the role of Mary as you imagine the scene. Picture the setting in detail to include the landscape, the weather, the time of day, the Angel Gabriel, the conversation, the body language, and the gestures. Be in Mary’s shoes. Feel what she feels. Experience the moment as she did. Remember that she is a young teen.

Step 4: Go beyond the written text and imagine what is transpiring deep within Mary.

  • What is stirring within when the angel Gabriel appears and says to you, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you. ” What are your thoughts? What emotions surface?
  • What thoughts and emotions are evoked when Gabriel continues: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
  • What is your response on an intellectual and emotional level when you hear these words: “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.”
  • What is your reply to Gabriel? What sentiments lie behind this response?
  • What stirs within you when Gabriel explains: “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…Nothing will be impossible for God.”
  • What do you rely on as you assert: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
  • What do you think, do, and feel when Gabriel leaves?
  • Do you experience uncertainty as you travel in Mary’s shoes? In what ways? How do you react to this uncertainty?
  • How do you find hope to move forward with God’s plan amid uncertainty?

Step 5:  Allow Mary’s response to speak to your experience of living through uncertainty.

  • Is uncertainty a part of your life experience in the here and now? Does Mary’s uncertainty speak to your own experience?
  • What can you cling to as you traverse through uncertainty?
  • How did Mary find hope to move forward with God’s plan amid uncertainty? Where is hope waiting for you? What is Hope’s message?

Step 6: Reflect on how you have been touched by this experience. Share with God what is stirring within. Allow space for the divine to communicate to you.

Step 7:  Conclude your prayer time resting in the divine embrace. Enjoy a moment of stillness savoring the silence within.

It’s my hope that you will find this type of contemplative prayer fruitful as you journey toward the birth of the Bread of Life. Next week we will use our imaginations to enter into the story of Joseph when he is confronted with the news that his betrothed is with child. Stay tuned.

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[Kathy Keary, a Precious Blood Companion and spiritual director, holds a master’s degree in theological studies and is a graduate of the Atchison Benedictine’s Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]

Annunciation (c. 1472–1475), The Uffizi Gallery, is thought to be Leonardo da Vinci‘s earliest complete work

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