“But how can this be?”
These words, spoken by Mary at the Annunciation have likely been spoken by every one of us at some time in our lives. Spoken when news, good or bad, comes to us that makes everything else stop. A job gained or lost. A sickness detected or cured. A death or a birth. Suddenly our world is not as we thought it was, and our life will not be as we thought it would. We might stop and wonder “but how can this be,” sometimes followed by a denial: “How can God let this be?”
The lesson we’re told of the annunciation to Mary is the twin of the trials of Job or the demands of Jonah. If Mary reminds us that even the most blessed gift might demand a sacrifice, her story can also remind us that God is there, even in the most difficult trials.
For Lent we might have chosen to sacrifice something as inspiration to reflect on our lives and values. This act of denial could also prepare us for times when we are forced to make a change and do not have a choice. The story of Mary reminds us that, though change is hard, we can accept it with faith. We can face our challenges knowing that God is with us.
Links to the appointed readings and prayer for today: