Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Does the Lord ever mess up your plans? He does mine, that’s for sure. He did for Mary, too.
There’s a tradition in the Church about our Blessed Mother concerning her plan. Her parents, St.s Anne and Joachim, prayed for many years to have a child. They were given Mary and from the beginning they knew there was something special about her. Because she was such a special gift to them, they did everything they could to protect her from harm. As a young child, she consecrated herself as a virgin for the glory of God. Tradition says that she lived at the temple then until she was betrothed to Joseph.
Then, an angel tells her she’s about to have a baby. Mary said yes, she gave her fiat, but she says “how can this be?” In modern language, “Okay I can do this … but what about this other path you already have me walking down? Aren’t I supposed to remain a virgin for your glory? I don’t know how I can have a baby and also do that…” So she says, “How can this be?” Not “NO” – but “Lord you say you’re going to do this thing, I get that you want to do it, but what’s the plan here? Where do I go next?”
Today we celebrate what happened next, Mary goes to visit Elizabeth. Why does she “go to the hill country”? Well, scripture doesn’t say – but I imagine it’s because she has no idea what else to do. Mary wants to follow God’s will, she wants to do what He’s asked of her. She also knows that she’s consecrated herself a virgin for the Lord. Everyone else knows it too! She is also growing a baby in her womb, and it won’t be a secret for much longer. She needs wisdom, advice, and a place where she can align her soul with her new reality. Elizabeth is a trusted friend, advisor, and fellow believer who can help her readjust to her new future.
It’s like this for us too. We think we have one plan for our lives. A particular career, vocation, college, Friday night plan… Then, all of a sudden, God comes down and messes it all up! It seems like He’s changing course, going somewhere new, but all of this is part of His plan. He wants us to trust Him, even when He’s calling us to make a left when we thought our google map says straight.
When He does this, we need to retreat like Mary did as well. Take a step back, adjust to our new reality, and start down the path He’s place in front of us. He has a plan for me and for you, for each of us – and it’s a good one. It’s exactly what He’s been preparing us for with everything up until now. He wants us to glorify Him in it, no matter where it leads or what it requires.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
How has God changed your plans for your life so far? How did you react?
How has God helped you grow because of His plan? How has His plan been better for you in the ling run?
How has the Virgin Mary helped you in your life? How can her example help you follow God and grow closer to Him?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I trust in You."
"Your will be done."
"I will follow You."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Pray a rosary today. Meditate on the Joyful Mysteries as you pray and focus on how the Blessed Mother gave her entire life to God. Ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother that you might follow God with the love and trust she exemplifies for us.
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Katie Herzing is a former youth minister turned parish evangelization consultant who migrated south to live in sunny Charlotte, North Carolina. She loves to travel and has been to four World Youth Days and seen all the popes of her lifetime. She enjoys reading lots of great books, listening to tons of podcasts, sharing random facts, and hanging out with her friends and all their kids!
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