Do Not Be Afraid – Fr. Richard Rohr
One could sum up the Bible as an interplay of fear and faith. In general, people are obsessed and overpowered by fears; we all fear whatever we cannot control. God is one of our primary fears because God is totally beyond us. The good news, the gospel, according to Luke, is that God has breached that fear and become one of us in Jesus. God says, in effect, “It’s okay. You don’t have to live in chattering fear of me.” God’s response to Mary’s quaver at the angel’s appearance is, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 1:30), and in fact, I am told it is the most common one-liner in the whole Bible, appearing maybe even 365 times!
In Luke’s infancy narrative, Mary is presented as prototypical and archetypal, because God comes into her life and announces the Divine Presence within her. Through the same Spirit, God comes into our lives and announces the Divine Presence within us. This annunciation event is a paradigm of every mystical experience. God offers the Godself to us even before we invite God to do so. There is no indication of previous holiness or heroics in Mary’s life. All we can do is be present and open. When Mary manifests this presence and openness, she becomes the Christ-bearer to the world. It is the same for us.
Adapted from The Good News According to Luke: Spiritual Reflections, p. 66
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