Nothing is impossible for God

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20 December 2017

Apart from the Nativity and the Crucifixion, this brief passage may be the subject of more artistic renderings than almost any other passage in the New Testament. Why?

Perhaps it’s because the Annunciation depicts God’s dramatic entrance into our everyday world. The divine greeting a simple young girl in her simple home in a small town two thousand years ago.

It is the Lord, through the Archangel Gabriel, who begins the dialogue with Mary. “Hail, full of grace!” As it is in our own lives, God initiates the conversation.

God speaks to us, often in unexpected ways. Maybe it’s when we catch a glimpse of a spectacular sunset on an otherwise cold and cloudy day, or when we finally hold our newborn child, or when we receive Communion at Mass or when we hear a long-awaited word of forgiveness. We are always amazed to experience God’s presence – to experience something transcendent.

It is God who takes action and who surprises us with his presence, as he did with Mary.

And Mary asks “How can this be.”

God often responds to us in the same way that the angel Gabriel responded to Mary. He reminds Mary to look for signs of the way in which God has fulfilled promises in her life. He encourages her to consider the experience in her life and others: “Know that your kinswoman Elizabeth is in her sixth month,” he says. “She who was once thought to be barren in now with child. For nothing is impossible with God.”

In other words, look around you. Allow the knowledge of what God can do, and has done in your life already, to increase your faith.

“Then the angel left her!”

After these encounters with God—whatever form they take, we are left to carry out what we are asked to do. Our faith is tested.

Søren Kierkegaard said that authentic faith is a “passion for the impossible.” It is a surrender in love to that which the mind cannot see.

When Mary says, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word,” she exhibits such faith which allows the impossible to be made possible!

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