Many spiritual writers have offered inspiring commentaries on our Blessed Mother’s “yes” to God’s invitation (through Gabriel the Archangel) in today’s Gospel — to be the Mother of the Savior. Today’s readings offer an insight into just what that “yes” means.
Although the Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, never uses the phrase “leap of faith” in his published writings, it is the expression with which he is most associated. It was his contention that we Christians tend to over-intellectualize faith, and he insists that conversion is not primarily through giving some heady assent to creeds or doctrines about Jesus — even though it includes that. Rather, it’s something like the trust required of a person learning to swim. The novice swimmer can read books about various strokes, even be given instruction by a professional trainer, yet this person cannot learn to swim without diving into the water.
Being a good Christian Catholic doesn’t mean we “pay, pray, and obey.” And it certainly doesn’t mean we leave our brains at the door; that’s irresponsible. No, I believe we daily choose to wrestle with God and our faith, much like Jacob wrestles with the angel in Genesis 32. As Mary questions God, “How can this be? I don’t know man,” so we move forward. We join Jacob and Mary and countless others in that choice. It’s a responsible decision to educate ourselves in faith (Bible Study, Adult Faith Formation, parish missions and retreats) keep moving forward.
Saint Louise de Marillac once wrote, “Our peace comes, not from security, but from trust.” Happy trust, happy leap of faith, Happy Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord!
Fr. Jack Conley, C.P. is a member of the Passionist formation community at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.