overcoming fear and confusion during this pandemic

we want to say “yes” to love. the call to goodness is our nature as human beings.

in the annunciation (luke 1: 26-38) a messenger from God named gabriel helped mary overcome both fear and confusion which can stop us in our tracks. after this holy encounter, mary was able to respond, “behold, i am a handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you say.” it is one of the most famous “yeses” in history.

“yes” is a powerful word but when there is fear and confusion, it is difficult to give assent. mary needed the Holy Spirit to accomplish her miraculous call. she, who was filled with grace, needed divine help to do what she was called and chosen to do in this world: be the instrument that will give birth to the Christ.

we need the Holy Spirit to bless us with special graces and divine help to do what we are called.

A pregnant pause: Mary and the Annunciation – Mass ...

today on the feast of the immaculate conception of the blessed virgin mary, we continue to live in fear and confusion in the world. we cannot overcome these obstacles in our human weakness. we need mary’s prayers for grace. as our world struggles with the covid pandemic, there will be unique and new fears; there will be uncommon confusion. will these hardships paralyze us? how can we respond “yes” to doing what is right and good. what special graces do we need? what will it mean to love in the middle of crisis?

i do not know.

what i do know is that God will somehow provide us with guidance and help to live through the crosses before us. God will give us the grace needed to be able to respond “yes”

perhaps i, like gabriel, can aid others in overcoming fear and confusion. maybe i need to further examine my own fears and confusion at this time. perhaps i need to ask for special graces from the Spirit and mary.

i too am called to give birth to Christ here and now

let us pray: Lord, come into our lives and world anew. thank you for mary’s example of “yes” in our history and world. may we have the courage to respond with yeses from our hearts to your will of love. may fear and confusion never cloud us from your loving presence in your lives. in this time of the pandemic, may we trust in your ultimate providential care for us. may we be your instruments of healing and good news to those who are carrying extra heavy crosses right now. through Christ our Lord. amen


“The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favored one! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favor. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.” Luke 1: 26-38


  1. I’ve always been curious…”you are to…(conceive)” and “you must…(name him Jesus)” never makes it sound like Mary had the option to say no. If she had said, “no thanks,” would Gabriel just flown on over to the next child virgin to see if they were up to the task? (I’m not trying to be controversial, but more thinking about this in realistic terms)


    1. frarthurcmf says:

      short answer: we don’t know. if we believe in free will, then you are right, mary could have said no. then we would have this story and everything would be different. but it was her destiny and role in the faith to say yes. it’s good theological inquiry to ask– that is how we grow!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If Mary would have said no, we would be telling a different story, for sure! I mean, who’s to say Gabriel didn’t visit others and asked, but landed on Mary, because she said yes? We will never know.


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