My grandmother explained to me one time what the Incarnation of Jesus was like. I don’t mean the Word becoming flesh, the theological explanation that John’s Gospel gives us. She was a simple woman, though a wise one.
And a pious one.
She just wanted to teach one of her visiting granddaughters about the what happened at the Annunciation. After the angel gives Mary the amazing news that she is to be the Mother of God, and she says, after asking how she can be a mother at all in her virginal state, Mary gives her Fiat. She is obedient to the will of her Heavenly Father. And, in that moment, Jesus is present within Mary’s womb. To echo Mary’s earlier question, “How can that be?!”
Well, this is where my grandma’s tutoring begins. We happened to be sitting in her warm, sunny always with a hint of some delicious dish that had just been prepared and enjoyed kitchen, when she explained things to me.
Providentially, that glorious El Paso sun was shining down onto her kitchen table where we were and she said, “This is just how the Holy Spirit gave Jesus to Mary,” or words to that effect. Just as the sun’s warmth and light can be seen and felt through the pane of glass, so too the embryo of God become man radiated through the flesh and blood of our Blessed Mother and placed the baby there.
It has been noted more than once that the physical part of Jesus came completely from the DNA of His mother since the Father is not physical but Spirit. And so, as it’s been described, Jesus has the “face His mother gave Him.” I sort of came to this concept of Jesus only being Mary’s “flesh and blood” by revelation, I’ll say. I mean it was literally something that was revealed to me during prayer time and a time of contemplation on the Lord.
And then, weeks later, a very pious man I know, shared the same idea with a room full of Catholic women and I was so grateful for the confirmation of what God had shared with me! So, today I was praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, praying for the conversion of sinners (that necessarily always includes me!), and, the first decade is dedicated to the Annunciation mentioned above.
The Holy Spirit led me to remember my grandmother’s teaching close to 40 years ago. So I share it here now because I want other people to know this wonderful explanation of how Mary came to conceive a babe within, without a man’s involvement. It just took a woman’s “yes,” and our perfectly obedient example of trusting in God’s plan, even when we don’t understand it completely and cannot possibly see the whole picture or what the ramifications of His will is going to be.
Just as Mary says, “Be it done unto me according to Thy will” on that momentous occasion in all of world history, so Jesus will say the same to His Heavenly Father and ours, in the Garden on the night He is betrayed and arrested. Moments before Jesus tells God, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Just like His mom did all those year’s before as His life begins in His mother’s womb, Jesus says much the same thing at the end of His life.
“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…”
Prophetically, or certainly knowingly in the case of Jesus, when asked by His followers to teach them how to pray, that prayer which we call the Our Father or the Lord’s Prayer (the Lord here is Jesus!), He utters the words highlighted above. There it is again. This is ALL about God’s will. Our life and our faith are all about Jesus at the center. For His will and that of the Father are one. It’s what makes Jesus the Son in whom God is well pleased.
And obediently following the Lord’s will with our lives is what makes Him smile. So, there! You’ve got the lesson my Grandma Salazar, the woman my children, her great-grandchildren know as Abuelita, gave to me.
I hope you’ll contemplate it, I hope you’ll share it with others. Even if you’re not Catholic, you should understand why Mary is so pivotal to our salvation. No Mary, no Jesus. No “Thy will be done,” no Incarnation. Salvation is from Jesus who must have Mary’s yes to be conceived and born into this world. Oh, and He must have Joseph to obediently follow the command of taking Mary for his wife and taking his new little family to Egypt to save that Child’s life so He could save the world one day. Joseph, a silent and strong figure of a man of faith.
Obedience, folks. That’s what’s needed. What does God want? That’s what I want. That’s no small undertaking, to utter those words, “Thy will be done,” and sincerely mean them. Look to Mary, to Joseph, and of course, most emphatically, look to Jesus. He comes from good earthly stock. Very good.
2 thoughts on “A lesson I never forgot”
Grandma was a wise woman of great faith. Never heard this story before. Thanks for sharing.
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Very true. Great article. My Mom’s legacy that she left us is the finest example of human Christianity . I miss her dearly, like with my soul mate Uncle Bob, I feel her presence daily. Thanks for sharing .
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