Remembering Why We Have Gathered
We believe that God has called us on this journey of discernment.
We believe that this is a personal journey of discovery and becoming.
We believe that this is a journey with others who have heard Christ’s call, ‘Follow Me’.
We meet now as fellow travelers to share insights and encouragement.
Some members might like to lead the group in some short, spontaneous prayers in which we thank God for calling us and gathering us together.
God of the lost coin, the lost sheep and the lost sons,
how can we doubt your personal concern for us?
If we are distant from you
because of the carelessness of others or the choices we have made,
thank you for the truth that we are never outside the orbit of your love,
a love that searches and welcomes and calls us to follow.
Decide how you will read the following Scripture and conclude the reading with some silent reflection.
Reading: Luke 1: 26-40.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
God Visiting Us
The visit of God’s representative (Luke 1:26) to a humble woman living in a rural town is part of the good news that God comes to us despite our feelings of insignificance and ordinariness. How does this truth make you feel?
It is not clear where the visit to Mary takes place but God sometimes visits us in the most unexpected places and at the most unexpected times. How can we foster an expectation that prepares us for meeting God in the ordinary places and everyday experiences of life?
Stages in a Heady Encounter
Note the following stages in the encounter that Mary experienced:
Preoccupied and perhaps unaware of God’s calling (26)
Awareness of God coming to you (27-28)
Perplexed and pondering (29)
Increasing in understanding (31-33)
Questioning and resisting (34)
Open to further understanding (35-37)
Sharing with others (39-40)
Which stage point best describes where you are now in your journey of discernment? Why?
The Virgin’s Vocation
Mary received some measure of understanding of what she was being called to do even though it left her with fear and questions.
What insights are you getting into the task that God is calling you to do?
One Step at a Time
Mary’s vocation and her understanding of it were growing within her day by day. What might increase our confidence to respond positively and move forward?
Sharing the Story
Mary went ‘with haste’ (39) to share her story and stay with Elizabeth.
From this Judean episode, what are the most valuable ways we can assist each other to understand and follow our divine calling?
Prayer for One Another
This is an opportunity for spontaneous prayers for each other.
Pray together this prayer from Mary (46-49):
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
Commissioning & Blessing
you have come to us.
Here we are: the servants of the Lord.
Let it be with us according to your word.
Now let us go with you, to love and serve the Lord.
Copyright © 2007 Geoff Pound Making Life Decisions