Sunday, December 20, 2015

Reflection for Sunday, December 20, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Advent 
MI 5:1-4A 
PS 80: 2-3, 15-16, 18-19
HEB 10: 5-10
LK 1: 39-45

Each time I read the Gospels through the eyes of Mary I cannot help but try and place myself in her shoes. What must it have been like for her to be called upon by Gabriel to be the mother of Jesus?  I always think about how she must have felt and of the thoughts that must have raced through her mind. In these moments I almost instinctively determine that I wouldn’t have the faith and strength to respond as Mary did. I do not have enough within me nor the confidence to fully trust in God and myself. And so begins the “I’m not enough for ____” internal debacle that seems to flood from one aspect of my life to another. I am good, but not great. I work hard, but I should work harder. I care about people, but I need to be more patient. I could do better, I could be better, and I could try harder. Did Mary ever feel this way? Or Jesus himself?

The Gospel today gives us a glimpse into Elizabeth’s world as she asks, “and how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” A statement of feeling unworthy  has become all too common among SLU students as we often overload our plates with activities, involvement, meetings and credit hours. At times, it seems as if the SLU culture is founded on being overscheduled and overwhelmed at all points of the day inhibiting our ability to be satisfied with the now and ourselves as we are.

These thoughts of unworthiness and “not-enoughness” come to impact our attitude about ourselves and the world around us that can become paralyzing at times. In fear of not being able to be the best person for the job or able to speak the perfect words in front of a group of people, we find it easier to not try in the first place and not speak up in fear that our voice might shake. But God doesn’t need nor ask for perfect, which is such a central message of the Incarnation - that God became Man to validate the human struggle. Faith is the Marys and the Elizabeths of the world which is reflected in you and me. We very much are enough, incomplete and imperfect as we come; we just need to say “yes” to Christ amidst the uncertainty and feelings of doubt.

“blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled”

Don’t paralyze yourself in the evils of the “not good enoughs” this Advent and prepare the way for the Incarnation no matter where you are on your faith journey. Whether you are struggling or growing or confused or changing, you are enough as a Child of God; open your arms to the Lord today in whatever capacity you have, because what you have is enough.

Caitlyn McNeil is a senior studying Economics in the John Cook School of Business.

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