As a contemplative I crave moments of the quiet lull and the stillness of being. That's my stuff! That's how I want to live my life. In a real way, I'd like to live from a place of non-reactive centeredness. The only problem with this is the holiday season. As much as this time of year is filled with days off, time with loved ones and varying degrees of attention being paid to the Christ, it's mostly just filled with activity and stressfulness. And typically my contemplative orientation is replaced with the end of the year meltdown. The anticipation of hope the season of Advent is supposed to bring is coopted by the anxiety real life has to offer. The students I care for are consumed by the hurry that papers and final exams bring. As a Spiritual Director those I guide are riddled with the distractions of the day. An overall uneasiness casts such a thick cloud over so many of us we are fooled into believing the only way to make it through the end of the year is by gathering up all they have within them and grinding it out alone. Then three little words from a young Middle Eastern girl calls all of this into question.
It's hard to imagine what was going through Mary's head when receiving word she was to bear the Divine within her. Here you have one of the most insignificant individuals, in one of the most insignificant ethnic groups, in one of the most insignificant parts of the world at the time. We can never loose sight of the fact that Israel was a conquered people at the time of the nativity. But despite it all God chooses to favor Mary. If that wasn't shocking enough this young girl gets word she is to be the mother of Jesus. It was her responsibility to bear all that is God inside of her. She was to carry the Sacred to full term! Making Mary the image of every Christian to come: Some unworthy slob, by no merit of their own, being given the honor to intimately carry God inside of them. And in response to all of this Mary says, "Let it be".
That's nuts! That is one of the most remarkable statements in all of human history. Mary says allow this to happen. Whatever has been predicted and planned, let it be. Mary understands God has a doable and workable plan she could actually be a part of. This was not a "let it be" of resignation. This was a "let it be" of participation. This was the moment a young girl resolved to get involved with God's larger plan to redeem the world and end the separation that seems to be such a part of our day-to-day lives. This is also the moment our belief of doing life by grinding it out alone is clearly called into question. Because Mary's "let it be" reminds us we don't have to be ultimately responsible for the success or failure of all things. These three words lets us know if we would find ourselves in the flow of God's will He would bring order to the chaos of our hearts and the chaos of our world.