Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Waiting for the Son of the Most High

Upon arriving, the messenger said to her: “Rejoice, O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” She was deeply troubled by his words, and wondered what his greeting meant. The messenger went on to say to her: “Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. Great will be his dignity and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end”. (Lk 1:28-31)

Mary received more than a little praise. The angel told her she was highly favored, not by human beings, but by God himself. What was Mary’s response? She was troubled and wondered. Of course she loved God with her whole heart, her whole soul, her whole mind, and with all her strength. But to be favored beyond all others? It takes a perfect balance of self-awareness and God-awareness to meet that kind of praise with that kind of humility.

I like to be praised now and then. Praise makes me feel valuable and appreciated. A little praise goes a long way toward motivation, but too much praise gives me a false sense of pride. It’s difficult to balance self-awareness and God-awareness. I tend to either overly rely on or completely deny my own ability.

Mary, help me not to let praise go to my head but to calmly accept it as a means to glorify God working through me. I want to contemplate it with a balance of self-awareness and God-awareness as you did.

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