Summary: It is immaterial how old a person is, how shattered, how poor or rich; no one is locked up in the past. One could always and everywhere follow the voice of his or her angel and start a new life.
Jim’s parents regarded him as dull and unintelligent. He performed poorly in his studies. His bad performance in the school confirmed the opinion of his parents. During a summer camp, he learned to play chess and defeated all his campmates. In a declamation contest, he stood first. There Jim discovered that he was not dull at all as his parents had made him out to be. It was as if an angel from God had revealed it to him. From then on, he concentrated on his studies and he performed always well.
It is often difficult to make the self-discoveries of that what we are good at. People often do not tell us the truth about ourselves. It is not their fault. They don’t see it. Their opinions about us are often more negative than positive. We need indices of ourselves from someone else who is greater than the humans. Good people see the good in us. Strong people see the strength in us and would want to see us growing stronger. Mature people would help us to become mature. Small people would bring us down to their measure since they see nothing beyond themselves. In other words, we need beings that see us as God sees us.
Luke 1.26-38 is a piece of scripture that confirms this message through the story of Mary. It shows us the possibility of bringing out something new, something morally good, something divine for the common good. It is an orientation to look beyond ourselves to the great things that we can accomplish to offer a new message to the world, to build up a new world.
An angel appears to Mary. Angel is something inner, something spiritual. Probably we could say that an angel is our own perfect image which God had of us from the beginning. An angel is the perfect human model, that what we are meant to be, beyond the human models that Miss World contests or Miss Universe contests create for us. Believe that you are Mary. This angel, this perfect image of yours, tells you: ”The Lord is with you!” I did not know this before. We have heard stories of people searching for God. But my angel tells me that the Lord is already with me. Then my angel tells me: “Don’t be confused. God is in your favour. You bear the God that is within you to the world.”
Now, the word “God” is derived from the word “good”. God stands for “the good”. If you are Mary, and if your angel tells you “You will bear a son”, it means that something new and good will grow out of you. It begins in you and in me, when you and I open ourselves to this annunciation from our angel, the voice of God within us. No one has any role in the origin of this new life, except God. Like Joseph, others have the supportive role to make sure that this new life grows to its fullness, as in the case of Jesus, for the good of the whole world.
Therefore it is immaterial how old a person is, how shattered a person is, how poor or rich a person is; you are not locked up in your past. One could always and everywhere follow the voice of his or her angel and start a new life. Dr. Bright was a dentist. For some reason he got addicted to drugs. Whenever he needed more money for his daily dose of heroin, he diagnosed healthy teeth of his patients as unhealthy and recommended the treatment of a second tooth. One of his patients came to know of this and he threatened to publicize the matter. That moment of confrontation awoke in him the sense of the good, the voice of God. He never cheated his patients again. Our angel shows us not only the good that must grow out of us, but also leads us from evil.
We also see how Mary replies: “I am the handmaid of the Lord!” So begins the new life. It begins when we obey the Will of God, the voice of God. We have this mind of God in the scripture. Mary obeyed God’s Will. Therefore she gave birth to Jesus. The Church tells us this story again and again to demonstrate this possibility in our life. The poet Angelus Silesius has something to tell us:” Even if Jesus is born a thousand times in Bethlehem, but not in me, I am eternally lost!“ [Partly indebted to Klaus Müller: Gott am Rande, ps. 67-68.]