The task before us

In every human life, whether we know it consciously or not, there is one task which predominates: being able to relinquish—even let loose just a bit—on the controls of our life and to place our trust for all things and all situations with God. “To let go and let God” as has often been said.

Depending on one’s current concerns, each of us would fill-in-the-blanks differently, but the control/trust issue is the same, no matter what the issue on the ground. So often we seek in religion—even in the monastic life—a false peace, because we fear to give up our fears through absolute trust in an incomprehensible God of love.

The great question is: Are we ready and willing to let go of these fears that allow us an illusory and enslaving comfort and security? To let go of such fears is a true dying process that many of us are not quite ready to undergo. Yet on the other side of them is the possibility of the fullness of life.

In the Annunciation, Mary of Nazareth models this “letting go” process, from acceptance and facing of fears, to relinquishment of control (whether actual or chimerical), to the sheer vulnerability of trust. When the angel departs, Mary has nothing to take with her but her yes, her simple and unqualified surrender, and nothing to go on but the faith that God’s promises can never fail.

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