Just as infants (and some adults) live as if the world revolves around them, you must live as if heaven revolves around you … because it does. God loves each person as if that person is the only person who exists. David was told he was a man after God’s own heart, and that he was the apple of His eye. Throughout the Old Testament the goal was to find “favor in the eyes of God.” And today, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, we read how Mary is told that she has “found favor with God.”
God is omnipotent, so he need not have “favorites” at the exclusion of others. God can, and does, treat us as though each one of us is His favorite child. This is no “one among many” kind of love for us. No, it is a “one on one” kind of love. When we understand this, everything changes. He is our everything because we are His everything. We love Him because He first loved us. We move from “pew potato” (just another member) to His chosen one; His special project; His precious, obedient child.
Consider this little God-incident … The Solemnity of the Annunciation was moved from March 25 to March 31 this year and, as well, Pentecost happens to be at nearly the earliest date it could possibly be. What does this add up to? This is a very rare year in which there are exactly 40 days between the Annunciation and Pentecost. 40 days has always been God’s time to prepare us or “make us ready” for something. So, what could it be here?
The Annunciation was Mary saying “Yes” to the supernatural — the power of God … “How can this be since I have no relations with a man? … the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:34-35). Then the very life of God would well-up inside of her, and she would dispense that life to a waiting world on Christmas day.
Fast forward through Christ’s life, death and resurrection and just prior to Jesus ascending to the Father … he promised to send another — a Comforter — the Holy Spirit – who will be with us for ever. And so it was for 9 days (the first novena) that the disciples prayed with Mary after the Ascension. And you can almost hear what could have been Mary’s prayer: “Whatever you did for me, do for them!”
That prayer would be answered, and the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as he did when Mary first gave her fiat (yes) to the supernatural reality that “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
Here is my advice … take these 40 days, starting this Tuesday, April Fool’s Day, to prepare yourself to be foolish by the world’s standards. Let go of your desire to need everything scientifically proven – which was Thomas the Apostle’s need with his experiments of probing with his fingers and hands – and take this time to become as naive as a teenage Jewish girl that God wants to use with His supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.
This is a time to reconsider your approach to the Holy Eucharist. Ask yourself, “does such things as my attire, my preparation, my reverent gestures, and the way I approach and receive our Lord reflect my belief that this truly is God?” Spend these 40 days surrendering more and more deeply to the reality of the supernatural. Let God speak to your heart about how He wants you to do that.
Be made ready enough on this Pentecost so you can say, “Behold I am the Lord’s servant, may it be done to me according to thy word.” If you can, God may infuse you, and then He can use you.