Yesterday’s Gospel was the story of the Annunciation. I taught a lesson on it last week which had me pretty well Annunciated out, and when I heard the familiar opening yesterday I groaned a little inside. But if you have to choose one pericope to spend the better part of a week with, that’s a pretty good one to choose.
No matter how many times I hear the story, no matter how many times I make the point that Mary said yes to God, no matter how many times I pray the Angelus, there’s never an answer there to the big question: Why did she say yes? There was no reason for her to suspend disbelief. Why in the world would she have believed that God had chosen her for something? There’s nothing in the text that tells us why should would have believed – or maybe, more appropriately, there’s nothing that would convince most of us if we were in her shoes.
Faith is a habit. My guess is that most of us have been in a position before to say “screw it. I’m saying yes. I’m diving in.” to whatever has been asked of us. When there is no reason to say yes and the evidence is piling up against taking the risk, we put doubt on hold and decide to try against better judgment. Maybe we have made a habit of believing God’s promises of good for us. Maybe we have made a habit of trusting the people around us to catch us when we fall. Maybe we have stopped caring about the consequences and decided to value the potential good above the potential disaster. Our boldest decisions can be illogical and unreasonable, and if we’re lucky they are the daring choices that change our lives or change the world.