I Am the Handmaid of the Lord

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, our Gospel reading is St. Luke’s account of the Annunciation, something I have written about many times.

My prayer this morning focused on Mary’s final words to Gabriel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

I am the handmaid of the Lord. As I repeated those words, I saw the reality that that is my primary identity – handmaid of the Lord. Everything else: wife, mother, daughter, friend, spiritual director, law professor and so on, is secondary to that primary role. Everything other aspect of my identity is a support and way of living out that primary element of my identity. I’m not saying other aspects are not important. (Certainly in Catholic thought family is of profound significance.) But they are supportive of my primary identity.

At one level that says nothing other than: God first, so it is not really a new realization. But for some reason, the recognition in this form was powerfully striking to me this morning.

“I am the handmaid of the Lord.”

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