On the second week of Advent our virtue is love. It is the greatest of everything: affection, virtue, connection to God. Imagine what it was like to live in the world that God created from His heart of love with the purpose of nurturing every need and delight a human could experience. Adam and Eve, alone, experienced what this world was like when love was incorporated in every tiny cell of creation. Because of sin, God’s love has been obstructed. Our emotions have become corrupted along with everything else about us. In Advent we celebrate the love of God poured over the earth by the incredible lengths God went to in order to restore us to His love. He took on human flesh in the form of an embryo in the womb of Mary, His chosen mother.
Imagine Mary’s corrupted human emotions when she was visited by an angel from heaven. Who knows what she had been taught about the Messiah? She probably lived in Nazareth based on the Prophets words that He would come to that part of Israel. Did she know He would need to be born in Bethlehem? Could she even have wished that God would call her, or anyone from Nazareth to be the mother of the promised Messiah? Her emotional reaction to the surprise of the angel was fear. Her emotions told her to be on guard and worried, to feel that she was in danger. She didn’t run, rather she allowed her mind to calm her emotions when Gabriele told her not to be afraid. She did not object to his pronouncement that she was highly favored by God. Though our carnal emotions fight against the reality of God’s love, Mary demonstrates how to overcome the despair that permeates our hearts when we feel our unworthiness before our Holy Creator God. It is unreasonable for any one of us, including Mary, to consider ourselves highly favored by God. Our minds will lead our hearts to resist the good feelings this greeting would create. In order for Christ to reign over our emotions, we must first allow Him to reign in our minds. We must believe that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.
Gabriel moves on with his message from God that Mary has been chosen to be the mother of God’s Son. Mary’s emotions become settled and her mind needs explanation to understand how the next statement from Gabriele is going to work since she is a virgin. He tells her a truth that is impossible for a finite human mind to comprehend. It is only her love and trust in the God who sent Gabriele to bring this message that results in her willingness to submit herself fully to God’s will.
When we are stuck in a cycle of troubled human emotions, a good direction to restore our souls is to consider God’s love. Even when we see no evidence of God’s love, when we cannot feel His love, we can believe that God loves and favors us beyond reason. God’s love brings comfort to every despairing soul. We need patience and trust and our tears or fears will be replaced by assurance of His love through a peace that passes understanding. This is when we know that Christ has reigned over our emotions.
I can only experience God’s peace when I believe that I am fully loved in spite of the circumstances that disturb or frighten me.