Holy Land Pilgrimage

The Annunciation and the Simplicity of Life

February 21, 2018

The Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth has an interesting structure connected to its lower sanctuary. It’s a small chapel within the ruins of the house of Mary where the Annunciation took place. Praying there during my visit in Nazareth has been spiritually fruitful. Reflecting on my prayer I can see that through the miraculous conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary is revealing to me insight into simplicity of life a characteristic of the diocesan priest.

Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. (Lk 6:20) The baby in the womb is the poorest of the poor. He or she owns nothing. The baby is totally dependent upon God and the mother whom the baby is attached to and those relating to the mother such as the father and family. God who became man became poor. Jesus conceived in his mother’s womb by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit began his earthly life so small, microscopic, simple. (Lk 1:35) Throughout his earthly life his simplicity of heart was ever present. During his ministry this simplicity was shown forth in his love for all of humanity through his healings, exorcisms, friendships, instruction, and in his passion when he freely gave his life to save ours. My heart is to be simple, my love unconditional, sacrificial, and willing.

Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. (Lk 1:38) Mary, immaculate from her conception, had a heart that was simple, undivided. The angel revealed to her the will of God and this was her will too. An undivided heart does not serve both God and mammon, does not have another master or two or three. (Mt 6:24) My heart is to be undivided, attentive to the voice of God conforming my will to His, My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (Jn 11:25)

Praying here in Nazareth is deepening my vocation to the priesthood forming me in simplicity. Mary has shown to me the blessed fruit of her womb, Jesus. As I gaze on Mary’s simple house, the Lord has also made a home within my heart. He dwells in my heart; He lives in me and I in Him.

Written by Gino Wilcox (Diocese of Las Cruces, NM)

Photos by Declan McNicholas (Diocese of Gary) and Peter Pedrasa (Diocese of Tucson)



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