Ants and the Annunciation, by Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF

Photo linked from National Geographic.

A little boy and his dad were sitting on the back steps of Grandma’s house watching the ants marching by.  One of the ants was carrying a leaf which was five times its size.  This ant would move four inches, and stop, then move another four inches.  The little boy looked at his father and said,

“I am going to help that ant.  The leaf is too hard for it to carry.”

The father responded, “Jimmy, you cannot do that.  It is necessary for the ant to carry that itself.”

Jimmy was quiet and continued to watch the ant move the leaf four inches at a time.  After a bit he said,  “I bet if I became an ant I could help it.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The leap from being a boy to being an ant is formidable.  We cannot even imagine how far it is.  His mind and imagination would be no more.  The ability of his body to ride a bike, or hug his mom – gone.  But this little guy was ready to do that to help a creature in some stress.

Today is the feast of the Annunciation.  The Church does not celebrate it because we are in Holy Week.  But in reality this is the most important day in the history of humanity.

If the jump from boy to ant is tremendous, the jump from being God to being a human is infinitely more so.  Stop to think about it.  When Mary said, “Yes”, the most important thing on earth happened.  Without her positive answer redemption would have not happened.  (At least not as we know it.  God can do anything.)  And the embryo begun in Mary was God!  The all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, all-everything was on earth, giving up all we know about God, and taking on the form of a human.

We really needed help.  We humans were making a task planned to be a delight, a burden, and messed things up big time.  Paraphrasing the little boy, Jesus might have said to His Father,

“I bet if I became human, I could help them.”

And God, being God and able to do anything, did the absolutely impossible. God gave up all to be one of us.  That is a leap greater than any of us can imagine. As a human, Jesus would be completely under the control of other humans for the years of his formation.  As a baby someone had to control his  eating.  God had created the need for eating, now God had to wait for that need to be filled from the creatures God had made.  The same is true of all the needs of a  new human.  Nothing of the God in Him could protect and nurture Jesus.  His creatures, Mary and Joseph had to take care of God, just as our parents had to take care of us. Take care of God?  The idea is beyond comprehension.

But this is what the Annunciation is all about.  Perhaps we should change the name to – The Annunciation to Mary and the Conception of Jesus.  After all this is the real date of Jesus presence on earth.

Welcome Jesus and ask pardon for all that we as humans did to make his last days so heartbreaking.  He knew we would need to have him near always, and so gave himself to us in the  Eucharist.

I can hardly wrap my mind around the concept – God became human!!!  Surround yourself in the infinite love of God for us, for YOU!

Loving prayers go out for you.  Pray for me, please,

Sharonlu OSF                
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

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