Eugene Peterson, a scripture scholar seeking to help people who either cannot access the power of the Greek text of Luke's Gospel or have read the scriptures so often that they have grown bored, offers us a different view of Gabriel's greeting to Mary.
Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.While some might be confused, unnerved or upset by Peterson's translation, there should be little doubt that his translation forces us to enter Mary's world in a very different way, and this can only be good. Like so many other saints, Mary's uniqueness and importance to believers has often been lost by the trappings of sanctity with which a particular culture or spirituality adorn her. Reducing her to a young frightened girl or portraying her in a manner that strips her of her humanity and femininity cheats believers of meeting the powerful woman she was. First acknowledging her fears, then questioning the angel's announcement, Mary helps us identify in faith with every person asked to assume a new responsibility, especially one for which we feel unprepared. Listen to Peterson's translation again.
Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus....Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”Only after Mary experiences fear and asks questions is she able to do what all of us must do, say yes to God. As we struggle to put aside the fears and confusion that come to all of us, we have Mary as companion, guide and mentor. Fear, Mary teaches us, is natural and necessary and wrestling God is sometimes inevitable, but if we listen deeply like Mary, we can be sure that God will show us the path to freedom and a deepened faith.
Today, re-imagine Mary's role in your spiritual life.
What stories of Mary most embolden you to live your faith with passion?