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The Trouble of Mary

December 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Advent, Dan Burke, Mary, Meditations: Seasonal, The Prince of Peace


“Who having heard was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the Angel said to her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David his father, and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
Luke 30-33

AlessandroAlloriAnnunciation(sm)RestoredTraditions1. It is not a little thing to discover that one so perfect as Our Lady could be troubled; therefore trouble of some kind is consistent with perfection such as hers. She was troubled “at his saying”; his saying, thus far, had been no more than the wonderful salutation; she was troubled because an Angel had used such wonderful words to her as: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women;” and in her trouble she asked herself what these words would mean, and why they should be addressed to her. Soon, she was to understand; soon she was to glorify God at the thought that this salutation would ring through the world for all time; and it is a joy to me to know that when she hears it from my lips it is a cause of joy to her.

2. The Angel calms her trouble with words that might well have caused fear and anxiety in one less steeped in faith, and hope, and love. She is not to fear, because she has found favour with God; He hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden. She is not to fear, because, virgin as she is, vowed to virginity as she is, she is to be a mother; how could this but be a further trouble? She is not to fear, because the Son she is to bring forth is to be the Messiah; what a weight of suffering this must mean! She is not to fear, because she is henceforth to be something quite different from that which she has hitherto been; her life is to be tossed and torn, and no longer left in its utter and happy solitude. How many a saint has quaked with fear at such a prospect!

3. Then she is given the first description of the Child which is to be hers. She has already long known Him in the prophets, the fruit of her lasting meditations. She has known Him in the depth of her heart, for God has been always very near to her. And now the Angel links on the new knowledge to the old, recalling the prophecies, focusing them upon this Child. First, He must be called Jesus, the Saviour. Then, He must be called the Son of the Most High. The first declares His manhood, the second his divinity. Then in Him the prophecies shall be fulfilled: the greatness of which the later prophets have spoken of in so many ways; beyond them the promised possession of the throne of David; back beyond that the fulfilment of the promise made to the house of Jacob; back beyond that again the complete restoration of the Kingdom which has suffered eclipse since the “days of Adam. Of His Kingdom there shall be no end;” we hear the words echoing later throughout the Apocalypse [Revelation] of St. John, the song that thunders in the infinite spaces, roll after roll through all eternity.

Summary Meditation Points:

1. Our Lady was troubled. She was troubled at being so saluted by the Angel.

2. Her trouble is calmed by the assurance of favour with God, but also of elevation to a dignity which will be no light burden.

3. She is told something of the nature of the Son, man, and God.

Archbishop Alban Goodier SJ (Mirror View 1)
Editor’s Note: This meditation is from Archbishop Alban Goodier’s “The Prince of Peac
e” (1913).

Art: The Annunciation, Alessandro Allori, 1579, Restored Traditions, used with permission. Mirror of Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J.,, all rights reserved, used with permission.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Ellana LeCroy

    How beautiful and meaningful is this meditation. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Ellana LeCroy

    I was wondering how I could really make this advent very meaningful. I have found these meditations to make it very meaningful! Thank you!

    • LizEst

      Thanks for letting us know, Eilana! We are please they have been helpful. I believe this is the first time they have been put on line.

  • LizEst

    Oh, I had never heard of Fr. Leen before, either! So, we are both educated more.

    As to Archbishop Goodier, he is solid or we would not have put his writings on our site. Father John Bartunek has recommended this book in the past. As well, the good Archbishop also wrote a number of other things including “An Introduction to the Study of Ascetical and Mystical Theology.” This is a field that the Avila Institute ( ) has taken up. You may want to consider taking a course to further your understanding. It would be wonderful to have you as a student. Talk to your spiritual director about it.

    • Denise Beaudoin

      Thank you for your warm invitation as I am seriously interested in study more on moral, ascetical and mystical theology. I am certainly embarrassed to only discover now that The Prince of Peace excerpts have been shared on your site. Maybe I read some posts on this site before, but am not certain. Bishop Goodier certainly need that I’ll be humble enough to read from his book The Prince of Peace, before any judgment on his work. I have no excuse since it is available here. Thank you again for your trust in my goodwill.

      • LizEst

        Denise — I’m so glad to learn you are seriously interested in studying more on these subjects.
        Don’t be embarrassed about just discovering these. Not everyone catches everything…only God does!
        These posts began on the first Sunday in Advent on November 30th We have had one or more posts a day, in sequence, from the “Prince of Peace” meditations since then. So, if you wish to read them in sequence, go here and start with the second page of listings, then work your way through those and back to the first page of listings: These posts will continue daily from Advent into the Christmas season.
        God bless you, Denise, as the Holy Spirit leads you into deeper intimacy with the Lord.

  • LisaAug

    This beautiful article was sent to me by a friend, and it confirms what the Lord showed me about Mary . In our recent church sermon some weeks ago, my pastor mentioned that Mary was troubled because she realized the weight of the responsibility upon her… the price she would have to pay in her personal life to accept such a responsibility. While he was talking, the Lord was showing me that it was actually that Mary was already willing to pay that price, but that she was troubled at such a flattering introduction by that angel. She was not used to thinking of herself as “highly favored by God” because she was little in her own eyes (but big in the eyes of God) . Such a flattering address troubled her. This article confirms what the Holy Spirit showed me on this.

  • Pingback: Our Lady’s Trouble | thehonanchapelnewsletter()

  • marybernadette

    Thank you for this beautiful meditation on Our Lady and the Angel Gabriel’s Salutation. I also needed clarification on Our Mother’s ‘trouble’ as I thought our Pastor, although giving beautiful homilies, sometimes may not be quite accurate. I wonder if part of the reason could be what is taught in the seminary? I believe the Holy Spirit led me to read this.

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