Today we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation. Our Lenten reflection has been prepared by Sister Cathy Murray, OP., and she recalls the lovely presence and passing of Sister Anna Louise LaVoy, often remembered as Sister Ignatius (and lovingly as gracious Ignatius).
In the first reading today, we see that Ahaz responded to God’s great offer of giving any sign – NO MATTER HOW GREAT OR HOW MOMENTOUS – by spiritualizing his decision not to follow God’s advice. “Oh, I would never want to tempt God by asking for a sign.” God’s will for Ahaz was very clear, but the path of God’s will for Ahaz required great courage and great risk. God was asking him to neither surrender to Israel nor to align with the Assyrians for protection.
We contrast Ahaz with Mary, a young woman born in an obscure village. She experienced God’s intervention in her life through an encounter with an angel. There was no guile with Mary. She had the presence of mind in the midst of this divine experience to dialogue with the angel.
As I write this Lenten reflection, I am sitting alongside our sister Anna Louise as she is dying. Anna Louise is one who answered many annunciations in her life. She lived without guile and was genuine and wholehearted in her response to God. Anna Louise loved so many sisters in our congregation and so deeply. She saw and celebrated the good and the best in others. She delighted in God and the wonders of creation. She lived the presence of Christ within her and her Christ-bearing joy was contagious. At 93 years old, she faced many changes in religious life and church; yet she had the presence of mind and freedom with God to dialogue about those changes and trust where God was leading religious life and church. The Good News was announced to her and she lived it lovingly, beautifully and justly.
She announced the Good News, in her very being, that God is with us.
This reflection can also be found on the website of the Dominican Preachers for the Western Region.