Advent 2022

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent: An Invitation from God

Fourth Tues 1

As the proud alumna of an elementary school named after Angel Gabriel and a high school named after Mary, I am grateful to reflect on the sacred encounter between these two saints, as described by today’s Gospel passage. This passage from Luke, which is often called “the Annunciation,” is a clearly significant point in our Christian story. After all, this is the second time this month when this very Gospel has appeared in our lectionary! In it, Mary is invited by God, through the Angel Gabriel, to be the mother of Christ, and she responds with her bold fiat, her courageous “yes.” 

One of my most beloved works by poet (and Catholic convert) Denise Levertov is “Annunciation.” In this stunning piece, Levertov illuminates Mary’s courageous “consent” to the “astounding ministry” offered to – and not forced upon – her by God. I highly encourage you to pray with this poem yourself. For me, contemplating Mary’s “yes” and her courageous life of faith has been essential in my own vocational discernment, which has led me to Divinity School. 


I am nearing the end of my first semester, and I cannot count the number of times that I have said or heard the word “calling” here on Prospect Street. Although this language of “calling” does resonate with me, I wonder if Mary’s witness might inspire me to conceive of my vocational stirrings as an “invitation” from God, with each new opportunity as an offering from God. To be called and to be invited are not mutually exclusive, but I believe that “invitation” evokes the hospitality of God’s beckoning in a way that “calling” might not.


On one of our STM whiteboards is Henri Nouwen’s wisdom that, “Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.” The site of the Annunciation was a space where change could and did take place; Mary’s life – and our world – was irrevocably changed though God’s workings. Let us remember, though, that God did not force change upon Mary nor does God force change upon us. 


In her poem, Levertov asks, “Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?” This Advent, can you sense God inviting you into “space(s) where change can take place” and/or a way to enable such space(s) in the life of a loved one? Might you be in the midst of your own sort of “annunciation”?

Courtney Esteves M.Div. '25

Courtney is a student at Yale Divinity School