Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

A reflection on the word “LORD”

By Brandon Vogt

My third grade basketball team had just one superstar, and his name was Deon.

The rest of us were a goofy mix of driveway legends and playground wanna-be’s, but Deon was the real deal. He had a Herculean  4’9” frame and skills honed on the notoriously rough courts of suburban Orlando.

With Deon at the helm, our whole season was a breeze. He led us in scoring each game as we collected win after win, sailing smoothly into the playoffs.

There things got a little more challenging. The first playoff game came down to the wire, yet Deon’s late-game heroics produced a win. The next game was even tighter. But once again, channeling his inner Jordan, Deon willed us to victory.

But the third game was different. It was about five minutes before tipoff, and the whole team stood in a huddle. Everyone was quiet—even the coach.  We exchanged nervous glances as we all noticed the same thing.

Deon wasn’t there.

We frantically called his house, we asked around, yet nobody knew where he was. The ref walked with the ball toward midcourt and it was clear that Deon wouldn’t make it. So the game started without him.

As expected, so did the onslaught. Within a couple minutes we were down by double-digits and the first quarter ended along with our hopes. But then something happened. My memory gets a little hazy at this point, but here’s how I remember it:

The gym doors slammed opened, light poured in from all angles, and accompanied by the glories of heaven Deon sailed in on a cloud. He was back! Our star had risen! And we all breathed a sigh of relief. Everything would be OK.

Deon entered the game and poured in bucket after bucket. Our whole team was fired up and Deon was putting on a show. He first brought us within range, then tied the game, then gave us the lead. We eventually won and Deon was hailed by everyone for the miraculous comeback.

When the angel Gabriel tells Mary that “the Lord is with you”, I can hear that same sigh of relief. To know that your hero is here, that your savior is by your side and that everything will be OK, is like hearing, “the cancer is gone” or “daddy is here.”

Imagine hearing that the Lord of the cosmos does not just love your afar, is not just dabbling in human affairs, but is actually with you in the here and now.

The Lord who spun the planets and hung the stars.

The Lord who sings the earth into existence and breathes out life.

The Lord who saved Noah from the sea and brought Moses right through another.

The Lord of hosts, the Lord of the universe, the master of history.

That one—that Lord—is with you.

How shocking and comforting that must have been. Perhaps it was this greeting, this affirmation of God’s companionship, that gave Mary the courage to deliver her great ‘fiat’, her “let it be done”.

Because when the hero is here, all is well. And so it is for us.

Brandon Vogt is a Catholic writer and speaker who blogs at The Thin Veil. He is also the author of The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops who Tweet.

image credit: MorgueFile