Turbata est et cogitabat – She was troubled at his saying and thought with herself.
It might surprise us to read that Our Lady, the Most Pure Virgin, was troubled by the visit of the angel. How can that be? Would we not expect her to be so perfectly in harmony with the angelic world that seeing an angel and hearing him speak would rather find her very much at ease? And yet, she was troubled. The Queen of Heaven was troubled. She who was Immaculate, without sin, filled with grace, was troubled.
St Ambrose tells us that the sight of the angel in the form of a young man in her room would naturally have been a cause of concern for her purity. In the same way, his flattering words of greeting – Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee, Blessed art Thou among women – would have puzzled her humility. But were those the only causes of her trouble? Perhaps not.
The visits of God to His elect, when they entail a call to a special mission, are a cause of concern for that chosen soul. God confounds us. His interventions in our lives challenge us. They throw us off. They pull us out of our tranquillity. They lead us to greater things. Think of the divine call addressed to the prophets, such as Moses, Jeremiah or Jonah, who all were reticent to accept their mission. God had to insist with them to get His way.
God is not “a nice guy”. Actually, God is not “nice” at all. God is God, and God is beyond us. His presence will always be a test for us. It will always draw us out of our lethargy.
Let’s not dream of a god who makes us feel good, certainly not in the sense of leaving us – though this was certainly not the case with Our Blessed Lady – in our mediocrity, in our platitude, at the level of natural good feelings about ourselves. She was troubled.
If we want to be on the same wavelength as God, we must be assured that He is going to goad us on to greater things. He wakeneth in the morning, in the morning he wakeneth my ear, that I may hear Him as a master. The Lord God hath opened my ear, and I do not resist: I have not gone back. The Lord God is my helper, therefore am I not confounded: therefore have I set my face as a most hard rock, and I know that I shall not be confounded (Is 50:4-5, 7).
There will be other times in the life of the Queen of Heaven when she is troubled: at the prophecy of Simeon (the sword of sorrow shall pierce thy soul), the loss of Jesus in the Temple (she did not understand and must have felt hurt!), when Jesus left the family home to embark upon His mission, when He called His disciples His close family members (my brother, sister, mother….), above all when He is handed over to the hands of sinners and dies as a criminal.
Such may have been some of the thoughts Our Blessed Lady was pondering when the Angel entered her little room. She knew the Scriptures, and she knew that God calls His loved ones beyond the tranquillity of a peaceful existence.
Such are the thoughts we ourselves will do well to meditate assiduously. The days are short. The end looms near. Let’s not be afraid to be challenged out of our comfort zone. Blessed are those who are prepared for His coming.