Here is a familiar passage from Luke translated from the Greek by JB Phillips during the Second World War. He wrote his translation of the New Testament to make the Scriptures more accessible to Londoners daily battered by German bombing raids.
This translation brought the passage home to me far more than any other has ever done. I had to ask myself as I read it last night before bed: "Can I say what Mary said? Am I that ready for whatever God brings my way or whatever he asks me to do?"
And let's not romanticize this story too much. While Mary was indeed honored and blessed, she was also being called upon to make a personal sacrifice in the service of Almighty God and the salvation of the human race. "A sword shall pierce your heart," Simeon warned her. And it did. Among other things she could not understand about her son's life, she watched in great pain as her firstborn bled to death. It was on a cross of execution reserved for only the worst criminals.
"I belong to the Lord, body and soul," replied Mary, "let it happen as you say."