One must be careful to describe the act of accompaniment as a formula to develop a belief in Jesus Christ. Several weeks ago, I began my series of articles on accompaniment to address the body, heart, and mind. Accompaniment through the body e.g. involves the organic environment around a human being and his relationship with the Divine. Accompaniment through the heart involves an interior trust and softening of the heart to God’s love for you, and the final step in the accompaniment process addresses the mind of the person and his willingness to know and understand that God is love, and in the course of that love, our call to have an active relationship with Him.
Our identity as disciples of Jesus Christ is first predicated on an awareness of the drama that exists between good and evil. Part of this spiritual awareness is the encounter of a spiritual tug of war between man’s journey to Heaven and his journey to hell. The conversion of the mind to accompany Jesus Christ requires that the person views the world through a Trinitarian lens, and actively engages the world through a Christocentric mindset and lifestyle. If we understand the necessity to view the world through a Trinitarian lens then the Paschal Mystery and why Jesus Christ the Word made flesh arrived into the world and became one of us, will make more sense. An example of this development is reflected in the Annunciation.
A conversion of the body
In the Annunciation, we encounter the development of the accompaniment process between the Archangel Gabriel and our Blessed Mother. The accompaniment of the body is explained two-fold in the Gospel of Luke where we encounter Gabriel revealing himself to the Blessed Mother and then identifying her as Queen Mother through the solemn proclamation: “Hail Mary, full of grace” beautifully acknowledging her as the Mother of God.
As Mary begins to ponder the significance of Gabriel’s announcement with concern, she is reassured that this entire encounter is under God’s direction. Further, as she is told that the “Lord is with you,” she receives a detailed description of God’s salvific plan for humanity through His Son Jesus Christ of which Mary will serve as the Mother of God the Son. Mary now bares the physical evidence of Gabriel’s message to her.
A conversion of the heart
Mary’s unique role in the schema of the history of salvation is identified through Gabriel’s careful explanation of the significance of Mary’s role as the Mother of God. Mary’s response to Gabriel is very telling because she immediately acknowledges her love for God through her response: Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word. The dialogue between Gabriel and Mary is definitive. Their intimate dialogue is direct, succinct, and loving. If we carefully study the Annunciation and its implication for our salvation, there was no ambiguity in Gabriel’s dialogue with Mary. This is a very important element in the process of accompaniment because it should remind us that our dialogue should always be direct, and definitive in love to avoid any ambiguity. This will help avoid the “death by dialogue syndrome” where the intention is to develop a relationship through casual dialogue that frankly leads to nowhere within the vicinity of Jesus Christ.
A conversion of the mind
When an individual embarks on a journey of faith to discover God the hope is that the person develops a long-lasting relationship with Him. This relationship must be continually nourished through an active Christian dialogue that is Trinitarian in nature and Christ-centered in practice. Any dialogue about God must ultimately lead toward an active relationship with Jesus Christ which means an active sacramental life.
If the final aim of accompaniment to Jesus Christ is a conversion of the mind, the result is a person who is both in love with Jesus Christ and can explain why he fell in love with our Lord. In the final discourse of the Annunciation, we encounter our Blessed Mother’s proclamation of faith called the Magnificat. Mary’s proclamation of her role in salvation history I argue serves as a sound representation of the accompaniment process to Jesus Christ that leads to a conversion of the mind.
And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his posterity forever.
St. Paul provides us with a fitting conclusion of how true accompaniment must always lead you to Jesus Christ:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning with labor pains together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope, we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.