What is it to be overshadowed by another? It is to be minimized and outmatched, to let the emphasis fall on another and not on you. Yet, to be overshadowed by the power of the Most High is not a kind of falling darkness, nor is it a sidelining, head bowed in shame while flashbulbs strobe another’s rejoicing. God’s overshadowing is less about minimizing and more about fulfilling –making up for our limitation, filling in our faults, raising up our lowliness to his perfection.
If we give ourselves willingly to God, hand over our lives to his plan, we can be certain that he will overshadow us. Sometimes, though, that brings fear, a kind of butterflies in the stomach that’s often less about what the cost might be and more about the outcome – a defeat even after all that work. To that, we need only to look to Mary. Who would she be if she wasn’t the Mother of God? We don’t know and we can’t know because Mary wouldn’t have been Mary if she didn’t say “yes.” There is something almost unsettling about God’s will for us – we cannot be ourselves if we do not let God form us into who we authentically are. To be ourselves is to be overshadowed by a God who turns failure to victory and death to new life.
What would it be like if God really asked me to radically change my life, to change it not so much for me and my desires, but to change it for him? How would I want to respond?
—Cyril Pinchak, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching English at University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, Detroit MI. He is also a published poet.