May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her. (Luke 1: 38)
How are you preparing for Christmas this last week? Is it hectic baking, shopping, preparing for guests? Take a few minutes with me and think of Mary.
I only caught bits and pieces of our beloved priest's homily on the above Scripture this past Sunday, but one comment has truly stuck with me. He was speaking to a gathering of young adults, most specifically, about choosing a vocation. I presume most of my readers have already committed themselves to a vocation, but the spiritual advice he offered can be applicable to us all at some point.
Father invited us to think of the greatest desire of our heart and then to think of the opposite thing. He asked if we are prepared to give our true Fiat to God as Mary did by saying yes to the opposite of our heart's desire. Yes is easy when it is something we approach with confidence after much discernment, but God asks for our Fiat even in uncertainty and doubt.
There have been two distinct times in my life when I have struggled to give my Fiat but been rewarded miraculously for my doubtful yes. When I was nearing the end of my senior year in college, I felt with confidence the Lord was asking me to discern seriously a call to religious life. I felt drawn closer and closer to the vocation and further and further from marriage. But, then, I went on a Nun Run and was challenged to see the vocation of marriage in a different way. The Lord was asking me if I was open to the opposite of what I desired at that time. (I keep thinking I have written a post on this story already, but I cannot find it to link. I guess I need to write it!)
He continued to require my unconditional Fiat as he introduced me to the idea of dating a young man I barely knew, which led to discussing marriage with him less than a month later, getting engaged after only three months of dating (we actually met with our pastor after two months to discuss marriage preparation), and marrying a year later (based on our pastor's advice to do so). It was a crazy time, but once I was open to both vocations with all of my heart, the Lord led me to His will for my life, my beloved husband.
Only two short years ago, I had a very early miscarriage. It was after three frustrating years of trying to conceive and was heartbreaking. Through it all, I just felt called to accept God's will. If that meant the desire of my heart to have more children would never be fulfilled, I would praise Him. No matter what. It was a different kind of Fiat, but again, the Lord blessed. A month after we lost Anna, incredulously, we conceived our sweet little boy, who is now 18 months old!
The power of complete surrender to God's will cannot be underestimated. Giving ourselves to Him utterly and completely, knowing that His will is better than anything we could ever imagine is essential to progress in the spiritual life. Ponder this these last few days in preparation for Christmas, just as Mary did. Ultimately what God asked of her is more challenging than anything we will ever face. May Our Blessed Mother pray for us and lead us to her Son by the holy example of her Yes!